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The Toronto International Film Festival will take place in person and online this year. Here’s how to enjoy it whether you’re watching at home or at an outdoor theatre

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival is going hybrid, with physically distanced in-person events at theatres and outdoor venues along with online screenings.

There are 50 films premiering this year, compared to 245 last year. Many films will feature digital screenings for home viewers in Canada, either through Chromecast or a newly developed TIFF app, which will be available in the Apple App Store on Sept. 9.

When the Lightbox cinema closed, it was the first movie theatre in Toronto to suspend operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. Not long after, TIFF partnered with Canadian streaming service Crave to start a TIFF-at-home series, embracing digital innovation only two weeks after closing its Lightbox doors. #TIFFAtHome has regularly cleared the trending bar on Twitter Canada, and its relatively quick launch has helped TIFF drill down on its digital strategy.

The 45th edition of TIFF, running Sept. 10 to 19, may not provide the same fun, awkward and starstruck experiences as in past years. But this guide will help you get the most out of the festival, whether you’re watching from home or at an outdoor viewing.

Read more: The Globe's guide to everything you need to know about this year's festival

Globe critics' reviews of TIFF 2020 movies

Ticket info

A man walks on a red carpet displaying a sign for the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto on September 3, 2014.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Ticket sales to the public begin Sept. 5, with members getting earlier access.

For those in Toronto, TIFF titles will be screened indoors at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, with physical distancing measures in place. The cost will be the same whether in-person or online, with regular screenings priced at $19 including taxes and fees, and premium tickets going for $26.

Cars of one or two people can catch TIFF titles at the Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView, RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place and OLG Play Stage at Ontario Place for $49 including taxes and fees, while cars with three or more people cost $69. Open-air screenings at the West Island Open Air Cinema at Ontario Place can accommodate two people on a “lawn pod” for $38 including taxes and fees.


Go upscale with seasonings like smoked salt, zaatar or chives.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

First things first: popcorn

TIFF snacks are the perfect excuse to get fancy in the kitchen. It’s TIFF, so think “posh-corn” rather than a plain old microwave bag, with seasonings like smoked salt, zaatar or chives. Or try a spiced caramel version to bring you into autumn smoothly and sweetly.

If that sounds like too much work, Cineplex is partnered with Uber Eats so you can get the comfort food of the theatre delivered to your house.


Want to host some friends or family in the backyard? Lucy Waverman has some ideas for appetizers you can serve for a socially distanced party. Extra points if you experiment with any of these 2020 food trends.

For dessert in a pinch, give microwave recipes a go, like this lemon curd that can be added to tarts and meringue. Experiment with sweets on the BBQ, or if you’re looking for finger food to impress give these walnut oatmeal cookies a try.

Outdoor eating

If you’re going to an outdoor viewing, you might want to pack some picnic-friendly but upscale options, like poached salmon and green pasta. Or try these simple picnic recipes including wasabi chicken wraps and cheese and apple pita pockets. These picnic tips will help make your outdoor food experience successful.

Infused foods

Another entertainment menu option is incorporating cannabis into your dishes. There are easy edible recipes and a legendary brownie recipe that’s harder than you thought.


A Godfather-inspired

TIFF-themed drinks

Try these recipes for toasting TIFF at home, including The Beekeeper from Montecito and The Grand Goose from Soho House. Or go a bit more extravagant with this TIFF Teani cocktail. This list of drink recipes looks to cinema for inspiration.

Quick and easy

If you’re looking for something a bit more simple but still festive to buy ahead of time, Globe and Mail wine critic Christopher Waters offers suggestions for canned cocktails, wines and coolers or sparkling wines.

Wine pairings

Since TIFF is an international festival, take inspiration from Waters’ list of wines that will transport you around the world. If you’re serving comfort food, these wines pair well with pizza, pasta or burgers. Or simply support Canadian wineries with these suggestions.

Creative ways to watch from home

The Goonies plays at Sundown Cinema, an outdoor theatre that began during the pandemic in a field in Ripley, Surrey, Britain, August 8, 2020.KEVIN COOMBS/Reuters

Without TIFF parties to attend, you might want to try making your TIFF-at-home experience a little more fun. Start with our ultimate festival bingo game for pandemic times.

“Outdoors” at home

Movies don’t have to mean the couch. Consider watching a film while camping from home, or create an outdoor movie theatre experience in the backyard for friends and family. All you need is some imagination – bring a laptop or other device outside, or set up a projector and screen if you can.

Outside your bubble

If you want to watch a movie with a date but can’t merge your isolation bubbles yet, you’ve still got virtual options. After you both get your movie tickets, you can plan to watch together, but separately. And if you still haven’t mastered the etiquette of online gatherings, there’s still time to learn.

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