These Toronto parks are showing free outdoor movies all summer long

With summer fast approaching, you may be looking to add something new to your bucket list this year. Pack your picnic blankets and favourite snacks to enjoy a film-filled summer filled with movies as Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (TOPS) returns for their 14th annual festival this June 19 to Aug. 25.

The 2024 outdoor screening programme will feature 21 films under the theme “On the Job,” dedicated to highlighting workers and their backgrounds, with special consideration for how work affects various aspects of life.

The festival, which is free to attend, will take place in four parks across Toronto including Fort York, Christie Pits Park, Corktown Common and Bell Manor Park. 

On opening night, TOPS will kick off the festival at Fort York National Historic Site with a screening of the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton (who wrote and performed the renowned theme song), Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. 

From there, nightly screenings will take place over the entirety of opening week at Fort York from June 19-25 before bringing the big screen to other parks throughout July and August. 

Weekly programming will be presented on Sunday evenings at Christie Pits Park from July 7 to Aug. 25 and Thursday evenings at Corktown Common from July 11 to Aug. 1. There will be three consecutive dates at Bell Manor Park from Aug. 15-17.

“On the Job” will also include Sorry to Bother You (2018) from Boots Riley and Steven Soderbergh’s 1998 heist romance Out of Sight. You can also catch the 1995 cult favourite Empire Records and Wim Wenders’ 2023 Oscar-nominated drama Perfect Days.

TOPS will also be screening the award-winning feature Someone Lives Here (2023), a story that documents carpenter Khaleel Seivwright’s journey to improve the living conditions of Toronto’s unhoused residents, by this year’s spotlight filmmaker Zack Russell.

The film will screen at Christie Pits Park on July 21.

Attendance to TOPS annual festival has grown considerably since their 2022 return to public parks after a reduced capacity due to the pandemic. Last year, TOPS welcomed over 24,000 attendees. 

“For so many years, our Christie Pits venue was the flagship TOPS destination, welcoming over 1,000 people every night, but in 2023, we were overwhelmed to see all our parks welcome such large audiences from their local neighbourhoods and across the city. As the cost of living puts more pressure on all of us, I’m so proud that our festival continues to offer joyful respite and celebration for everyone and anyone to attend without barriers to entry,” said TOPS artistic and executive director Emily Reid in a statement.

Visit topictureshow.com for the complete schedule of outdoor movies to be announced on May 23.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO