The top 5 spring street festivals in Toronto for 2014
Spring street festivals in Toronto might not be quite as common as those held in summer, but there's still plenty of roadside action in May and June. Highlighted by designer dogs, Italian eats, and the arrival of World Pride, our spring festival offerings show off the city's cultural diversity and our absolute love of eating food outdoors on sticks. I've left Pedestrian Sundays off this list because it's a recurring event, but the first one runs at the end of May, so it's certainly worth checking out if you want to soak up street culture at its best.
Here are five street festivals to have on your radar this spring.
Toronto's Woofstock, North America's largest outdoor festival for dogs, is switching up locations for 2014. Previously held in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, our four-legged friends will have a little more freedom to roam this year at Woodbine Park. The festival is part doggie socializing extravaganza, part expo for fancy pooch swag and accessories, and part meet and great for Toronto pet owners. Think designer dogs, luxury products (like dog condos and mansions -- not kidding), handbag sized animals in costume, free swag, and pugs, pugs, pugs. May 24-25.
Dundas West Fest
Returning for its second year, Dundas West Fest will close down the eponymous street between Lansdowne to Ossington on Saturday June 7th. While this year's vendor list has yet to be released, you can expect lots of vintage offerings, street eats, and a legitimate community vibe that you could argue certain bigger festivals are lacking. Here the corporate presence is kept in check and engagement from local businesses is very high. Check the festival's Facebook page for updates about this year's event.
The 18th annual Annex Fest will close down Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst on June 8 for a variety of performances and street vendors. As was the case last year, live music will take place on the Tranzac stage near Bloor and Brunswick, there will be over 100 craft vendors, and busking performances courtesy of Toronto Fringe.
Taste of Little Italy
Likely to be one of the busiest street festivals this spring -- and certainly the most food-focused -- Taste of Little Italy enters its 15th year with over 45 local restaurants offering up food and drink. It certainly won't all be Italian, but at least there won't be any shortage of eats. College will be closed from Bathurst to Shaw, and DJs and other musical performances are planned to keep you moving while stuffing your face. June 14-16.
Construction along Queens Quay might put a bit of damper on the 2014 Waterfront Festival, which stretches along the lake from Spadina to Sherbourne. On tap for this year are the North American Flyboard Championships (kinda like dudes with jet packs in the water), some crazy canines performing jumps, and a stage at Sugar Beach for live music. Bring sunscreen, and be prepared to be joined by lots and lots of kids (I hear sunstroke slows them down). June 20-22.
World Pride 2014
Most of World Pride takes place in summer, but the event technically gets underway at the very end of spring, so I'd be remiss not to include it on this list. The Opening Ceremony takes place on June 20 at Nathan Phillips Square and will feature Melissa Etheridge. You can expect city hall to be packed for this one. While all ages are welcome to attend, there will be booze on offer for those looking to get the party started.
Photo by Jesse Milns