spring events toronto

The top 15 events in Toronto for spring 2015

The top events in Toronto this spring have a lot of competition, from the Naked Bike Ride, the Feminist Porn Awards, and Inside Out to controversial Record Store Day to the start of street festival mania. Yet there's no denying that the festivals or even one day events below are the city's most anticipated this season.

Here are my picks for the top events in Toronto this spring.

Made with Love (March 30, Liberty Grand)
March is a month of delicious battles: a few weeks after the vegan bake-off, watch the city's bartenders showdown at Made with Love's cocktail championship. No matter how you feel about the word "mixologist," there's no denying these barkeeps know their dainty craft. Check out the participating bartenders here and peek at our photo gallery from last year here.

Images (April 9-18)
Toronto's Images Festival may be the world's most wide reaching film and media event. Much closer a bedfellow to art than a mega film fests like TIFF, the experimental finds a home here with feature and short screenings joined by installations, performance, art exhibits, and more.

Love Art Fair (April 17-19, Direct Energy Centre)
Last year's inaugural Love Art Fair, Toronto's version of the Affordable Art Fair, was an impressive showing, although it appeared a little dwarfed sectioned into a corner of the massive Direct Energy Centre. This year, see a huge array of galleries showing contemporary and commercial art in a set up that's better curated than the Artist Project and more relaxed settling than Art Toronto.

FAT (April 21-25, Daniels Spectrum)
Toronto Arts & Fashion Week is the badass, studded-leather jacket wearing French bulldog to Toronto Fashion Week's coiffed poodle. FAT's catwalks and photos ops aim to walk the cutting edge of fashion and art.

Hot Docs (April 23 - May 3)
North America's largest documentary film festival is back, and they've just announced their full schedule. From the political to the eclectic, find this year's program online here.

Contact Festival (May)
Beginning on May 1 and covering more or less the whole month of May (depending on the gallery), Contact Photography Festival is the largest photography in the world, which is pretty impressive even if only a fraction of it will interest most. Galleries great and small participate, with the opening at MOCCA as a highlight every year.

CMW (May 1-10)
Canadian Music Week is back with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joey Bada$$, Death Cab For Cutie, Alvvays, Billy Talent, Metz and hundreds more playing in venues across the city. The main thing is the music industry conference, but there are film and comedy components, and the Indies Music Awards. MF

Kpop Convention (May 2, Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
Kpop fans already have May 2nd burned into their calendars. The inaugural one day convention of all things Korean pop music will be headlined by boy band NU'EST, with panels, games and activities, dance workshops, merchandise vendors, fanclub booths, celebrity meet-and-greets, and more. MF

Anime North (May 22)
The vendors, speakers, performers, and stars are the glitz of Anime North (shout out especially to all the local talents) but it's truly the geeky fans and the devoted cosplayers who make it one of the year's best spectacles and fan gatherings.

Doors Open (May 23)
You know the deal: Toronto's historical buildings will open the doors to the public. Ready your neck for looking up, and don't forget to bring a DSLR or you'll feel left out.

Bestival (June 12, Toronto Islands)
After 12 years of positive vibes in the UK, the first overseas Bestival will land at Toronto Islands this spring. Florence + The Machine, Nas, Flume, Caribou, SBTRKT, and more will play while you play in the Bollywood Temple, Inflatable Church, and so much more. Field Trip is also the week before. MF

Ontario Craft Beer Week (June 12-21)
Ontario Craft Beer Week's sixth annual tribute to the great beers that this province has to offer will feature a bevvy of events across Ontario featuring beers made by the OCB's member breweries. There's way too much to do, so watch out for our guide to Toronto events.

NXNE (June 17-21)
NXNE are back doin' what they do - bringing the Pitchfork blog roll to a wide (but decreased in 2015) range of Toronto stages from Yonge-Dundas Square to the Rivoli. It remains to be seen if this year's changes to the NXNE administration will lead to changes in the way they interact with the local scene, but at least there's no radius clause.

Luminato (June 19-28)
Luminato's art fest likes to do things differently. You'll see names like David Byrne, Nelly Furtado, and St. Vincent performing at a concert involving "sophisticated acrobatic routines" at the ACC, or Apocalypsis: a show involving 1000 performers at Sony Centre. These are just two of the fancy events on Luminato's program - best be ready. MF

Pride (June 19-28)
While this year won't have the international draw of World Pride, there was a reason that Toronto was last year's host: events around the city from dance parties to marches are among the world's most inspiring. Pride will end dreary old spring and kick off summer with a blast of colour. Check out our slideshow from World Pride here.

Contributions by Matt Forsythe, Ben Johnson. Photo of Made with Love by Jesse Milns.

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