A Memorable Night at the Movies : The Open Roof Festival

watching movie isle of dogs at open roof festival toronto 2018

Given all the fun things there are to do in the summertime, you might think it unlikely that a midweek evening at the movies could be an outing that you look back upon as having been one of the highlights of the season. However, if that movie-night was spent at the Open Roof Festival, I believe you'd feel just that.

This festival, now in its ninth year, is Toronto’s only outdoor event that offers a live performance by a local band, followed by the screening of a movie created by an independent filmmaker. There is also good beer and wine and delicious food served, all brought to you amidst a warm and friendly vibe.

Almost entirely volunteer-driven, the Open Roof Festival is not-for-profit, with proceeds going towards Canada’s independent film production and music communities. This year, the gatherings were held on Wednesday evenings, in an empty lot on Sterling Road in the Junction neighbourhood. This year the festival ran from mid-June and will end with one more installment to come, next week on August 22nd.

My friend Julie and I had the pleasure of attending this week and had a really good time.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned that dogs are welcome at Open Roof!

The film we saw was Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs", so I'm not sure if there were more dogs in the audience thanks to the choice of movies, or if this was normal, but we couldn't get over all the cute dogs that were there, ranging in size and breed! We spotted one tiny enough to be carried in the front pocket of a woman's jacket and one so large that he resembled a big fluffy white bear.

While Julie and I are cat lovers at heart, we certainly understand the appeal of canine friends!

at toronto open roof festival

When movie time arrived, small blankets and rugs were laid on the ground all around, and the dogs settled in and watched along with us. Everyone laughed when the soundtrack became surround-sound, when they sporadically began a chorus of small barks, as though they were calling out to one another, "Hey, are you having fun? I am. Yup, me too".

But I'm getting ahead of myself here ... before the film, there was a concert by the talented four-person band "Goosebump", along with socializing, food and drinks!

goosebump band at open roof festival toronto

↑ Check out Goosebump's video for "Heather's Invitation" here and I think you'll agree that the video is why this particular band was chosen to proceed "Isle of Dogs"! ↑

save our scruff dog rescue and rehoming organization toronto

↑ There was a table and representatives from an organization called "Save our Scruff", who : "By working with committed volunteers, foster homes, veterinarians, and trainers, are able to rescue dogs and provide them with loving temporary care while finding them well-matched, carefully screened forever homes." ↑

save our scruff dog rescue and rehoming organization toronto at open roof festival

↑ The black dog was adopted via "Save Our Scruff" earlier this summer. ↑

cassanova female dog available for adoption save our scruff organization toronto seen at open roof festival

↑ This lovely smiley female is named Cassanova and is available for adoption right now! If you're looking to add to your family, consider her or one of her friends, all found on their website linked above. ↑

beautiful dog

dog at open roof festival toronto

the drake catering food stand at open roof festival toronto

The Drake Catering had a food-stand set up, where we got a Fried Chicken sandwich served with Kimchi and mayonnaise, which was delicious. ↑

the drake food and amsterdam beer at the open roof festival toronto

There was also a concession stand offering the usual movie fair including freshly made popcorn, candy and pop.

at the open roof festival toronto junction neighbourhood sterling road

↑ The lot is right beside the soon to be opening Museum of Contemporary Art, which Julie and I are very excited about! It was also across the street from the venue of the Banksy exhibition. ↑

taken by j

↑ Taken by Julie with her phone.↑

at the open roof festival toronto moviesmusicbeer

↑ I mentioned that a friendly vibe permeated the environment ... Dina, who was seated behind us and kindly saved our spots while we went to grab a drink refill, was amoungst those who gave that impression. ↑

us with puppy

↑ This five week old pup, Charlie, would not let us pass without first saying hello. ↑

at open roof festival 18 movies music beer toronto

at festival


amsterdam brewery at toronto open roof festival 2018

↑ One of the regular sponsors of the event is Amsterdam Brewery, who were there with some kegs. I had the "3-Speed lager" which was just right on that warm summer night. There was also wine available, which is what Julie had. ↑

getting drinks at the open roof festival toronto

before film began

mc at open roof festival toronto 2018 movies music beer

outdoor film festival toronto open roof screening wes andersons isle of dogs

↑ Watching "Isle of Dogs". I plan on seeing it again because it is so well done. ↑

isle of dogs film screening at toronto open roof festival

leaving the festival

I hope my photos do a good job at showing you just how enjoyable this festival is. As previously stated, there is one more "Open Roof Festival" event to go this year, next Wednesday, August 22nd, when the band will be "Omhouse" and the film "Sorry to Bother You". Tickets can be bought in advance here, so you can be sure to get a spot. If any are still available, tickets can also be purchased there.

xo Loulou
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5 Responses to A Memorable Night at the Movies : The Open Roof Festival

  1. Julie says:

    That was such a lovely night, and we had great weather! Yay for doggie movies. xo

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  3. Lynn Grant -Roberts says:

    I miss the things such as this that Toronto has to offer,When i was over there,every year they had The international festival ,different countries represented themselves by offering Music,Art,Food at different venues and you would get a type of “passport” to get stamped from each country.Does this event still occur?
    Oh by the way Hellooo from the Uk
    Take care Lynn x

    • Loulou says:

      Hi there Lynn. I hope you’ve had a good summer! Indeed, I remember “Caravan”. I only had the pleasure of going once, but it was certainly memorable. I had my first ever taste of borscht at the Ukrainian pavilion. It was so much fun. It no longer happens, but I wish it did!

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