Toronto Festivals Guide - September 2015

Remember: Please ALWAYS check with website for exact dates, etc. as details may change after the listing is posted here.

Remember: Please ALWAYS check with website for exact dates, etc. as details may change after the listing is posted here.

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)

Aug 21-Sept 7, 2015

The Canadian National Exhibition (aka The Ex) is an 'end of summer' celebration for Torontonians but not for the kids (cos it's a sign that 'going back to school' is near!). Once you've paid the entrance fee, all entertainment is FREE. But in order to go on the amusement rides, you must either purchase single ride tickets or the RAD pass (unlimited but does not include admission when bought on-site).

The Midway

The following are some dates you should keep in mind:

  • Buy your tickets before Opening Day and SAVE $$ (avail from June 8) - this special ends Aug 20
  • $8 @ the Gate Opening Day Special: Grounds admission is only $8 on Friday, August 21
  • $6 after 5pm: Just pay $6 after 5pm each Mon, Tues, Wed and Thurs (except Labour Day Monday)

Bandshell Concerts

The following are artists performing FREE concerts (with admission) at the CNE.

  • Aug 25: Chubby Checker
  • Aug 26: Rick Springfield
  • Aug 27: Leroy Sibbles
  • Aug 28: Foghat
  • Aug 29: Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts
  • Aug 30: The Last Waltz - A Musical Celebration of THE BAND
  • Aug 31: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • Sept 1: Cody Simpson - YOUTH DAY (TBC)
  • Sept 2: Brett Kissel
  • Sept 3: Tokyo Police Club
  • Sept 4: MKTO
  • Sept 5: Monster Truck
  • Sept 6: Dallas Smith

Special Events

The following are just some of the special events.

  • Toonie Mondays: Kids 13 & under [Aug 24 & 31]
  • Free Till 3: 19 yrs & under [Sept 1: before 3pm]
  • Ribfest [Every day]
  • Food Products Day [Aug 26]
  • Food Truck Frenzy [Aug 28-30]
  • Canadian International Air Show [Sept 5-7]

ArtFest at the Distillery

Sept 4-7, 2015: 11am-6pm

Artfest Toronto, in its 8th year, is emerging as one of Toronto’s favorite summer art shows. Celebrating painting, photography, sculpture, fine craft, live music and more from Canada’s top artists.

Set throughout the cobblestone lanes of the Distillery Historic District in downtown Toronto.

Hot & Spicy Food Festival

Sept 4-7, 2015

This year's festival dips into food and culture rooted in the past and renewed for the future. Enjoy a range of culinary delicacies, as well as hot rhythms and spicy grooves from the past and present.

Hot and Spicy image

Special appearance by Dragon Den's celebrity chef Vikram Vij

Hispanic Fiesta

Sept 4-7, 2015

Experience the sounds, tempting treats and colourful culture that the Hispanic heritage is famous for. Hispanic Fiesta will feature the best known local & International Hispanic performers covering 20 different countries, that speak Spanish. More than 300 local, national and international performers will be taking part in the festival.

Vietnamese Lantern Festival

Sept 5, 2015: 2-8 pm

The Vietnamese Lantern Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival is a day for all families and local communities in Toronto to gather and celebrate the end of summer by eating moon cakes and exploring what Vietnamese culture has to offer. The festival offers an opportunity for families and youth to learn more about Asian culture.

This family-friendly event offers activities from children's games to displaying local talents, a lantern competition (the pride of the festival because it shows the dedication of craftspeople in making their unique lantern). The Ao Dai (traditional Vietnamese dress) competition is a fashion show for everyone of all ages to show off their unique dressing style. The festival will end with an exciting lion dance and lantern parade to welcome autumn.

Open Streets TO

Sept 6, 2015: 9am-1pm

Toronto opens up its streets to become 'paved parks' to pedestrians. The route for Open Streets TO will be Bloor St between Christie and Parliament Streets as well as Yonge Street from Bloor St to Queen St. In addition to these open streets, parks and public spaces along the route, or "hubs", will be programmed with activities. The Hubs are:

  • Matt Cohen Parkette
  • The Plazas in front of Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Holt Renfrew storefront
  • Bloor & Sherbourne
  • St. Jamestown
  • Yonge and Dundas Square

Don't worry drivers, crossing points will be included at numerous major intersections, where cars will be permitted to pass through as normal - so all is not lost!

Vegetarian Food Festival

Sept 11-13, 2015

Mouth-watering burgers. Thick and juicy hot dogs. Fluffy cupcakes smothered in frosting. All meat and dairy free!

