Summer street festivals in Toronto 2013
Summer Street festivals in Toronto offer some of the best opportunities to soak up different cultures from around the world. Our various street festivities run from June to early September and include everything from Pride week to Woofstock to African, Caribbean and Latin American cultural celebrations, among a vast array of others.
Most promising new festival
Dundas West Fest
This Saturday, June 8, Dundas West Fest will shut down Dundas between Roxton and Lansdowne. There will be tons of sidewalk shopping, with vintage picks on sale from Penny Arcade Vintage, Chosen Vintage, Philistine, and more. (There will also, of course, be lots of food, drink and entertainment). Happy treasure hunting!
Pride is definitely one of Toronto's best-known festivals, to the point that we're actually hosting World Pride in 2014. This year's festival, which always includes tons of music, dancing, drag shows, nudity and other proud displays of sexuality, will take place from June 21 to 30. The 33rd annual Pride parade will be on June 30.
Best for dancing
Salsa on St. Clair
Salsa on St. Clair is an exciting, colourful festival that will take over the stretch of St. Clair between Bathurst and Winona on July 13 and 14. There's dancing in the streets, great music, spicy food, and drinks aplenty. Torontonians of all ages come out to this street party, including families with small children, teens, and elderly folk with young spirits. Warning: parking is a nightmare every year. Leave the car at home and have a few wobbly pops instead.
Best for Food
Taste Of Lawrence festival
The Taste of Lawrence is billed as an "International food and cultural festival" and takes over the stretch of Lawrence Ave. E. from Warden to Birchmount on July 5 to 7. This year will feature disco, snacks from around the world, and an attempt to make the world's longest charm bracelet, among other activities.
Most musically inclined
Beaches Jazz Festival Streetfest
This portion of the jazz festival will shut down Queen St. E. between Woodbine and Beach Ave. Check out the link above for a list of about 50 Canadian bands that will flood out into the streets. This part of the festival falls between July 25 and 27, and streets become closed off for pedestrians in the evenings only.
Taste of the Danforth
Taste of the Danforth has been going on for 20 years, and it's one of Toronto's more well-known street festivals. It focuses, of course, on delectable Greek eats. Get your souvlaki, Greek music, and entertain your children, all in one go. Isn't that what everyone wants? This year, the festival will run from August 9 to 11.
Annex Festival on Bloor
This Sunday, June 9, Bloor St. will come alive all the way from Spadina to Bathurst. There will be a main stage set up at Bloor and Brunswick, with a battle of the bands at 1 p.m. and a parade of various entertainers. There will also be craft vendors, and street performances by members of the Fringe Festival.
Does seeing a daschund dressed up like a hotdog amuse you? How about a shitzu in a tutu? If cheese is your thing, so is this festival. Woofstock takes place this weekend, June 8 and 9, in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.
Taste of Little Italy
Taste of Little Italy takes over College St. from Bathurst to Shaw for a weekend every summer. This year, there will be special Italian cocktails on offer at a bunch of the area's restaurants, as well as food specials and artisans and musicians set up in the streets. The festival runs from June 14 to 16.
The Junction Summer Solstice Festival
Get your pagan on with the Junction Summer Solstice Festival on June 22. It's happening along Dundas St. W. from Quebec Ave. to Indian Grove. It's a green-powered event, with fresh food on offer, lots of nods to the DIY lifestyle, a ferris wheel, and the Junction Flea Night Market.
The tall ships are in town from June 20 to 23, and there will be a festival in celebration of that which will take place on Queens Quay from Sherbourne to Spadina. There'll be a parade, theatre, kids games, live music and dance, with an extra charge for tours of the ships.
Festival of South Asia
The Festival of South Asia is a food-focused event that closes down the streets of the Gerrard India Bazaar, along Gerrard from Coxwell to Greenwood. Much of the information for this year's event is still TBA, but the festival will definitely be a good spot to get your fill of Bollywood music and try a variety of South Asian cuisine. This year's festival of South Asia will take place on July 6 and 7.
Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto (RIP, Caribana)
This festival has been going on in the city, under one name or another, for the past 46 years. It's a beautiful expression of Caribbean culture, with gorgeous costumes, lots of dancing and chances to enjoy different cuisine and visual arts. It runs for three weeks, from July 9 to August 4. The main event for many is the parade, which will fall on August 3.
BIG on Bloor festival
BIG on Bloor celebrates the culture of Bloordale, and it will shut down Bloor St. between Dufferin and Lansdowne on July 20 and 21. Billed as a celebration of arts, culture, community and small business, the festival will include a marketplace that takes over the street and feature over 200 vendors selling everything from crafts to art and food.
Taste of the Kingsway Festival
The Taste of the Kingsway festival is the answer to a foodie's wildest dreams. It will feature visits from celebrity chefs, a fresh food market, international cuisines, and "culinary theatre." The events take place from September 6 through 8 along Bloor St. W. between Montgomery Rd. and Prince Edward Dr.
Toronto's most delicious-sounding little village is holding its own festival on September 7 and 8. Parliament St. will close down from Wellesley to Gerrard to accommodate street partiers. The festival includes a robust look at all dishes from around the world made with cabbage. (Jk). In reality, there will be lots of locally made art for sale in the street fair, from oil paintings to jewelry.
Toronto Ukrainian Festival
Billed as "North America's largest Ukrainian festival," this event has been running in Bloor West Village for 17 years. This year's festival will fall on September 13, 14, and 15, and it will include a parade, lots of live music put on by top Ukrainian performers, and exposure to Ukrainian arts and culture.
Roncesvalles Polish Festival
The Roncesvalles Polish Festival is apparently the largest Polish festival in North America. Running on Sept. 14 and 15, the festival offers polka, pierogies, and Polish folklore. If you head to a Polish-themed dinner, though, beware: they can put away the vodka, and you can easily wind up on your ass if you're not careful.
What's your favourite summer street festival in Toronto? Let us know if there's one we've missed!
Photo by BruceK on Flickr
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