street festivals toronto

The top 20 street festivals in Toronto for summer 2016

The top street festivals in Toronto this summer are like taking a trip around the world in one season. You'll experience food, dance, people, vendors and music from the cultures that make this city so diverse. It's legit crazy how many amazing different populations celebrate with giant street festivals in Toronto, and this guide will help you attend your favourites.

Taste of Asia (June 25 - 26)
This one is a biggie. On Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to midnight and on Sunday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., this celebration of multiculturalism will feature food vendors, a midway and non-stop performances.

Circus so Gay (June 25-26)
The weekend before Pride truly, madly, deeply gets underway, The Village BIA closes down the street for two days of circus-themed fun. There'll be a stage with performances, games, activities, extended patios for most of the bars along the street, and some magical unicorns to take your photo with just north of Wellesley.

PS Kensington (June 26, July 31, August 28, September 25, October 30)
Everyone's favourite lazy, last-sunday-of-the-month afternoon activity runs into October. Pedestrian Sunday's include art shows, performance, so much food and drink and the most amazing people watching the city has to offer.

Pride Toronto Street Fair (July 1-3)
Now that Pride Month is in its fullest swing, Church Street almost completely closes from for three days of extended patios, performances, music, beer gardens and a whole lotta of love. I'm bringing my parents this year for the first time, so please be gentle.

Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 2-26)
The Beaches Jazz Fest is now the biggest it's ever been. Taking over an entire month with street programming, concerts, food, activities and stroller collisions. Check out their official website for all the show details, there are so many.

Taste of St Lawrence (July 8-10)
The Taste of Lawrence is a three-day food and cultural fest in Scarborough. It showcases foods from a number of different cultures. There will also be midway rides and live music, as well as dancing in the streets and fun for kids. Sunscreen people, sun. screen.

Salsa on St Clair (July 9-10)
This mega-street fest is one of the most dance-iest. On-street dance lessons, performances and general romantic behaviour happens here. There will also be Latin food vendors on the street, in case you need an energy boost.

Big on Bloor (July 23-24)
Look forward to two days of shopping and entertainment when BIG on Bloor closes the street off to cars between Lansdowne and Dufferin. The event boasts a lengthy list of vendors, entertainers, and more. Best part? It's open 'till midnight on Saturday! Street party indeed. Full list of fun here.

Caribana Festival (July 28-31)
There are quite literally hundreds of Caribbean inspired events, classes and parties around Caribana fest every year. I've been to the parade three years in a row, and it's always a highlight in my summer street party schedule. So much great food and so many feathers.

Taste of the Danforth (August 5-7)
Taste of the Danforth is one of the city's most popular street festivals. The food is plentiful, with more souvlaki than anyone can reasonably handle. Greek-themed events, such as archery, plate smashing, traditional dancing are all happening amongst the joyful crowds.

Wheels on the Danforth (August 13)
The intersection of Danforth Avenue and Danforth Road shuts down for the ultimate automobile show. Look forward to scoping out classic cars and motorcycles, shopping, and listening to live music. Hot Rods, Rat Rods and Exotics, and then there are also some nice cars parked along the street.

York-Eglinton International Street Fest (August 13-14)
Eglinton Avenue West from Marlee to Dufferin closes for this fest = a celebration expected to draw in 25,000, so prepare yourself for crowds. It will feature a petting zoo, live entertainment, food vendors and loads more. Stay tuned to their official website for programming announcements.

TD Festival of Asia (August 15-16)
A street festival for all your senses. Gerrard Street East between Coxwell and Greenwood will be transformed into Little India. OK, I don't exactly know how you'll touch things, but all your other sense are handled here with this beautiful and delicious street party.

Chinatown Festival (August 20-21)
No official details area available yet, but you know this street fest is packed with good food and random acts of traditional dance and music. There will most definitely be a dragon winding its way through the area, and lion dances at night.

Taste of Manila (August 20-21)
A celebration of Filipino food, culture, entertainment and culture. Here's what it looked like a couple years ago. Key words for this mega-street festival are food and fashion.

Tamil Fest (August 26-28)
Street performances, food vendors, a Tamil Canadian mobile museum and lots of stuff for the kids as well. This one is on Markham Road over three days! According to organizers this will be "the largest Tamil Street Festival outside of the Indian Sub-continent."

Cabbagetown Festival (Sept 7-11)
Stage entertainment, pubs and patio entertainers, and street vendors take over Cabbagetown September 10 - 11. But before there that are arts and crafts sales, the Farm Fall Festival and other celebrations. It's a great big neighbourhood love-in. Check out their official site for specifics.

Taste of the Kingsway (September 9-11)
Each year, on the weekend after Labour Day, the Kingsway comes alive with midway rides, beer and wine gardens, live performance and samples upon samples of local food. Taking place along Bloor St. West, from Prince Edward Drive to Montgomery Road, it features the largest dog show in Etobicoke.

Toronto Ukrainian Festival (September 16-18)
Celebrating their 20th year, Bloor West village gets a full taste of Ukrainian culture, food, dance, performance and history during this street takeover. This one draws about 500,000 visitors, so don't wear white shoes.

Roncesvalles Polish Festival (September 17)
This is the "world's largest celebration of Polish culture in the world." Isn't that crazy? Toronto truly is so cool. Four stages of live music and dance, and of course so many pierogies and giant jelly doughnuts. On Saturday night there's a polka dance under the stars.

Add your favourite summer street specific festivals this summer in the comments below! That is, if I haven't covered it already above.

Photo of Taste of Manila by Hector Vasquez.

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