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May 24, 2015

Toronto Festival Guide - July 2015

Remember: Please ALWAYS check with website for exact dates, etc. as details may change after the listing is posted here. More festivals will be added once dates are confirmed.

Changes: BIG on Bloor, Chinatown, Toronto Burlesque Festivals have moved to August

Canada Day Festivities

This year Canada Day falls on Wednesday, July 1 which means no long weekend to celebrate but we still get the Wednesday off! .

Canada Day: The Next Generation

Jul 1, 2015

Harbourfront Centre continues its iconic celebrations of the nation’s birthday. This year, they ask through a variety of programming encompassing the variety of our national artistic landscape, what it means to be Canadian – what it has meant in the past, what it means today, and what it will mean going forward.

The Fringe - Toronto's Theatre Festival

Jul 1-12 2015

The festival provides all artists, emerging and established, with the opportunity to produce their play no matter the content, form or style. It also tries to make the event as affordable and accessible as possible for the members of the community.

Taste of Toronto

Jul 2-5, 2015

Fort York will be transformed into a foodie wonderland for 4 days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. 14 of the city's hottest restaurants alongside top chefs like Michael Bonacini, Jonathan Waxman and Carl Heinrich will be dishing up their finest in an alfresco gourmet feast. Top that off with over 70 producers of some of the best food, beverages and premium brands providing a bountiful food market, and you have one of the best culinary festivals of the year!

Taste of Toronto is comprised of 6 half-day sessions that last between 4-5 hours giving guests the time to enjoy their pick of restaurant dishes, browse the artisan stalls and enjoy some of the many attractions including the Taste Theatre, Metro Master Class, the Tasting Room, a Taste VIP Lounge and a Music Stage.


Jul 3-5, 2015: 11am-4pm

Celebrate KidsFest at Centreville. Enjoy a weekend full of games, bouncing castles, clowns, face painting, colouring stations and live entertainment. The only thing you have to pay for is the ferry ride over to the islands.

Please note: Centreville rides and All Day Ride Passes are not included as part of this event.

Taste of Lawrence Festival

Jul 3-5, 2015

Three days of non-stop food and entertainment take over Lawrence Avenue East as 200,000+ people attend this festival. Experience nonstop international talent on two stages. Win fantastic prizes.

Light the Night with the Thrill of the Grill

Jul 4, 2015: 6:30-10:30pm

Seven of the Danforth’s restaurants and food shops (Allen’s, Factory Girl, Globe Bistro, Das Gashaus, Tapas at Embrujo, The Combine Eatery and The Meat Department) are turning up the heat to out sauce, out flavour and out grill each other to claim the title of Toronto’s best rib. There's also Sweet Grilled Corn cooked by the staff from Odette Cancer Centre and Pfizer Oncology.

Celebrity judges (Chef Lynn Crawford and Tommy Smythe) and the public will decide who is this year’s BBQ Master. Proceeds will go towards kidney cancer research at the Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre.

Where: Between Broadview & Jackman Avenues (Danforth Avenue will be closed to traffic)
Admission: $20 - On sale MAY 20 (link)**
Tickets incl. 7 ribs, corn; ESKA water; Samples from SteamWhistle, Gnarly Head Winery and Second Cup
There are also $10 tickets available (incl. grilled corn, ESKA water and Second Cup samples)

Light the Night poster

10:00 pm: Enjoy the celebrations that will be held for the official lighting of the Bloor Viaduct Bridge!

**This event usually sells out long before the date - limited quantity.

Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival

Jul 4-5, 2015

Love to salsa? Well this is the festival for you. The street is transformed into a showcase of Latin Life where live music, dance lessons, fiery food and family fun take over.

The festival is very popular and can get really crowded as the day goes on. Go early - there's still lots to do! Times: Saturday (Noon-11pm) and Sunday (Noon to 9pm).

Tip: Best way to get there - take subway to either St. Clair Station, then take streetcar to St. Clair W. stn & get on #126 bus from there OR
Subway to St. Clair West station and take 126 bus - don't forget to get a "transfer" if using tokens - just in case! Parking will be a headache in the area and could be costly!!


Jul 4-5, 2015

The festival features music, dance, drumming and theatre, with over 35 bands – both local and international, workshops, spoken word artists, and dance groups, there is something for everyone.

The Creative Children's Village provides organized fun and educational activities for youth and in the African marketplace there will be an impressive display of African arts, crafts and traditional dishes.

With the Pan American games this summer, the Pan Am torch relay will make a stop at Afrofest on Sunday July 5, 2015 (details to be finalized).


Jul 5, 2015: 11am-11pm

Youth Day logoYOUTH DAY is a non-profit operated summer festival featuring over 100 live music and dance performances over 12 hours -- mostly by youth 14–24.

Also included will be a Youth Gallery showcasing art and photography, a live Fashion Show, and much more! Yonge St (pedestrianized between Dundas & Shuter) will be lined with a variety of vendors and exhibitors – from food to jewelry to face painting. Headliner performances and celebrity support also add to YOUTH DAY’s attraction.

Beaches International Jazz Festival

Jul 10-26, 2015: Noon-10pm

A massive 3-week celebration of music with over 10 stages, a StreetFest and approximately 1 million in attendance. Features include a dynamic musical roster, exciting activities and an enticing line-up of gourmet food trucks. The festival will showcase the sensational musical talents of both established and emerging artists, from jazz, blues, Latin, Swing, Global, World Beat, Big Band, Dixieland, Afro-Cuban, Funk, R&B, Ska to Soul and more.

