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May 30, 2015

Toronto Festivals & Events

The Future of Festivals Toronto

Our new (and improved) website has hit some roadblocks and has been delayed going live. In the meantime, we're continuing to update listings/events here when they become available.

Listings will also be mentioned on facebook and via Twitter.

Because of the Pan Am/Paraphan Am Games being held in July/August here in Toronto and other nearby cities, many of the festivals/events have either moved their dates OR have been postponed for 2015, returning in 2016. We have tried to remember to alert you to these changes, sorry if we missed a few.

Ontario foodies & foodlovers!

The City of Toronto has launched The Local Dish, a campaign to increase consumers' awareness and consumption of Ontario food. This year-long campaign encourages residents to:

  • Grow their own food by providing gardening tips and resources
  • Choose local when grocery shopping
  • Choose local when eating out, by engaging some of Ontario's best chefs who are vocal champions of local food
  • Help Live Green build the largest collection of local food recipes on Pinterest.

Each month, Live Green will release the name of an Ontario allstar fruit or vegetable that is at its peak harvest and challenge residents from across Ontario to submit their favourite recipes that feature the allstar.

Local Dish poster for vegetable of the month - asparagus

The All-Star for May: Asparagus and the champion is Chef Fabio Bondi of Local Kitchen and Wine Bar.

Symphony in the Gardens

Casa Loma plays host to Toronto Concert Orchestra. Every Tuesday evening throughout the summer, in the spectacular Glass Pavilion. Enjoy stunning views of the city, majestic castle and the beautiful estate gardens while listening to the Toronto Concert Orchestra under the stars.

Casa Loma Summer Symphony Series poster

Jun 9-Aug 25, 2015: 7:30-10:00pm (Doors open at 5pm). Passes are available online and are the best value ($150 for all 12 performances). General Admission tickets are available for single night admissions.

Friday Night Live

Friday Night Live "FNLs" are always a big hit. Admission: $15 (Adults), $13 (Students) and Members are Free. If you pay online there is a service fee of $2 per ticket. You will be dancing, celebrating and exploring the Museum in a way you'd never imagine. There's also themed Events throughout the Museum on the night. Drink and food tickets available onsite and Don't forget your ID as it's an ADULT ONLY event!

  • May 22: Rock the Caravan
  • May 29: Asia Today
  • June 5: Indigenous Now
  • June 12: Toga Toga!
  • June 19: Franco-Fête
  • June 26: Let the Games Begin

For details of what Eats/Food Trucks and DJ's will be there on the night, you can check here closer to the date. Early Bird tickets will be available before the date, but if you're unable to purchase them online, they will be on sale at the door until sold out.

When: May 1-Jun 26 (7-11pm): Fridays
Where: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

AGO's First Thursdays

On the first Thursday of every month, AGO presents an evening of entertainment throughout its galleries that include pop-up talks, "Out of the Vaults" installation and hands-on art making. There's also food and bar stations throughout the AGO.

Time: 7-11:30 pm
Admission: Online: $12 (+$2 fee); At door: $15 1 2 [Tickets]

1 Buy your tickets early as this event tends to sell out - they don't hold back tickets for door purchase.
2 If you want to see of the special Exhibitions, you will have to pay more.

This is an 19+ Event so don't forget your ID. Don't forget to take CASH.

Cavalia: Odysseo

Apr 22-May 31, 2015: If you missed it last time this show came to Toronto, you're in luck, they're back! The show is performed under a huge White Big Top (seen from the Gardner when you drive east towards the DVP).

It is visually breathtaking. Watching the horses (70 of them) perform in harmony throughout the show is a joy to watch. The performers/acrobats are amazing (kind of like a Cirque du Soleil with horses). The second half of the show (after intermission) is when the huge lake appears - with the lighting, it will just leave you in awe.

Tickets are available for most shows. There isn't really a bad seat in the 'house'.
I went to this and LOVED IT! I would 110% recommend this show.

Pedestrian Sunday Festivals ~ Kensington Market

On select Sundays, Kensington Market becomes a family-friendly area when the streets close for Pedestrian Sunday Festival. The streets become a stage for live entertainment, street performers & more! The following are the 2015 dates: May 31, June 28, July 26, August 30, September 27 and October 25 (12 to 7pm)

Just one of the roads in Kensington Market, Toronto

Definitely a favourite of the locals and a great way to experience the Market area!

