Summer. A short but sweet season in Canada where extended daylight hours give us a much-needed boost in energy and the inspiration to get out and enjoy nature, parks, and patio time. Thankfully, the city is bursting with opportunities for all three. Here are some of our favourite outdoor events coming to Toronto this summer. Mark the dates in your calendar, slather on the sunscreen, and soak up the fun.
Open Roof Festival, June 20 to August 22
ORF returns for its eighth season at a new location on Sterling Road. Catch indie cinema and live music under the stars every Wednesday night.
Shakespeare in High Park, June 28 to September 2
Get a dose of culture and nature at a performance of Shakespeare in High Park. Now in its 36th season, the production presents adventurous adaptations of Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Pack a picnic and immerse yourself in the imagination of the Bard.
Beaches International Jazz Festival, July 6 to 29
The Beaches International Jazz Festival is Canada’s largest free festival and the biggest jazz celebration in the city. The 30th anniversary line-up includes concerts, workshops, and even a fun run to help celebrate.
Budweiser Stage, various dates
Some old favourites are making an appearance this summer as Lauryn Hill (July 18), Rod Stewart (August 10), and the Counting Crows (August 29) roll into town for shows at the outdoor Budweiser Stage (formerly the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre). Don’t worry, the name may have changed, but the warm breeze and the sound of the music drifting across the lake is just as you remember.
PizzaFest, July 20 to 22
Who makes the best ‘za? The battle is on in this citywide showdown to crown Toronto’s best slice. With the harbourside setting and a Negroni in hand you may find yourself transported to the Italian Riviera. Bellissima!
BIG on Bloor, July 21
This outdoor street festival draws over 100,000 visitors to celebrate local arts, culture, and community. Wander a car-free stretch of Bloor Street over 24 hours, discovering music and theatre performances, alongside interactive art.
Manifesto, August 9 to 19
Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture returns this August with 10 days of multi-arts events that culminate in a giant free concert at City Hall. The non-profit, youth-powered platform puts local artists on the map and inspires diverse communities of young people through arts and culture.
Sweetery, August 11 to 12
If you have a sweet tooth, this is the festival for you. Stop by David Pecaut Square over two days in August and gorge yourself on sweet treats and summer eats. Then ride the sugar high with live music and an outdoor movie screening of The Lego Batman Movie.
CNE, August 17 to September 3
Summer’s most bittersweet event (hotly anticipated, but lamented because it signals back to school) returns for the 2018 season with entertainment, concerts, shopping, rides, exhibits and more. Don’t miss the famous food hall, where outrageous edible creations become instant Instagram sensations overnight.
Camp Wavelength, August 18 to 19
Toronto’s “dreamiest music & arts festival” has relocated to a parkland oasis for 2018. Among the tree-lined green space of Garrison Common, Camp Wavelength will offer a hidden oasis of creativity and community within the city through dance performances, camp-inspired activities, music, and visual art.
Taste of the Kingsway, September 7 to 9
You’ve heard of Taste of the Danforth, now meet Taste of the Kingsway, an outdoor culinary and entertainment experience with over 150 exhibitors and 60 performances like the annual Dog Show where pooches compete for prizes including best costume and “waggiest tail.”
Lead cover image courtesy of BlogTO