The top events in Toronto this February threaten the bonding time you meant to reserve novels, to-do lists, and Netflix. Beyond the must-hit food, film, music, art, and geek events below, there's Family Day (Feb 16), Rhubarb Fest (Feb 8), Winterfolk (Feb 13), Chinese New Year (Feb 19) Somewhere There Festival (Feb 20-22), and of course, Scenefeld (Feb 8), to name a few. Winterlicious (January 30 - February 12) and The Great Digital Film Festival also continue.
Here are my picks for February's can't miss events.
Black History Month
It's Black History Month, and Toronto has the longest record of any city in Canada to celebrate this occasion. Tons of programming is planned and city wide, including the Harbourfront's Kuumba February 6-8 and the Toronto Black Film Festival February 10 - 15 at Carlton Cinema. Entering its fourth year in Toronto, it's a chance to see many movies you wouldn't be able to see anywhere else. Watch out for our full preview. AH, SSZ
La Poutine Week (February 1 - 7)
Celebrate this gravy-covered national treasure at restaurants in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Ottawa, New York and Toronto. Toronto participants include Poutineville, Cut the Cheese, Marky & Sparky's, Joy Bistro, Mr. Ciao, Holy Chuck, Caplansky's, Duke's Refresher + Bar, Fancy Franks and Lou Dawgs. LI
Progress (February 4-15)
Progress, Toronto's newest theatre festival, is the love-child of SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre, and promises to shake up the city's arts scene by bringing global talents to local audiences. While the outlook is international, the festival is very much rooted in this city's arts community, with each show curated by a Toronto company. Watch out for our full preview. SSZ
Basquiat (AGO, Feb 5, Feb 7 - May 10)
Another AGO blockbuster, this will be Canada's first large retrospective of the NYC graffiti/fine art artist. Basquiat's often massive paintings are fascinating to behold in person, as child-like sketches and sardonic scrawled wordplay tackle issues of racism, social justice, and politics that are unfortunately just as relevant today. On February 5, Grandmaster Flash will be part of the AGO's Basquiat-tied First Thursday event.
Blackout5 (February 7-8, Queen Elizabeth Theatre)
Battle rap has taken the world by storm. Leagues have popped up all over the world, but arguably the biggest one of all is Toronto's own King of the Dot (KOTD). On February 7-8 they'll be hosting their biggest event to date: Blackout 5. Check out the line up here, though who knows who the special guests will be. M
Wavelength 15 (February 13-15)
Get in the know with Toronto's weird scene at Wavelength. For the first time ever the local-focused indie music fest will stretch across multiple venues as it celebrates its 15th year with a theme of Past, Present and Future. The Huntclub pop-up programming is actually on already, while the fest proper runs over Valentine's Day weekend.
Heatfest (February 16, Distillery District)
Heatfest is a new comfort food festival dedicated to soups, stews, curries, gravies, and more. Food trucks will pull into Trinity Square the day of to dish out the aforementioned comfort foods, while the Distillery's surrounding restaurants will be offering comfort food specials of their own. Organizers also promise "interactive dance and fitness workshops to get your blood pumping". NM
Vector Game Art & New Media Festival (February 18-22)
Calling all nerds from high art to low brow: Vector is back and better than ever. The 3rd annual multi-venue expo of Canadian and international innovation in digital games, new media art, and more will be at Interaccess, Bento Miso, and Videofag, with art, screenings, games, music, talks, parties, and more.
Podcamp (February 21 - 22, Ryerson)
Hailing itself as hipper than you're typical dreary conference by preferring the term "un-conference," PodCamp is a free hub for podcast makers and those who love them. Attend panels, take workshops, and discover your new favourites.
Yum Cha (February 21, Daniel's Spectrum)
Spotlight City Events has big plans for 2015, and it all kicks off with a fresh roster of chefs dishing up their finest dumplings, bao and spring rolls at the second annual dim sum festival at Daniel's Spectrum. General admission will be $10, but there will also be the option to buy one of 200 passports ($50) that will be good for a whole year of delicious events. LI
Contributions by Liora Ipsum, Natalia Manzocco, Alexander Huls, Markit, Sima Sarah Zerehi
Photo of Yum Cha by Jesse Milns
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO