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March 05, 2015

Toronto Festivals & Events


Festivals Toronto website is in the midst of getting a facelift and hopes to be live early 2015 with a new look.

In the meantime, festivals for the period January-March of this year are listed. Listings for the remainder of the year will be found on the new version of the site.

Listings will also be mentioned on our Facebook page and via Twitter.

CBCMusic.ca Festival

The CBC music festival is returning to Toronto on Saturday, May 23, 2015: 3:30 pm and if you have young children, you can take them along as there will be ctivities and entertainment to keep them busy (incl. Kids' CBC crafts & Mamma Yamma).

It's going to be held at Echo Beach (909 Lake Shore Blvd. W. - Rain or Shine!) and the tickets are quite reasonably priced - GA$39.50 (+fees) with kids 12 and under, getting in FREE!

It's going to be an all-Canadian lineup including: Patrick Watson, Bahamas, Coeur de pirate, Jenn Grant, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Tanika Charles, Lindi Ortega, the Strumbellas, Fred Penner.

Tickets are available NOW via Ticketmaster but if you'd like to save on the fees, you can also pick them up at Rotate This (801 Queen St. W., Toronto - map) and Soundscapes (572 College St, Toronto - map).

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."

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).

Wintertime in Toronto

REMEMBER to always call ahead to make sure the rink is open, in case weather dictates otherwise! The following are the more popular rinks.


The Harbourfront [TTC: Union Stn/streetcar or Spadina Stn/streetcar] turns their 'pond' into a large outdoor skating rink {Natrel™ Rink} during the winter months. IT'S NOW OPEN FOR THE SEASON, but if the temps warm up, you should phone ahead just in case.

It's a beautiful place to skate as you are right alongside the Lake.

Outdoor ice skating at Harbourfront

Times: Sun–Wed: 10am – 10pm || Thurs–Sat: 10am – 11pm. Facilities include:

  • Indoor change room with lockers (take change with you)
  • Washrooms
  • Skate sharpening
  • Skating Lessons [Nov 18 – Mar 8]
  • It's FREE to use if you have your own skates. Rentals are available
  • DJ Saturday Nights: 8 - 11pm [Dec 13 - Feb 21, 2015]** very popular **
  • Hot chocolate is available too!!

Remember to wrap up warm as it can get rather chilly down there beside the lake if you're not skating.

Nathan Phillips Square

This is also a very popular (artificial) skating rink that is in the centre of downtown Toronto. The facilities here have been upgraded when they revitalized the Square. The rink is scheduled to open November 22 (weather permitting)

Outdoor ice skating at Harbourfront

It doesn't really close as such but the lights do go out [10pm], so you will be skating in semi-dark - which I've seen many do! Facilities include:

  • Change rooms with lockers (take change with you)
  • Washrooms
  • It's FREE to use if you have your own skates. Rentals are available
  • Snack bar
  • Tim Horton's & Starbucks are across the street (Queen St/Bay St)!

Evergreen Brickworks

Small outdoor rink, but definitely worth checking out especially whenever there are other events happening. The opening date is still TBA, but as always mentioned through this article, you should phone ahead (416-596-7670) to make sure it's operational, especially with weather. Facilities include:

  • Washrooms
  • Skate sharpening
  • Learn to Skate [Jan 3 – Feb 25]
  • It's FREE to use if you have your own skates. Rentals are available
  • Helmets are provided for free to skaters under 18 years old
  • Times: Monday–Sunday: 11am–4pm

Skate Rentals are limited with sizes/pairs available. If you have an old pair, you are welcome to drop them off at their library. Yes, like everywhere else, they have set rules about skating on their rink, most of which are common sense.

Other Rinks

There are many outdoor rinks spread throughout the city that are actually run by the city. This website is a great source of information/details as to which rinks are opening, where and when (it's busy, but just read carefully...you'll find what you're looking for!!). Just in case you want something closer to you!

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.

City Passports offers booklet of discounts and usually sells out quickly, so keep in mind for future visits to the city.

City Pass (not to be confused with the City Passports) offers discounted admission to five of Toronto's main tourist attractions including CN Tower. Cost is US$60.89+tax

Fun Pass will get 1 free child's general admission to 19 different Ontario attractions when you purchase an adult or senior admission! Valid June 28-October 31, but the attractions may have different dates of operation.

Ticketmaster's 2 for 1 ticket deals as well as discounts on other events! Again, worth checking out regularly.

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!!