Veg Food Fest is not your average vegetarian food festival – it’s the biggest one in North America, celebrating over 30 years of delicious food that you never thought could be vegetarian. Enjoy tasty dishes from over 130 vendors, local restaurants, and bakeries, plus free presentations, events, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of veg-friendly products for sale. It will change your mouth’s mind.

Taste of the Kingsway Festival

Sept 11-13, 2015

This Annual Fall Festival that takes place along Bloor Street West (between Prince Edward Dr and Montgomery Rd.), is a food and entertainment extravaganza for the whole family.

There will be 2 main stages at either ends of Bloor Street that will feature live entertainment from well known artists, performers and musicians. TTC: Royal York Station

Times: Fri: 6pm-10pm; Sat: 11am-10pm;
Sun: 11am-6pm

Cabbagetown Festival of the Arts

Sept 12-13, 2015

Cabbagetown logo The festival launches on Saturday at 11:00 am with a special Opening Ceremony at 1:30 pm (outside TD bank on the northeast corner of Parliament Street and Carlton Street) closing at 11:00 pm. The fun continues Sunday at 11:00 am until 8:00 pm.

You'll enjoy delicious food prepared by local restaurants, music by Toronto’s finest talent, a special active Children’s Fun Zone, a FREE morning of pancakes, one-of-a-kind artisan vendors and buskers such as Silver Elvis and Mighty Mike. Returning this year is:

  • 36th Annual Blair’s Run: Sunday, Sept 13 (8am–10am)
  • NEW this year: Classic Car Show and a Doggy Photo Booth!

MUSIC: With over 30 bands performing at 13 participating venues along Parliament Street, the weekend promises to bring an eclectic mix of artists sure to satisfy everyone’s musical tastes. Featured artists include:

  • United Soul
  • Samba Squad
  • Imbaynakunas
  • Project Phoenix
  • Johannes Linstead
  • Toronto All Star Big Band
  • Snooky Tymes
  • Nightfly and more to follow!:

Note: Best to take TTC (either go to Wellesley Stn and catch the bus to CastleFrank and get off at Parliament OR go to Castlefrank Stn and take the Parliament or Wellesley bus - you can even walk from that station). You can also take College streetcar to Parliament and it'll drop you right there. Parking will be a nightmare!

Toronto Wing Festival

Sept 12-13, 2015

Eating great wings is only half the fun of the Toronto Wing Festival. All net proceeds go to support the charitable activities of the RCTS – past charities have been Streets to Homes Toronto, STEP Cambodia, Fort York Food Bank and the Rotary foundation.

So mark the date, loosen your belt, and get ready to help crown the next King of Wings!

10th Annual Beach Celtic Festival

Sept 12-13, 2015: 9am-7pm (both days)

Details still TBA.

Treehouse Big Day Out 2

Sept 12-13, 2015

Treehouse Big Day Out 2 is an exciting festival experience for kids and families. Hosted by Treehouse, Canada's #1 preschool channel, the festival will feature the hottest names in preschool entertainment including the world's biggest preschool rock band, The Wiggles, as well as Treehouse fan-favourites.

Stage acts include Splash N’ Boots, The Wiggles. There are 2 times to choose from: 9:00 am & 2:30 pm both days. Children under 12 months of age are FREE.

Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Fair

Sept 13, 2015: Noon-7:00 pm

The Annual Bloorcourt Arts and Crafts Fair will be presenting a free, family-oriented event that includes:

  • A kids zone
  • Musical entertainment
  • Arts and crafts vendors
  • Sidewalk sales, and more!

Bloor Street West will be closed between Montrose Ave and Dufferin St for the day's festivities on Sunday (rain or shine).

Toronto Bicycle Music Festival

Sept 13, 2015

Toronto's annual pedal-powered mobile music festival usually takes place at 3 parks across the city with mobile performances leading group rides between parks

Allen Gardens (Carlton & Sherbourne)
Group Ride to City Hall
BIKESTOCK at Nathan Phillips Sq
Ride to Christie Pits Park

NOTE: These have to be confirmed as details are still TBA.

Toronto FOOD & WINE Festival

September 18-20, 2015

The Toronto FOOD & WINE Festival will showcase the expertise and creativity of the best culinary talents in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada. Highlights of the festival include:

  • Grand Tasting Pavilion
  • Cooking classes
  • Tutored tastings, and
  • Special events that bring the world of food, wine, and spirits to local palates.

The delectable 3-day festival will feature appearances by fan-favourite international celebrity chefs such as Gail Simmons, Curtis Stone, Tyler Florence, Daniel Boulud, Chuck Hughes and more!