Featured events include musical performances at Woodbine Park, StreetFest, Taste of Jazz, Pan AM Celebration, Beaches Tune Up Jazz Run and The Farmers Market Jazz Series.

TD IRIE Music Festival

Jul 11-12, 2015

The TD IRIE Music Festival is a multi-day festival that takes place over 2 weekends at 2 different venues:

  • Jul 11-12: Celebration Square, Mississauga (near Square One)
  • Aug 1-2: Fort York, Toronto (Change of venue)

Join the celebration of music from Reggae to Salsa, Soul to African; dance from the African Diaspora presented in association with dance Immersion, spoken word, visual arts exhibition, delicious tropical food & drinks and more.

Toronto Food Festival

July 12, 2015: 1:00-6:00 pm

TOFoodFest LogoSince 2012, the TO Food Fest has been bringing together top foodie-reviewed restaurants and local hidden gems into one exciting event.

Previous events have featured the best burgers, oysters, shortbread cookies and milk tea in the GTA, and many more! Established and aspiring chefs can be found at the TO Food Fest, giving the local community a taste of unique and delicious cuisine.

It's FREE ADMISSION, but it is recommended to do $2 donation (or a non-perishable food item) for Second Harvest

Festival of India

Jul 18-19, 2015

Annual Festival of India (also known as Ratha-Yatra). This unique festival launches with a dynamic, high-energy parade down world-famous Yonge Street (beginning at Bloor and continuing south to Queens Quay). The celebrations then shift over to Centre Island for two days of festivities. 40,000+ people expected.

The festival is open to the public and is FREE for everyone.

Website  ||  FREE (except for ferry across to island)

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto (Formerly, CARIBANA)

Jul 18-Aug 2, 2015

The Caribbean Carnival has its Official Launch on July 7 at David Pecaut Sq (Pan Am Games activities will be in Nathan Phillips) but many of the main attractions don't happen until mid-July and Toronto Caribana's biggest attraction is the Parade (Aug 1). Over 10,000 masquerades participate in the parade, strutting and dancing all along the 3.6 km route in fantastic costumes, to the vibrant Caribbean beats of the mas bands. There is an Admission for Exhibition Place viewing but usually you can watch the parade along other parts of the Lakeshore Boulevard for free.

Dates to Remember:

  • Jul 18 (11am-8pm): Junior Carnival -- Neilson Park [Free]
  • Jul 24: Caribbean Carnival Gala -- Liberty Grand
  • Jul 30 (5pm-2am): King & Queen Competition and Show -- Lamport Stadium
  • Aug 1 (9:30am-8pm): Grand Parade -- Exhibition Plc/Lakeshore Blvd
  • Aug 2 (10am-8pm): Carnival Island -- Olympic Island

Brazilian Summer Festival (BRAZILFEST Toronto)

Jul 19, 2015: Noon-10pm

Canada's Largest Brazilian Cultural Event. All sounds and vibes of this beautiful culture will be showcased with its food, music, dance, crafts and workshops. The Festival stage will be filled with musicians, dancers and singers that will take you on an exotic trip exploring Brazilian music and celebration without having to leave the heart of Toronto.

Oakville Children's Festival

Jul 19, 2015: 10am - 4pm (gates open 9:30am)

Oakville’s beautiful lakeside park will be transformed into an arts and culture playground for kids of all ages with free live performances and fun events to engage young imaginations and foster creativity. Schedule to be finalized.

The Collingwood Elvis Festival

Jul 23-26, 2015

Fans of Elvis just adore this festival. Although it's not in Toronto, it's certainly worth mentioning as it attracts a huge crowd/following. There are just too many events happening so I have provided the schedule if you're interested.

Toronto Beer Festival

Jul 24-26, 2015

Sample beers from around the world as well as a number of local brands from the Ontario Craft Brewers. There's also music entertainment with well-known headliners.

Tickets ($39.50) for Toronto’s Festival of Beer sell out in advance every year (especially Saturday's) and can be purchased online. This is a 19+ event.

Leave the car at home. It's easy to get to via TTC [eg Bathurst Stn - streetcar] - allowing you to enjoy the evening with your friends.

Pan American Food Festival

Jul 30-Aug 3, 2015

The Pan American Food Festival celebrates the best food and great cultural diversity of the 41 countries of North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It showcases leading restaurants, food producers, chefs and the variety of national and regional cuisines of the Western Hemisphere.

Pan American Food Fest logo

Island Soul

Jul 31-Aug 3, 2015

Island Soul returns this year, casting a wider net to multitude of islands that make up the rich tapes try that is the Caribbean.

Island Soul will take the audience on an odyssey across generations, tracing the roots of modern day steelpan music, putting a spotlight on the diversity of the French Caribbean celebrating Bob Marley’s immense global impact.

Scarborough Rib Fest

Jul 31-Aug 3, 2015

Organized by the Rotary Club of Scarborough, Scarborough Ribfest is an annual community favourite over the August long weekend. It's East Toronto's largest community event. There are Free shuttle buses for seniors and handicapped at the parking lot. Leave your pets at home.

Where: Thomson Memorial Park (Corner of Lawrence Ave. & Brimley Rd.)
Times: Friday-Sunday (11am-11pm) || Monday (11am-8pm; Entertainment ends: 10pm)
Parking: FREE. Highlights:

  • Enjoy delicious ribs, hot dogs, french fries, corn on the cob and more...
  • Midway rides
  • Skill testing games
  • Karaoke competition everyday
  • Creative designs by crafters and vendors
  • All day beer garden and much more!