food festivals toronto

The top 10 food festivals near Toronto this summer

Food festivals and culinary adventures are a good reason to escape Toronto this summer. These delicious events are just a short drive away from the city and are worthy of a day trip or even just a stop over on the way to cottage country.

Here are my picks for the top food events and festivals near Toronto this summer.

The OK Friday Barn Fair
This summer market runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday at Burl's Creek Event Grounds and is an ideal destination to kick-start the weekend. Find the farmers' market stocked with seasonal produce, ready-to-eat items and goodies from local bakeries and artisans. Live entertainment and VQA wine samplings add to the ambience and the ample green space beckons for a picnic.

The Alton Mill Arts Centre in Caledon, Ontario hosts this two day festival on Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21 from noon to 5 p.m. Tasting passes sell for $35 at the gate and include unlimited food samples and three beverage tickets. The event also includes chef demos, cook-offs and live music.

Taste Real Guelph Wellington Local Food Fest
This food fest takes place on Sunday, June 26 at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per family for the afternoon of food-focused workshops featuring sessions on fermenting, butter making, beekeeping and wild foraging. There will also be a farmers' market, food vendors, craft beer and live entertainment on site.

Havana nights in Waterloo celebrates its 11th year on Thursday, July 7. Festivities include a pork roast, oyster bar and mojitos. Tickets are $80 and include a couple of premium Cuban cigars or $60 for non-smokers.

The Great Canadian Quaff Barrel Festival
WindsorEats hosts this celebration of barrel-aged bevies on Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9. Each session will feature tasting opportunities as well as master classes showcasing whiskey, bourbon, wine, cask beers, tequila and other barrel-aged libations.

Farmer and author Joel Salatin joins raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt on Sunday, July 10 for a celebration of agricultural diversity near Hastings, Ontario. Tickets are $40 at the gate for the festival, whcih includes wild food walks, demos covering topics like composting worms and raising backyard chickens, a craft beer and cider tent, petting zoo, farmers' market and more.

Windsor's Wurst Sausage Fest
Head back to Windsor on Friday, August 5 for this meaty event showcasing all things sausage. Tickets are $25 for an evening of beer, bangers and brats spent in the company of the region's great chefs and sausage makers.

Moonlight Market
The night market in Collingwood takes over the Pine Street parking lot on Saturday September 3, the final long weekend of the summer. Lit by fairy lights and lanterns, the festival is free to attend and features an evening of street food, shopping and live music.

The Heirloom Hurrah
Vicki's Veggies celebrates the Ontario tomato harvest on Labour Day weekend, September 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations at the gate are appreciated for the opportunity to ogle and taste the harvest. Food trucks will be on site to keep folk happy with food and refreshments.

Held at Mississauga Celebration Square, this massive foodtruck rally takes place in conjunction with the SoundBites music festival on Saturday, September 3. Admission is free for the evening event where you can expect to find tons of street food and live performances.

Photo of Awestruck by Jesse Milns

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