Live Comedy

FREE live comedy shows - now you can't beat that can you?! The Comedy Cabaret is a monthly show of Stand-Up Comedy held at The Charlotte Room (19 Charlotte St) on the last Monday of every month (8-9:30pm). You can reserve your seat by booking online via Uniiverse (or just show up).

Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

Pan Am/Parapan Am Games logo2015 sees the arrival of the Games to Toronto and surrounding cities. Tickets for the Pan Am Games (July 10-26) and the Parapan Am Games (Aug 7-15) have been on sale for a while now, but there many still available for the different games (even for the Opening Cermony) through Ticketmaster.

If you're lucky enough to be in Toronto during the Games, I've put together a sort of 'cheat sheet' (to come) for what's happening during it (but only for Toronto).

Save on Attractions

We all look for a deal, especially if you're visiting as a family. The following are just some ways of catching a deal when in Toronto (or other cities in Canada):

  • Buytopia: offers really good discounts on many events that are held in Toronto and other Canadian cities.
  • Travelzoo: offers discounts on many attractions, events, hotels, etc. in Toronto and Canada.
  • City Pass: (not to be confused with the City Passports) offers discounted admission to five of Toronto's main tourist attractions including CN Tower
  • Ticketmaster: 2 for 1 ticket deals as well as discounts on other events! Again, worth checking out regularly.

  • City Passports offers booklet of discounts and usually sells out quickly, so keep in mind for future visits to the city (Toronto is still to be offered).

Always check these and other sites like them to find a better deal or a discount. It's worth the extra time to save the extra $$!

Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

Sept 2-6, 2015: Cirque is back in Toronto but not in their usual Grande Chapeau. Instead, their show is being held in the Air Canada Centre. There are 2 shows each date: - except for Sept 2-3 where there's only the 7:30 pm show.

Tickets are on sale NOW

"The word Varekai means "wherever" in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai."

Ripleys Aquarium of Canada

The newest addition to Toronto's tourist attractions is open for business! The aquarium finally opened its doors to the public on Oct 16 and already has been experiencing an overwhelming demand for its tickets online. It's open 365 days of the year and the times vary during the week.

picture of the aquarium building

The 135,000 sq. foot (12,500 sq. metre) interactive attraction will showcase more than 16,000 marine animals and over 450 species. Features:

Jelly Fish Exhibit

Planet Jellies

Dangerous Lagoon’s underwater tunnel showcasing Sharks, Green Sea Turtles, and Sawfish

Touch pools with Horseshoe Crabs, Stingrays, and Bamboo Sharks

Rare and unique lobsters, daily live dive shows and more!

It's situated right at the bottom of the CN Tower at 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto. You can purchase your tickets online or at the door. They also offer passes but these aren't available online. Prices are as follows:
Adult: $29.98
Youth (ages 6- 13): $19.98
Child (ages 3-5): $9.98
Senior (+ 65): $19.98
*Kids under 2 yrs: complimentary with adult guardian.

LEGOLAND® - Adult Nights

LEGOLAND® is, of course, a fantastic place to take your kids! But, you gotta know that if you're an adult, you MUST be accompanied by a child otherwise you will NOT be allowed to enter. For this reason, they hold "Adult Nights" - always on a Wednesday. More information

Yonge/Dundas Square

picture of Yonge and Dundas SquareYonge & Dundas Square is a place where you can experience Free live music, Free movies (during the summer), many FREE events. Or you can just hang out in one of the central spots for people to gather as there is outdoor seating available.

Better still, if you're from out of town, need quick access to online info, especially to help you find your way quickly around Toronto, you will appreciate the FREE Wi-Fi offered by Yonge & Dundas Square, compliments of Wireless Toronto. You can also pick up your concert or show tickets from the "TO Tix" booth which is partly covered from the 'elements'.

PATH Information

PDF map of Toronto's underground Pathway through the downtown coreI am keeping this information on the front page as I believe it's definitely worth checking out, especially when weather's not so good. Now in the Guiness World Record book, this underground heaven is busy throughout the year.

During the summer, using the PATH is a great way to keep cool whilst checking out the numerous stores hidden under the downtown core of Toronto and during the winter, you stay warm and dry. And if you're in the downtown core (financial district at King/Bay area) and it appears to be kinda quiet on the streets during the week, just head underground and you'll find everyone there.

Remember, if you feel lost (and it's so easy to do on the PATH! - just ask, hopefully you'll ask a local!!