toronto summer events

10 things to do in Toronto before the summer is over

It might feel like summer just hit full steam after a wet and rocky start with unpredictable weather and postponed events, but we've still got time. The final weeks of summer are an excuse to get outside and take in not only every free outdoor movie possible but street fests, concerts, dance parties and, of course, the CNE.

Here are my picks for the top things to do before summer is over. 

See a concert by the water

John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Lauryn Hill, and Nas all help close out another year of outdoor concerts by the lake. Hit boy Bryson Tiller shuts things down once and for all in September at Echo Beach. 

See, ride and eat everything at the CNE

The Ex is the unofficial signal that summer has run its course for another year. But don't let that tragic news get you down when you have butter tart beer to drink.  The CNE is open every day starting August 18 from 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends until midnight every night. 

Take your shorts and tank top to a street festival

Bloorcourt Street Fest, the final Pedestrian Sunday of the summer (don't worry, there's still one left in October), Buskerfest and the ever-popular and yummy Roncesvalles Polish festival all take over major thoroughfares before the season is up.  

Have a big lakeside BBQ at Ontario Place

The lakeside paradise finally reopened this summer for festivals and events, and even got a brand new adjacent park. Ontario Place gives one final salute to summer with a giant grilling party called Beers, BBQ & Bourbon. Expect over 20 vendors, country music, and axe throwing.

Eat everything at an outdoor food festival

So many food festivals, so little time! Make sure to spend some time outside sampling the best from the new Halo Halo Festival, Vegan Food and Drink Fest, the Leslieville Beer FestRib Fest and the Spicy Food Fest down by the water. 

Look up to the sky at a solar eclipse party

OK, so the solar eclipse will be best seen down south of the border, but amazing things will still happen in the sky here in Toronto on August 21. There's also a solar viewing party at a brewery, in Trinity Bellwoods, and at the CNE

Go celebrity spotting at TIFF

The TIFF movie lineup is pretty great and guarantees dozens of huge celebrities in town, wining and dinning somewhere downtown. In addition to actually watching flicks, there's also a big street festival on King St.

Soak up the local arts scene

Fall is the start of a whole new art season in the city, but the end of summer sees our arts scene bursting with unique events as well. The annual Art Spin bike-led art tours event starts at the Port Lands this year, Project Gallery has moved from Queen East to a much larger home at Dundas and Carlaw, and there's an art crawl in Liberty Village.

Have a dance party on the Island

Electric Island has been relocated all summer thanks to the flooded Island, but promoters promise the final long-weekend edition of the two-day open-air dance festival is happening at Hanlan's. There will be lights, sounds and food trucks to enjoy alongside The Black Madonna and Claude Von Stroke. 

Watch a play in a park

In case you've never hiked into the woods of High Park to watch a re-invented version of a Shakespeare play, this summer is the time to do it. Two young directors have shaken up the traditional theatre experience and you can catch it until September 3. Withrow Park is also presenting A Mid Summer Night's Dream until September 3. 

Lead photo by

Kevin Morris


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