School’s out for summer, which means it is time to rock on down to YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE (YDS) for the city’s favourite outdoor screenings, City Cinema, every Tuesday at 8pm from June 26 – August 28.

YDS is providing Toronto the ultimate summer soundtrack with Rockumentaries; a lineup of non-fiction films that are sure to cause treble as they explore the life and times of some of North America’s most beloved musical acts, featuring different artists and their signature sounds each week.

On June 26, Festival Express (2003), featuring the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and The Band, will start the summer film series on a high note. Thirty-three years in the making, the documentary depicts the 1970 cross-Canada tour of the same name, combining live concert recordings, behind-the-scenes tour footage, and oral history interviews.

On July 3, Torontonians are invited to feel the noise at YDS with It Might Get Loud (2008), an exploration of the electric guitar by three generation of rock icons, Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Bring-Your-Own-Air-Guitar!

On July 10, YDS will continue the Canada Day celebrations by honouring one of the nation’s finest musicians and writers with Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (2005). Recorded at the Sydney Opera House in 2005, artists such as Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, U2, and more, assemble to play selections from the prolific Cohen songbook.

On July 17, Motown meets Hogtown with the YDS screening of Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002), narrated by Andre Braugher. This documentary sheds light on The Funk Brothers, the largely unheralded and uncredited studio musicians for Motown Records. Producing more hits than The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined, these artists are the unsung heroes behind one of the biggest musical empires of the 20thcentury.

On July 24, Come Together and watch The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2016), directed by Ron Howard. Winner of Best Music Film at the 59th Grammy Awards, the film illustrates the Fab Four’s Yesterday – during their time on the road, from humble beginnings in Liverpool to their final concert in San Francisco.

On July 31, 20 Feet From Stardom (2013) puts audiences in the shoes of backup singers for pop legends such as Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, and Sting. This previously untold story received accolades such as Best Music Film at the 57th Grammy Awards and Best Documentary at the 86th Academy Awards.

On August 7, another award-winning documentary joins the slate as YDSscreens Amy (2015), a profile of British singer Amy Winehouse. This film moves beyond the controversy surrounding the star, celebrating her life and numerous musical accomplishments up to her death at age 27 in 2011. Highlights include previously unreleased tracks by the soulful singer, and intimate interview sessions with friends and family.

On August 14, the Martin Scorsese directed Shine A Light (2008) will bring Satisfaction to audiences. Recorded in 2006, the film documents The Rolling Stones’ concert at New York’s historic Beacon Theatre, interspersed with backstage footage and a look through the Stones’ history with archival clips.

On August 21, ask What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) when the story of jazz singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone plays at YDS. This Netflix-produced documentary combines never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with friends and family in a bold account of Simone’s life story. Potent and daring, her calls for justice through song are as relevant now as they were at her peak in the 1960’s.

On August 28, conclude the summer by journeying with Canada’s pride and joy in Long Time Running (2017). The Canadian-made picture follows The Tragically Hip on their 2016 Man Machine Poem Tour, the group’s final before the passing of front man Gord Downie. A love letter and goodbye all at once, this feature lets Hip fans feel the warm embrace of the band’s sound one more time.

Each feature screening will include an opening short from the Live at Massey Hall series, the 2018 Live Music Industry Award-winner for Brand/Music Program of the Year at Canadian Music Week. Live at Massey Hall showcases Canada’s next generation of musical stars in live concert recordings at Toronto’s legendary music hall. For full details please visit the YDS website.

Admission is FREE to all City Cinema screenings

For more information and a full schedule of events,
please visit

All programming is subject to change

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.