Toronto is a large, multi-cultural city – so it’s no surprise that it loves a festival. No matter what time of year you visit you will find one. But if you’re heading there in summer 2018, we have rounded up some of the best between the months of May and September. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means (as we’ve already said, there’s always a festival happening in Toronto) – so let us know if we’ve missed your favourite!
Canadian Music Week
Running from the 7th to the 13th of May, Canadian Music Week is one of North America’s premier music festivals. Over the 10 nights, music fans can see over 1,000 bands live in more than 60 live music venues in downtown Toronto.
Doors Open Toronto
Get a glimpse of the real Toronto as you explore buildings that are usually closed off to the public. Approximately 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural, and social significance partake in this annual free event.
Toronto Pride is one of the largest organised gay rights festivals in the world. The centre of the festival is the city’s Church and Wellesley village, while the parade and marches are primarily routed along the nearby Yonge Street, Gerrard Street and Bloor Street.
Taste of Little Italy
College Street boast a rich Italian history and every June the area is filled with artisan vendors and street kiosks. Restaurants will also offer special festival-only menus.
No matter what form of art or culture you are into, you’ll find it at North by North East. The festival’s main pull is live music, but it also includes a film festival, a comedy festival, art components, video game activities, and a digital interactive media conference. It takes place across the city but most of the venues are located in downtown Toronto.
Toronto Japanese Film Festival
This is a must for anyone who is a fan of Japanese culture. Whether it is contemporary dramas, comedies and action, literary adaptations, children’s, art-house and anime films – you’ll find it covered. Screenings are accompanied by musical performances, sake tastings, martial arts demonstrations, art exhibitions and lots of sushi.
Toronto Craft Beer Festival
Between June 22nd and 24th, join other craft beer fans at West Island of Ontario Place. Aside from craft beer there will also be delicious food, fun activities, and live music. This event is strictly 19+.
A fan of electronic music? This is Canada’s largest electronic music festival. Past acts have included rmin Van Buuren, Zedd, Steve Angello and Martin Garrix. Also includes a spectacular lights show. This year it will be held on June 23rd and June 24th.
Redpath Waterfront Festival
Toronto is home to a beautiful waterfront so it’s only natural that the city would create a festival based around it. You’ll find music, food, nautical programs and entertainment – plus every three years, the event welcomes a fleet of majestic TALL SHIPS® to Toronto.
Toronto Fringe Festival
The Toronto Fringe Festival follows the same premise as every other fringe festival. There’s no jury and the schedule is chosen by lottery – allowing lesser known performers the same chance to be seen by the general public.
Foodies rejoice! For two weeks during July, more than 200 of Toronto’s best restaurants offer three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at exceptional prices. In the cooler months of the year you can also attend Winterlicious, which follows the same concept.
Toronto Summer Music Festival
If it’s classical music you’re into, then Toronto offers plenty of that too. Now into its twelfth season, the Toronto Summer Music Festival and Academy brings together world-renowned Canadian and international artists to the city of Toronto. Masterclasses and lectures are also included in the festival programme.
Honda Indy Toronto
This is IndyCar’s second-longest running street race, only behind the Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is held in Exhibition Place, on a track that has 11 turns and is 2.874-kilometre (1.786 mi) long.
Toronto’s Festival of Beer
If you missed the craft beer festival in June, there’s still the chance to visit the Toronto Beer Festival in July. It celebrates Canada’s rich brewing history and showcases more than 300 brands from around the world – including craft beers. It is has been around since 1996 and is Canada’s largest beer festival. Entry age is strictly 19+.
Beginining at the end of July and slipping into the start of August, this is North America’s largest street festival. Celebrating all things Caribbean, it roughly follows the same format as the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, but also borrows some traditions from the carnivals found in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
Fan Expo Canada
If you love pop culture of any kind, then Fan Expo Canada is for you. Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, it includes all genres and media types including comic books, science fiction, film/television, horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games and web entertainment.
Toronto Cider Festival
Prefer cider to beer? August is cider’s time to shine. Held on the 24th and 25th this award-winning festival brings together 100 different cider growers from Canada and around the globe. Every year they choose a theme – and this year it will be Ranch and Rodeo!
Taste of the Danforth
You can’t visit Toronto in August and not attend Canada’s largest street festival! Held in the city’s Greektown, it celebrates Greek culture and food. While there are street food vendors, many restaurants also put on special festival menus. There’s also a wine and beer garden. This year it will be held from August 10th to August 12th.
Toronto Film Festival
Does this really need any introduction? One of the biggest film festivals in the world it offers screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, industry support and the chance to meet filmmakers from Canada and around the world. It is held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a dynamic centre for film culture that offers visitors a presentation that includes new releases, live film events and an interactive gallery. While guests themselves tend to be industry professionals – many fans can be seen hanging around the red carpet hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite actor or actress.
Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle
We’ve mentioned classical music and mainstream chart music – now it’s time for blues! The festival attracts over 70,000 people to the village of Port Credit, who stop by for music, food and its festive spirit. This will be the 20th year of the Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle, so we’re sure big plans are in the works!
What’s your favourite Toronto based festival? Let us know in the comments!