People lined up next to a well-lit sign.

Ways to experience the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

People lined up next to a well-lit sign.

Whether you love star spotting, great cinema or merely the big city’s energy, the Toronto International Film Festival is the perfect urban adventure and a popular attraction of Ontario’s top film festivals. But if you don’t have a ticket, that’s okay. We’ve got great ideas of how you can make the most of TIFF.

Make the most of your time at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

The Toronto International Film Festival has become the launching pad for the best of international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema. It is recognized as the most important film festival in the world after Cannes. More than 300 films from over 50 countries offer audiences a diverse array of films to enjoy every year, including from Canadian directors and up-and-coming actors. Here are some things to enjoy about this world-class film festival.

Early Oscar predictions

Each year, some of Hollywood’s most notable films make their debut at TIFF. To date several movies that took home the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival also took home the honour of Best Picture at the Oscars. And many more TIFF top winners ended up taking home Oscars in other film categories. Though a seat at a Gala is a hot ticket item, you can occasionally score a last-minute pass by checking online at 7 a.m. the morning of the screening or try for rush tickets. 

TIFF Bell Lightbox

Located in Toronto’s entertainment neighbourhood and open all year round, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the perfect venue for film enthusiasts to hang out.  In addition to a store, art gallery and film reference library, it also boasts five public cinemas. During TIFF, a peek at the schedule inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox gives you an idea of just how many films are playing and the diverse subjects tackled.

TIFF Bell Lightbox also has several delicious culinary experiences, including the contemporary seafood-focused LUMA and the more casual The O&B Canteen. The Canteen is the perfect place to take a seat and discuss the movies in the festival or to grab a snack to-go while waiting for your next star sighting. All of O&B Canteen’s chef-prepared offerings use fresh ingredients. Try the delicious butter tarts, made in O&B’s artisan bakery.

Souvenirs and mementos

The TIFF Bell Lightbox gift shop has some fun, original memorabilia, which is a great way to commemorate your visit to TIFF or bring something home to friends or family. While walking across King Street, you may also come across free samples or goodies from different Toronto International Film Festival sponsors. It's easy to agree that free souvenirs make the best souvenirs!

Hollywood glamour and galas in Toronto

Another way to enjoy TIFF is to catch a quick peek at some of the film industry’s biggest names as they arrive at TIFF’s many screening venues. Ontario performance landmarks like Roy Thomson Hall, one of Canada’s premier concert halls, and the opulent Princess of Wales Theatre are home to glitzy red carpets that the likes of Brad Pitt and George Clooney have walked. Whether you stop by just before a Toronto International Film Festival screening, camp out and secure a prime viewing spot, or just wander by early in the day to see what a real-life red carpet looks like, you’re bound to feel a hint of excitement at being so close to the red carpet action.

Five-star celebrity sightings

Over the years, Toronto has become home to some spectacular, world-renowned five-star hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton, the Shangri-La and the St. Regis. During TIFF, you may spot a celebrity in town for the festival. And don’t be surprised when you see a crowd outside these hotels waiting for a star sighting. It’s a common occurrence during the Toronto International Film Festival. So, if you have the time, why not join in on the fun?

Plan your film festival adventure this season and find more arts and cultural experiences and events in Ontario.  

Last updated: April 2, 2024

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