Toronto Gets A Serious Case of Festival Fever

Events, Food, free, Kid Friendly, Things to Do — By cwood on June 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I like summer for many reasons – the sun, the sandals, the ice cream.  (So much ice cream!)  But in Toronto, one of the greatest things about the warm weather is the many, many festivals that hit town.  You can fill nearly every weekend with a festival of some sort, something this Local Expert always strives to do.

Here is my round-up of some of the top festivals of the summer season, with more detailed coverage of the events to follow in the coming weeks as time, and my Metropass, allow.

For the culture lover, there are music and theatre festivals like the Toronto Jazz Festival (June 25-July 4), the Toronto Fringe Festival (June 30-July 11) and Summerworks Theatre Festival (August 6-16).  The great thing about these festivals is the sheer variety of them.  Spanning several days and several venues, there is literally something for everyone.  (Everyone who likes theatre or music, of course.)

Then, there are the food festivals.  Wear your loose pants for these ones.  Get your gyro on at Taste of the Danforth (August 6-8), a celebration of Greek food and culture.  Or if curry is more your thing, there’s the Festival of India (July 17-18) in Toronto’s Little India neighbourhood.  Summerlicious (July 9-25) is one I’ve heard yummy things about but have yet to taste for myself.  Restaurants throughout Toronto offer prix-fixe menus at discounted prices, allowing foodies to restaurant-hop across the city.

And of course, there are the street festivals.  In a city as big as Toronto, it seems like there is always a street festival happening somewhere.  (Look for the traffic barricades!  There’s probably a street fest nearby.)  Pride Toronto (June 25-July 4) is North America’s largest pride festival, and it celebrates the big 3-0 this year.  Pride competes only with Caribana (June 13-August 4) for the title of biggest parade and the most fabulous costumes.  And if you have some spare change you’re looking to unload, Buskerfest (August 26-28) has plenty of stilt walkers and balloon-animal artists ready to entertain.

And after you’ve traipsed through the Toronto heat to catch all the fun, you collapse in a heap of exhaustion just as the autumn breeze sets in…

[ Photo of Caribana parade courtesy of Loozrboy ]

Tags: culture, festivals, neighbourhoods, parade