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There are countless reasons to get excited about Toronto whatever the season, but in summer, the city comes alive with its long days, warmer weather and wide range of activities.
From food and beer to literature and sport, there are lots of Toronto events and festivals you can enjoy this summer. An added bonus? There are also tons of cheap flights to Toronto in the summer that you can take advantage of.
In this blog, we look at the best Toronto summer events you can visit.
The best Toronto summer events
Pizza Fest Toronto
Date of event: annually in July
Ticket price: CAD $7.95 – $14.95
Available to purchase at: https://www.pizzafestival.ca/ (click on ‘tickets’ navigation)
Toronto’s top pizza joints and Italian restaurants come together for the second annual Pizza Fest – one of the hottest events of the summer.
A spokesperson from Pizza Fest told us that the event “brings you more than just your typical pizza slice” as you can get ready for:
– Toronto’s top pizza
– Italian cocktails & wine bar
– Fresh pasta, meatballs, arancini & tiramisu
– Pizza-making classes
– Foosball & bocce courts
– Live music & DJs all day
Toronto’s Festival of Beer
Date of event: 26-28 July
Ticket price: CAD $60
Available to purchase at: https://beerfestival.ca/tfob2019-is-july-26-to-july-28-and-now-on-sale/
Toronto’s Festival of Beer, also known as Beerfest, takes place every year at Exhibition Place and celebrates Canada’s rich brewing history.
The event now attracts over 90 brewers and features more than 400 brews from Toronto, Canada and the rest of the world.
On top of the beer, you can try cider and other beverages, with a range of food to satisfy every appetite. Whether you’re looking to try oysters, burgers or poutine, there’ll be something here to get your taste buds flowing.
•A guide to the best breweries in Canada
Date of event: 3-11 August
Ticket price: CAD $20-$95
Available to purchase at: https://www.rogerscup.com/rogers-cup-tickets-toronto/
CONFIRMED. ✅#Wimbledon champion and reigning queen of #RogersCup @Simona_Halep will play her first match in Toronto on Wednesday’s day session, August 7th.
Get your tickets now ➡️ https://t.co/2ZUJ6BPYwN pic.twitter.com/QnFxB0pskQ
— Rogers Cup (@rogerscup) July 15, 2019
Dating back to 1881, the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank is the third oldest tennis tournament in the world and is owned and operated by Tennis Canada.
Toronto and Montréal share the task of hosting the world’s best men’s and women’s players, with both tournaments played during the same week. The women will be at the Aviva Centre in Toronto while the men will play at Stade IGA in Montréal.
Karl Hale, Rogers Cup Toronto tournament director, tells us that all 39 of the women tour’s players will be in Toronto for this year’s event.
“That means the likes of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, 2019 Indian Wells title-winner Bianca Andreescu, world number one and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, reigning Rogers Cup champion and newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and many more will be at Aviva Centre in August. It’s arguably the strongest player field in Rogers Cup history.”
Karl Hale also revealed that away from the tennis a new partnership with the TTC means “all Rogers Cup ticket holders can get a free ride home from Pioneer Village subway station”. This is just a short five-minute walk from the Aviva Centre.
•A guide to Canada’s sports teams
FAN EXPO Canada
Date of event: 22-25 August
Ticket price: Starting from CAD $20
Available to purchase at: https://www.fanexpocanada.com/en/buy-tickets/admission.html
FAN EXPO Canada is the largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming event in Canada and the second largest in North America. For 25 years, fans far and wide have touched down at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the three-day event.
Event organisers say the event offers the ultimate fan experience and that this year it “will be packed with exciting and inclusive family-friendly attractions”. These include a huge family zone, Harry Potter and Doctor Who themed Escape Rooms, a Grand Prix and Masquerade Ball.
The event attracts a range of celebrity guests and this year Jason Mamoa (Game of Thrones, Aquaman), the cast of Saved by the Bell (Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Berkley), Rainn Wilson (The Office) and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) will be in attendance.
Toronto International Busker Fest
Date of event: 30 August – 2 September
Ticket price: It’s up to you, but a donation of CAD $5 is recommended
Available to purchase at: N/A
‘Spontaneous’, ‘funny’, ‘outrageous’ and ‘fabulous’ are just some of the words people use to describe the Toronto International Busker Fest.
The four-day festival is full of circus artistry, music, magic, comedians, acrobats, fire jugglers, clowns, beatboxers, artists and more. It raises funds for Epilepsy Toronto and is now believed to be the largest epilepsy fundraiser in the world.
Melanie Carrey, the Communications Coordinator at Epilepsy Toronto, says this year’s event could be the biggest yet as it is happening on Labour Day weekend and is Epilepsy’s 20th anniversary year.
“In addition to non-stop shows all day, we have a Midway filled with favourite carnival rides, food trucks and artisans, a family fun zone with additional activities for kids and a great beer garden where you can grab a beverage and enjoy a show nearby.”
