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Top Pics, Douglas Coupland and the Perfect Pizza: 13 Things to Experience in Canada This Month

From the Pacific Trash Vortex to Montreal spots that are rolling in dough, here's what's new and noteworthy across the country in May.

Toronto - YYZ + YTZ


Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

Photo: Felicity Hammond, Simulated Ruins, 2017, courtesy of the artist

Oh, Snap!

Zooming in on three of the 1,500 artists featured in this month’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

May 1–31,


Shelley Niro

This retrospective celebrates the multi-media artist (and 2017 Governor General’s Award winner), whose wry photos, paintings, beadwork and films provide an expansive view of contemporary indigenous life.

Ryerson Image Centre


Awol Erizku

The Ethiopian-born, Los Angeles-based artist who shot Beyoncé’s flower-festooned pregnancy announcement uses sculpture and photography to bring black culture, history and identity into the foreground.

Billboards across Toronto


Felicity Hammond

Photography, installation and sculpture collide in the work of the British artist, whose large-scale, digitally constructed landscapes explore gentrification and changing urban environments (pictured).

Contact Gallery


Varsity Brown

Photo: Emmanuel Hall

Leather Together

After years of selling handcrafted leather bags, colour-blocked backpacks and sporty hats straight from its Queen West production studio, Varsity Brown finally has a flagship store in Leslieville to call its own.

Food & Drink

Kay Pacha

Photo: Wilson Shin

Pacha Project

Peruvian cuisine has long been shaped by Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Amazonian influences, and you can taste them all at Kay Pacha on St. Clair West. Standouts include tuna ceviche with passion fruit, and sea scallops with chili peppers and Parmesan. And, of course, the pisco.

Vancouver - YVR


Vortex, Douglas Coupland

Photo: JLGijssen

Water World

Every minute, enough plastic to fill a dump truck hits the ocean, much of it washing up on shorelines surrounding the Pacific Trash Vortex. Douglas Coupland’s new Vancouver Aquarium exhibit, Vortex, features an installation of this debris (largely collected by the artist himself).

Starts May 18


Craft Course

In honour of Vancouver Craft Beer Week (May 25–June 3), soak up the suds on this 2 1/2-block Eastside brewery crawl.

Off the Rail Brewing

Photo: Mike Evans

Off the Rail Brewing

Start on Adanac Street with this brewery’s classic pale ale, full of toffee notes and traditional British hops.


Bomber Brewing

Photo: Cam Andrews

Bomber Brewing

Move down the block to a pint of Bomber’s malt-forward, mildly sweet amber lager, paired with a movie or spirited game of Pictionary (depending on the night).


East Vancouver Brewing Company

Photo: Ronnie Lee Hill

East Vancouver Brewing Company

Wrap up your crawl with the Unholy One Stout, a rich, bittersweet brew that blends a mix of malts with a dry finish.

Food & Drink

Chinatown BBQ

Photo: Ben Nelms

Resto Restoration

Chinatown BBQ – and its fantastic roast duck – has moved onto East Pender Street with a mission to help revitalize Vancouver’s historic Chinatown (over the last decade, more than half its Chinese restaurants and shops have closed). Designer Craig Stanghetta helped the restaurant shine from bottom to top, with checkered floors, wooden panels and vintage photos hung on the walls.

Montréal - YUL

Food & Drink


Photo: Dominique Lafond


This casual Italian restaurant from the folks behind Nora Gray keeps its wood-fired margherita pizzas simple and its moscato wine strictly natural.



Photo: @karolinajez


With flaky croissants and killer cannoli, this Notre-Dame joint is for those moments when you can’t decide between a French patisserie and an Italian bakery.


Rustique Salée

Rustique Salée

Things take a turn for the savoury at this new pie place next to the orignal Rustique, with combos like kale, squash and chèvre baked into decadent all-butter crusts.


Montreal Summit on Innovation

Photo: Sebastien Roy

Social Network

This year’s Montreal Summit on Innovation nurtures social initiatives over breakfast, collaborative research projects over cocktails and expertise-swapping over group “brain dates.”

May 23

Green Thumb


Photo: Annie-Claude Malenfant

Plant Power

Cultivate your very own house jungle by visiting one of three new plant stores. In Mile End, Cactus en ligne is a smart stop for succulents – we’re partial to the bunny-ear-shaped Opuntia cactus varieties – while Plantzy has the hulking, glossy-leaved Monsteras ideal for apartment gardeners looking to add boho character to their space. And Éphé stocks terrariums (pictured) that’ll spruce up any bathroom (available at H8S Coffee Bar in Lachine and Aux Meubles de Margaux on Avenue du Parc).,,