Events / festivals, Toronto
Toronto comes alive with festivals in the summer. One of these is the Busker Fest, which is a 4 day extravaganza at the end of August that showcases street performers in the St. Lawrence Market / Downtown Core area. I went to the grand finale this year (August 29, 2010) and was blown away by the talent. Best of all, the performers are busking for change, so you pay what you feel the show was worth. Do bring lots of change though because they worked really hard to entertain us.
We saw everything from people juggling fire, living statutes, magic shows, and some serious acrobatic display. There were also aerial and circus shows on the main stage on the other nights, so you'll need to check the schedule. And as they said, things could happen anywhere, anytime during the festival. And to go with the street performance, vendors have also set up artisan stalls and food stands, so there's something for everyone.
Oh, the event is a fundraiser for Epilesy Toronto and the proceeds from busking during the main stage shows go towards the charity.
Toronto is a city of many festivals. Here are some of the best:
The Beaches Jazz Festival:
A street festival with jazz musicians performing all along Queen St. East. For more info, and dates, check out their website:
This is North America's Largest Street Festival celebrating caribbean culture. This two-week Festival attracts over a million participants annually, including hundreds of thousands of American tourists. For more info, check out:
The Taste of the Danforth
A celebration of Greek culture and heritage. This annual street festival is experience by over a million visitors each year, and is so popular, it closes down one of Toronto's major streets for an entire weekend!
Summerlicious and Winterlicious
With more than 5000 restaurants across the Toronto featuring more than 200 international cuisines, a celebration of Toronto wouldn't be complete without food! Each restaurant will offer a special prix fixe menu where patrons can sample the establishment's delicious fare. A great way to experience some otherwise too pricy restaurants.
The Toronto International Film Festival:
This is one of the biggest and best film fests in the world! During the festival, Toronto is packed with celebrities, especially in and around Yorkville. For more info, check out the website:
One of my favorite street festivals here in Toronto is "Taste of Little Italy." Part of the allure can be attributed to the fact that I live in walking distance, and of course I do love food, besides any weekend that a major street is shut down for cavorting is okay in my books.
Located of College Street between Bathurst and Shaw, this weekend festival is mid June and a great way to kick off the summer in Toronto. If you are in town mid June head on down and check it out.
Many of the restaurants have extended (larger) patios for ample beer consumption as well as BBQ's or grills set up on the street selling a taste of their menus. This year the big hit was spaducci (lamb skewers) at Cafe Diplomatico, and the pork, apple skewers at Veni Vedi Vici.
Take a look at the travelouge for more pictures and treats!
Come and experience the International AutoShow in Toronto. The 36-year tradition of celebrating Canadian's love of automobile is showcasing the new and the next in the fascinating era in automotive history.
This Year 2009, the event will happen from February 13-22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre.
The future of the automobile is up for grabs, so buy your tickets for Cdn$20 entrance. Buy online for a 10% discount at Cdn$18 only. For information and details about the show and to buy tickets, visit the link I provided below.
Halloween is just as popular in Canada as it is in its American counterpart. Adults and children love to celebrate. People decorate their houses, some going more 'all out' than others and get very elaborate costumes for themselves and for their kids. For the youth, its another excuse to drink, but in costume.
The North American tradition of "trick-or-treat" comes from the idea that you must be kind to dead ancestors or they will play a trick on you, however it is rarely talked about as being about that. The holiday is celebrated on October 31st every year. To children, it means they get to dress up in whatever costume they want, and go door to door in the evening with a pillow case that will be filled up with candy. It also means the costume parties, dances, and pumpkin-carving that will take place the week before Hallowe'en night. On the porch of many houses on October 31st, you will see a pumpkin with a face or some sort of a desing carved in it, with a candle inside so it lights up.
Hallowe'en is exciting, and meant to be "spooky" in a fun way but be careful as there is sometimes danger that can occur too. Its pretty common to hear of egging incidents, pumpkin smashing. Generally there will just be people doing things thay think they can get away with because it's Hallowe'en. There are usually police on the look out everywhere on this night.
Only children normally go door to door for candy (I could probably go if I wore a mask) It's common for them all to go together in a group with their friends, but the younger ones are guided by their parents.
This Festival is at the sky dome now called the Rogers center. It’s all about the Aboriginal people and their customs. There are dancing competitions called the Pow Wow that are the heart of the festival and attract over 800 dancers to this Festival to compete in different categories.
They are fully dressed in Native American regalia of all colures and design. You can buy bow and arrows made on the spot, as well as a leather Quiver at very cheap prices. If you want to learn about Native Americans thene this is a nice place to start they love to talk and answer any questions you have
Schedule: last Friday to Sunday in November
Admission: $10 /adults $5/ 4-12, 3 and under is Free, $25/family of 4
Parking: have to pay whatever prices are at near by parking that range from $6 far15/20 min up to $15 closes by across the street
Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. If you are looking to experience some of what Toronto has to offer, I suggest planning a trip for early August.