Char, a UK family travel blogger who runs the Taylor Hearts Travel site, has visited Toronto before and she highly recommends heading to Busker Fest.
“Want to feel inspired, happy and mesmerised? BuskerFest is a summer highlight in Toronto. It’s an annual event that raises money for charity and provides epic entertainment in the form of talented buskers, who sing, dance and perform in the kookiest, exciting way possible.”
•Toronto’s Nightlife: the best Bars, Restaurants and Music
Toronto International Film Festival
Date of event: 5-15 September
Ticket price: From CAD $99
Available to purchase at: https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/tiff2/EN/buy/browse
Announcing our #TIFF19 Opening Night film: the world premiere of Daniel Roher’s ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND. #TIFF19 https://t.co/AanVcgqwRJ pic.twitter.com/o1TpfU59Vq
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) July 18, 2019
Celebrating its 44th year in 2019, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in the world; screening more than 300 feature and short films from more than 80 countries, and welcoming a global audience of more than 650,000 every September.
Unlike a lot of festivals, TIFF offers screenings to the public, so audiences get to be amongst the first to see the best films of the year. What makes the experience even better is the fact that the festival is now used as a launching pad for Oscar contenders, as well as a key showcase for Canadian cinema, documentary films, and experimental works.
John, an expat who moved to Toronto in 2000, runs the site Brits in Toronto, and recommends going celebrity spotting when the film festival is on. “Celebrities and stars flock to Toronto for film premieres and the city becomes a hub of buzz and spotting stars, he said.
•The complete guide to Canadian film festivals
Toronto Veg Food Fest
Date of event: 6-8 September
Ticket price: Free
Available to purchase at: N/A
It’s officially Summer! ☀️😎And that means Veg Food Fest 2019 is fast approaching! We’ve got some amazing vendors, lined up and a few spaces left for your favourites… let us know which vendors you are looking forward to this year?🤔🍪🍩🍧 pic.twitter.com/10D5ahVtQg
— Veg Food Fest (@VegFoodFest) June 21, 2019
The Toronto Veg Food Fest is North America’s largest celebration of all things veggie and attracts over 40,000 people a year to its Harbourfront Centre location.
Lauren, one half of the Justin Plus Lauren travel blog, is from Toronto and loves the event. “There are over 160 vendors and many of them hand out free samples of delicious vegan food to taste,” she said. “There are also dozens of free presentations, workshops, cooking demos, speakers, live music, and more.”
The festival inspires people to choose a healthier, greener, and more compassionate lifestyle through a plant-based diet.
•The Great Canadian Cuisine Hunt
The Word on the Street Festival
Date of event: 22 September
Ticket price: Free
Available to purchase at: N/A
IT’S HAPPENING NOW! 🎉🎉 We’re delighted to announce our lineup for #WOTS30!! Just look at those festive banners! (Can you read some of the names?) pic.twitter.com/c66g86g8BC
— The Word On The Street (@torontoWOTS) July 18, 2019
This year, The Word On The Street Toronto is celebrating 30 years of championing excellent Canadian publishing and will be returning to the Toronto Harbourfront Centre.
Each September, the festival hosts over a dozen stages of author readings and featured programming, with Canada’s largest open-air book fair featuring the best selection of books and magazines in Canada for readers of all ages and appetites for free.
For its anniversary, a spokesperson from the festival said they will be launching exciting new programming to complement the “Amazon Bestsellers Stage and TD KidStreet, featuring some of Canada’s most promising debut authors alongside beloved icons”.
•Where to Stay in Toronto
Date of event: 26-28 September
Ticket price: CAD $16-$26 (these Early Bird ticket prices end 1 August)
Available to purchase at: https://www.torontooktoberfest.ca/tickets
Inspired by traditions started in Munich in 1810, Toronto Oktoberfest brings a taste of
Germany to the city as it delivers an authentic experience filled with Bavarian dancers, polka bands, German and European beers, genuine and gourmet traditional fare, and family fun in the outdoor Bavarian Village.
Now entering its eighth year, Toronto Oktoberfest is the second largest Oktoberfest festival in Canada (after Kitchener Oktoberfest).
Between the amusement park rides and the Bavarian-themed games, there is no shortage of things to experience. A spokesperson for the event tells us that Toronto Oktoberfest will be something you won’t forget:
“Visitors come dressed in their best dirndl or lederhosen and get immersed into the Bavarian entertainment from the oom pah band to Miss Bavarian Burlesque to the stage contests, including ‘So you think you can Danz’ contest and more. Come prepared to dance and make friends.”
•Free things to do in Toronto
Toronto is a great place to visit with so much going on all year round. Make sure to check out some of the above suggestions if you’re visiting over the summer period. If you haven’t yet planned to visit, then why not book a holiday to Toronto for a memorable break?
And don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more Toronto guides and Canada tips.
Image Credit: Toronto Oktoberfest, FAN EXPO Canada.