Ukrainian Festival

Sept 18-20, 2015

Discover Ukrainian culture in Canada and share the Ukrainian spirit at North America’s Largest Ukrainian Street Festival. There's non-stop entertainment with Ukrainian performers from the Greater Toronto Area, Canada, the USA and Ukraine which will include dancers, vocalists and musicians.

Steam Whistle's Annual Oktoberfest

Sept 19, 2015: 2-11pm

Steamwhistle Oktoberfest steins Enjoy authentic German food, entertainment by Oktoberfest King George Kash and traditional German dancers. Good Beer Folks will be tapping the first keg to signal the beginning of the festivities.

Tickets are $30 at the door ($25 online) and include a souvenir stein to take home.
Tickets go on sale Sept 1st at 10am EST.

Toronto East Bike Festival

Sept 19, 2015

This festival is a celebration of all things biking, with bicycle fun and activities for all ages which includes Bike Rodeo, Live Music, Kids Zone, Demonstration Cycling Sports, Marketplace and Free Bike Tune-ups!

Roncesvalles Polish Festival

Sept 19-20, 2015

The Roncesvalles Polish Festival is Canada’s largest celebration of Polish culture. Enjoy great Polish, local and international music, folklore and entertainment from near and far on multiple stages, including the ever-popular “Dance Under The Stars” polka party on Saturday night, and of course, lots of traditional Polish fare, including pierogi, kielbasa, bigos, cabbage rolls, and much more!

Toronto Garlic Festival

Sept 20, 2015: 9am-5pm

Garlic Festival LogoCelebrate the Ontario garlic harvest. Meet Ontario garlic farmers and taste garlic-inspired dishes by local chefs. Pair meals with craft beer or wine and engage in talks, demos, film screening and contests. Chefs’ dishes, fresh garlic and vendor products are for sale.

Admission ($5) includes free access to event talks, activities, presentations, food demos and film screening.

On Common Ground Festival

Sept 21-22, 2015: 11am-6pm

On Common Ground Festival is a 2-day multidisciplinary arts and cultural festival that will animate the grounds and buildings of Fort York with an entertaining and engaging mix of culturally diverse music, dance, storytelling, digital theatre, a sound installation, visual arts, crafts, local food, and family friendly activities.

Canada's Walk of Fame Festival

Sept 24-Oct 1, 2015

Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival features some of the biggest names in Canadian entertainment including Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy (Sept 25) and The Tea Party (Sept 26). These two concerts are ticketed (available through and held at Massey Hall.

This year there's an all-new music showcase at The Horseshoe Tavern (Sept 28) featuring rising stars of the Canadian music scene. Tickets for this are $10 in advance ($15 at the door).

Festival Details

The 3-day Festival lineup has an exciting mix of programming from live music to book readings, dance lessons and performances and lunchtime workouts with Goodlife Fitness. There will also be food trucks, giveaways and nightly films. This is FREE and runs from Tuesday, Sept 29 to Thursday, Oct 1 (Noon-11PM each day) at Yonge & Dundas Square.

The actual Awards Event will be held Saturday, November 7 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts: 3–5:00pm (Red Carpet), 5–7:00pm (Awards Show).

More info

Toronto Cider Festival

Sept 26, 2015: Noon - 10pm

The Toronto Cider Festival will be the event to remember; creating a harvest in the heart of Toronto, allowing you to experience and fall in love with a variety of amazing Ciders from across the country.

poster for the Toronto cider festival

Whether you are a cider lover or just looking to try something new, this is the perfect event for an unforgettable end of summer experience.


Sept 26-27, 2015

WoofstockFor dog lovers! Lots of booths with fun stuff to buy your 'loved one' (doggie). Dogs of all sizes attend this weekend activity. Some in fancy dress. Not your typical festival!! You never know, you could potentially come away with a new family member!

Food Truck Festival

Sep 27, 2015: 1-7:00 pm

A great opportunity to check out just some of the many food trucks that have been hitting the streets not only in Toronto, but in Ontario. Best about this festival is... they're all in one place but it's gonna be for just one day/evening. Some of the participating food trucks:

  • Blue Donkey
  • Buster's Sea Cove
  • ME.N.U
  • Beavertails
  • The Egg Man
  • Bacon Nation
  • Luchador Streatery

You can purchase the tickets now ($10 GA).

Word on the Street Festival

Sept 27, 2015: 11am-6pm

Even with technology takeover in full swing, this book and magazine festival (last year at Queen's Park (behind the Legislative Building)) attracts just as big a crowd as before - yes, there are still those who enjoy reading a 'real' book. Exhibitors offer specials and promotions. Schedule still TBA.