Since there’s a lot of hype around Canada’s 150th birthday this year, there’s a lot going on in the city in terms of summer festivals. From catching free live entertainment with the kids, to sipping on some craft brews, to trying the CNE’s newest deep-fried innovation of the year, right at home is the place to be this summer 2017.
Events and festivals are some of the best reasons to live in this great city. Here’s the down-low on festivals this July and August.
Summer festivals in July?
With Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1st, there are four official locations for city-wide celebration. The biggest one is a free four-day festival at Nathan Phillips Square from June 30th to July 3rd. Boasting two stages with live acts like the Barenaked Ladies, as well as a host of Canada’s best current indie bands, roots, pop, urban and world music acts. Plus they have dancing, street art, circus acts and, of course, food vendors. Check out the stage lineups and if you’re busy that day you can still catch the nightly fireworks show at 10:55PM.
Next up is the Beaches International Jazz Festival July 7th – 30th. It’s the biggest Jazz festival in the city, attracting one of the most diverse audiences of any event in Canada, at over one million visitors. It includes more than 10 stages with a dynamic musical roster from R&B acts, to ska and swing, exciting activities, games and gourmet food trucks galore. Young or old(er), it’s the perfect free fest to bring the whole family to.
Formerly called Caribana, the always vibrant and raucous Caribbean Carnival starts July 17th at Nathan Philips Square. For a cultural explosion of music, performance, costume and food, definitely hit up The Grand Parade. The highlight of the three-week festival, masqueraders in costume dance their way from Exhibition Place west along Lakeshore to The Boulevard Club. Watch the city come alive with the rhythms of Calypso, Soca and Reggae. And, if the Caribbean breeze were a sound, the Steel Pan.
To finish the month off with a buzz, Toronto’s Festival of Beer July 28th – 30th at Exhibition Place has something for every beer lover. Sample ambers, lagers, stouts and a host of other bubbly specialties from around the world, as well as local Ontario Craft Brewers. Plus if you like good vibes with a brew or two, Sloan is the headliner this year, among other notable acts. Tickets are $42.50 and include five sample tokens to get you started and a take-home festival sampling cup, so no need to BYOS (Bring Your Own Stein).
Make the most of Summer Festivals in August
Canada’s largest street festival, Taste of the Danforth is one of the city’s signature summer events, showcasing the best in Hellenic food, culture, music, plus interactive games for the kids. Its yearly attendance of 1.65 million people is insanely impressive given it’s been run for 23 years by local community volunteers. Grab a char-grilled Souvlaki kebab by the stick August 11th – 13th and get ready for free acrobatic stunt shows, an array of live music and flamenco dancing.
Every Tuesday starting June 27th all the way until August 29th, you can grab tickets to the Open Roof Festival. An outdoor music and film fest held at 99 Sudbury Street, catch a new live band play then sit down for a great film under the stars. Age restrictions depend on the rating of the film being shown, but it’s definitely a family affair so bring whoever you love to watch movies with! Plus, proceeds of each $15 ticket support Canada’s independent music and film scene.
Finally, there’s the Canadian National Exhibition. Acrobatic shows, pogo daredevils, bandshell concerts and even a casino, the Ex has everything. Plus don’t forget the must-try food concoctions of the year: the Canadian Bacon Taco with peameal for the shell is stuffed with 18-hour braised pulled pork. Or try the Poutine Dog, a Canadian twist on the corn dog. Save 34% on your tickets before August 17th. And if you’re bringing the kids you might want to think about a $40 ride-all-day pass for an unforgettable day on the midway. Especially since admission for kids 513 is already free! Runs August 18th to September 4th.
Wishing you a Happy Canada Day and a safe and fun summer!