events toronto

The top 15 events in Toronto for spring 2016

The top events in Toronto for spring will have you embracing the warm weather with parties, concerts and festivals. Whether you want to spend the season with high-brow arts-lovers or indie concert-goers, there's something for you. It's time to hit the defrost button on your social life and leave the comfort of your apartment, so get to planning.

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

Fashion Art Toronto (April 12-16)
Toronto Fashion Week may have wrapped, but that doesn't mean you should trade in your more eccentric duds for a Roots' sweat suit anytime soon. Fashion Art Toronto will allow you to put your gear to good use when it hits the city on April 12. Expect an impressive roster of fashion-focused runway shows, photography, art exhibits, installations, performances and films.

Images Festival (April 14-23)
Toronto's annual experimental film and media event, the Images Festival, returns to Toronto on April 14. As per usual, the fest will boast a bevy of short screenings, installations, performances, art exhibits and more at local galleries.

Hot Docs (April 28-May 8)
If you reserve your Netflix account for David Attenborough-narrated flicks and Cowspiracy-like educational movies, Hot Docs is the place to be this Spring. The International Documentary Festival is the largest of its kind in North America and shows over 200 films from Canada and around the world to massive audiences. With so many choices, I suggest putting together a game plan ASAP.

Contact Photography Festival (May 1-31)
Contact Photography Festival stretches across the entire month of May, bringing out the best of the best in international photography. This year there will be 20 free public installations and more than 200 events, all featuring works from Canadian and international artists and photographers. If you're a budding Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams, you'll want to check it out.

Canadian Music Week (May 2-8)
This recurring music fest is rolling into town at the beginning of May. Top-notch homegrown and international artists, like Eagles of Death Metal, Dilly Dally and Tegan and Sara, will be hitting stages all over the city - from Lee's Palace to Massey Hall. If you're in the market for more than music, there will be comedy shows and movies on all week, as well.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 14-15)
If you spend your down time rifling through the graphic novel selections at Silver Snail and The Beguiling, you should probably hit up TCAF. The two-day exhibition brings out hundreds of comic creators and fanatics from around the world, meaning you'll be in some pretty good company. Look forward to readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations, and more.

Electric Island (May 23)
The first Electric Island concert of the year will be taking over Hanlan's Point at the end of May. Full lineups for this years' shows are still TBA, but you can expect plenty of EDM, dancing and maybe a few contraband substances. If you can't make it out in May, don't get too stressed, you'll only have to wait until July 1 for a follow-up bash.

Inside Out Festival (May 26-June 5)
Inside Out, not to be confused with the Oscar-winning animated picture of the same name, showcases flicks made by and focusing on the LGBTQ community. Over 11 days you'll be able to catch screenings, artist talks and discussions and attend some pretty killer parties.

Anime North (May 27-29)
If you laboured over your cosplay costume for ComiCon, good news, you can put it to good use this May. At the end of the month Anime North is coming to the Toronto Congress Centre and International Plaza Hotel for its annual convention. Expect to find plenty of vendors, speakers and performers dressed in their most creative costumes.

Doors Open (May 27-29)
Ever wondered what lies behind the doors of Toronto's most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially important buildings? Well at the end of May you can find out when Doors Open gives everybody a free pass to snoop around inside of them. Remember to charge your iPhone, folks, these places are very Instagrammable.

Field Trip (June 4-5)
Fort York Garrison Common will be taken over by indie music lovers at the beginning of June for this years' instalment of Field Trip. The lineup is pretty impressive, featuring big names like The National, Robyn, Santigold and July Talk (plus a bevy of others).

Luminato (June 10-19)
The 10th edition of Luminato kicks off mid-June and will bring a smorgasbord of art and performance events to the city. Expect plenty of food vendors, dance performances, concerts, and much more. Unsound Toronto will also return as part of the fest, if you missed the action at the Hearn last year.

Bestival (June 11-12)
UK-transplant Bestival is coming back to the city with a new and impressive lineup and location. Aside from the kickass roster of performers, there'll be a costume party and parade, circus troupes, a Day of the Dead cocktail bus and plenty more to keep you entertained.

Ontario Craft Beer Week (June 10-19)
This spring has no shortage of events for booze-loving Torontonians: there's the Session Craft Beer Festival, SOBDL's All Ladies Craft Beer Festival and the Wine and Spirits Festival (just to name a few). Ontario Craft Beer Week, however, takes the cake, offering countless craft brews at venues across the city over a ten-day stint.

NXNE (June 15-19)
NXNE will return on June 15 with its usual grab bag of homegrown talent (performers TBA) and arts-related programming. The festival is shaking things up this year by adding a weekend-long outdoor music festival in the Port Lands, which is an untapped venue for the event. Fingers crossed we don't have any Action Bronson drama like last year.

What did I miss? Add more spring events to comments.

Photo of Unsound by Jesse Milns.

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