10 Virtual Events to Check Out in May

From virtual gardening workshops to the first Calgary Black Film Festival, there are several virtual events to check out this month.

The Calgary Horticultural Society is holding virtual workshops this month. Photograph by Jazmine Canfield

While most in-person events and activities are on hold due to pandemic restrictions right now, several Calgary businesses and organizations have put together virtual events you can still check out from home. You can take a dance class in your living room, enjoy a family-friendly virtual reading with local drag performers and more. Here are a few virtual activities to check out this month.


JazzYYC’s International Jazz Days Festival

When: April 30 to May 27

JazzYYC is hosting a virtual jazz festival with online tutorials and performances all month. Tune in on Thursdays for educational videos, and every Friday you can stream live performances on JazzYYC’s YouTube page that are followed by a Q&A with the performers.



Playwrights Projects

When: May 14, 21 and 28

Alberta Theatre Projects has been hosting online play readings by members of its Playwrights Unit for the past few weeks and there are still three more shows you can catch this month. Check out Go For Gold, Audrey Pham on May 14, What’s Your Deal? on May 21 and Ai Yah! Chop Suey on May 28. Tickets are $10 and you can also add a three-course meal from Deane House to go along with the show for an additional fee.



Reading with Royalty

When: May 15 and 26

This family-friendly event features online story readings led by local drag performers hoping to spark children’s imaginations and celebrate inclusion and diversity. Two free readings will be held this month on May 15 at 11 a.m. and May 26 at 2 p.m.



Virtual Cooking Classes with Atco Blue Flame Kitchen

When: Various dates

Trying to improve your cooking skills? Atco Blue Flame Kitchen has your back with its many virtual cooking classes. Upcoming classes focus on a range of dishes including summer sides, ricotta gnocchi, Asian lettuce wraps and more. Classes are $25 and include a list of ingredients you can buy on your own or purchase as a prepared ingredient kit.



Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival

When: May 21 to 30

The 23rd annual Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival will take place online again this year, bringing the perspectives of LGBTQ2S+ filmmakers and stories to your screen. Organized by the Calgary Queer Arts Society, the festival will feature 42 films from across 13 countries. Purchase an all-access pass for $99.99, three film passes for $24.99 or watch single films for $9.99.



Imagine on Air with Wordfest

When: Various dates

Organized by Wordfest, Imagine on Air is a series of virtual events that feature notable writers, thinkers and creators talking about their books. All five remaining May events are free to watch and focus on works by Dr. David Goldbloom, Camilla Gibb, Leslie Kern, Rachel Kushner and Jordan Abel.




When: May 22

Over the years, Otafest has been a popular destination for many Japanese anime and pop culture enthusiasts. This year, the popular festival will be live streamed on May 22 through Twitch. The stream will bring in celebrities like Sonia Blade, Erica Lindbeck, Yama no Oto and more. There will also be a virtual exhibitor hall with artists and vendors and even an island on Animal Crossing you can visit.



Virtual Workshops with Calgary Horticultural Society

When: Various dates

May is the perfect month to start planning your garden since we (hopefully) no longer have to worry about cold weather. If you need some help, the Calgary Horticultural Society is offering multiple virtual workshops on how to design your garden and yard and choose the right plants. Some workshops have limited capacity, so make sure you register as soon as possible.



Calgary Black Film Festival

When: May 26 to 30

This month marks the first Calgary Black Film Festival from May 26 to 30. The festival features 41 films from 10 countries presented virtually, as well as three panel discussions you can watch for free. The festival ends with Calgary filmmaker Cheryl Foggo’s feature documentary John Ware Reclaimed, which explores the Black cowboy and rancher’s life. Film passes and individual tickets are available.



Virtual Dance Classes with Dance Code Calgary

When: Various dates

Dance Code Calgary is offering virtual dance classes throughout the month and caters to adult dancers of all levels. There are many different classes to choose from including ballet, contemporary, hip hop and burlesque boom. Try a drop-in class or sign up for one of the packages/memberships.


Want more suggestions for the best things to do in Calgary? Sign up for our Weekender Newsletter.

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