The first weekend in August plays host to Caribana, one of the largest Parades in North America. This festival was originally based on the Trinidad Carnival, but now includes the music, dance, food and costumes of Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, Brazil and other cultures represented in Toronto.
The weekend after, August 11-13, 2006, is "Taste of the Danforth" on Danforth Street. This festival celebrates Hellenic cuisine and Hellenic culture. You will be able to sample all the different ‘tastes’ of authentic ethnic cuisine that GreekTown has to offer. The best part is that all 'tastes' costs between $1-$5! Whether Greek, Thai, Cuban, Indian, or pub fare is what you crave, there is something for everyone at the Taste of the Danforth. My suggestion is to come with an empty stomach and let the scents of the dolmades, spanakopita (spinach pie), and souvlaki quide you! This event is not to be missed!!
Harbourfront center sits on the Waterfront. It is a long stretch of intertament buildings and parks. There are over 4000 large and small events a year from, craft studios that allows visitors to watch artist in action as they make vases out of glass, or for adults there are programs that include dance, music, theatre festivals, conferences, and visual arts exhibits, there is also.
The Toronto festival of storytelling, camps, International milk festival, Music with Bites, Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, Christmas fairs, and many more free cultural fairs. On the summer weekend you can go to the International marketplace and see crafts from all around the world. Or go to the world café and taste cuisine from around the world. And at the cibc stage you can hear music from all around the world lol. Lots of fun. There is also the Harbourfront canoe & Kayak center of Toronto where you can rent theme for $20 /hour, $40/day, $50 for the Kayaks.
Schedule : Harbourfront center is open year-round with variable opening and closing hours depending on the events.
Admission : Free ground admission
Directions 235 Queen’s Quay west
This is probably Toronto’s biggest parade. You have hundreds of people dressed up in all kinds of costumes from every culture in the world. There are many floats that toke many days to build and are really nice to see one buy one as they pass buy. There is loud music, people dancing, singing, running, jumping, food stands everywhere people trying to sell you things. Just crazy but you have to see it lol
Schedule: Saturday of the first weekend in August
Admission: Free $15 for seating at the Exhibition center
Directions: Starts at the Exhibition Place ( corner of Strachan Ave and Lake shore Blvd ) thene runs west-bound along Lake Shore Blvd up around Dowling Ave.
St Patrick’s day Parade this is another of Toronto’s many parades. This one to the Irish, you see many floats with scenes from Ireland, the bagpipers are especially nice to see and hear and the teasing leprechaun going around throwing gold chocolate coins in to the crowd. And off course everyone wears green.
Schedule: If March 17 falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, the parade takes place the Sunday of that weekend if not it will take place the next Sunday from 12:00 to 3:00 pm
Directions: Goes from Bloor st (at Devonshire) eastbound, then southbound on yonge st, then west on queen st, the parade ends at University.
TORONTO STREET FESTIVAL
This is there 8th year running. What happens is that they close 5 of torontos Busiest intersections along Young Street the longest street in the world and it becomes an intertament paradise that attracts more than 1 million festivalgoers. This year 2006 the Festival kicks off on July 7th to the 9th. All intertament is free there is live music from jazz, world, pop and children’s artists, there are over 1,200 performers from jugglers to stilt-walkers,and over 700 things to do and see a nice way to spend a weekend.
Schedule: starts the evening of July 7 to the 9th 2006
Directions: Along yonge st ., at the intersection of dundas st., Bloor St., St. Clair Ave., Eglinton Ave. And Lawrence Ave
This is really an amazing event look at the track record it gets better year after year.
*The Celebrate Toronto Street Festival is a multi award-winning event:
FEO - 2004 voted as one of the Top 50 Festivals
CEIA - 2004 Best Festival
CEIA - 2003 Best Festival
CEIA - 2002 award winner
EDAC - 2001 Best Festival
EDAC - 2001 Best Promotional Campaign
FEO - 2001 Best Official Program
FEO - 2001 Best Overall Campaign
FEO - 2001 Best Print Ad
Toronto's historic attractions will be open to the public on the last weekend of May. Admission is FREE.
- Canada Life Building
- Canadian Broadcasting Centre
- Canadian Opera Company
- Canon Theatre
- Casa Loma Stables
- The Carlu
- Commerce Court North
- Design Exchange
- Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre
- Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design @ University of Toronto
- George Brown House
- Gooderham Flatiron Building
- Le Royal Meridien King Edward
- Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex
- Toronto City Hall
- Ontario Legislative Building
- Osgoode Hall
- Princess of Wales Theatre
- Royal Alexandra Theatre
- Royal Conservatory of Music (McMaster Hall)
- Spadina House