What’s on in Toronto this Summer

Your 2018 Toronto Events and Festivals Guide 

Once again Toronto has a full calendar of festivals and things to do this summer. This helpful guide is divided into two sections. 1.) Events listed by date and 2.) Things to do in Toronto that happen all summer long.  Most of the festivals are free however some music/alcohol festivals do have an admission fee which is indicated below. We have provided you a short description of the event with links to some of our blog posts from past events to provide you more details.

We created this guide because we were unable to find a comprehensive listing of the up-to-date list of summer events and festivals in Toronto. So we created one for you by going to each and every event website to confirm the date and details. Please note that some dates are show as to-be-determined (TBD) because the event organizers have not updated the 2018 dates yet,  however they will be the dated as they become available.

Location and getting there. We have noted the location of the event and how long it takes to get from the Boatel. Don’t worry about the car because you can get to most of these events and festival by walking or streetcar access from Toronto’s only boat B & B but as a reminder please book your Boatel stay early so that you’re not disappointed.

A note to event organizers: if you wish any details updated or if you wish to be included in our guide please email us.

2018 Calendar of Events and Festivals in Toronto this Summer

May – October          Waterfront Artisan Market Every Saturday and Sunday  this summer HTO Park will play host to the Waterfront Artisan Market along the Toronto waterfront with arts, locally crafted merchandise and fodo vendors.  See our blog post

June 1 & 2, 2018       Dundas West Fest  is a celebration of arts, community and everything local. The festival stretches across 12 city blocks and features 3 stages, 6 busker areas, over 40 patios, and shopping at over 200 different vendors. Location: Little Portugal Free event

June 2 & 3, 2018       Field Trip is downtown Toronto’s community Music and Arts Festival.  The music festival offers a bit of everything including food, art, comedy, fashion and technology. Ticketed event for the all ages.  Location: Fort York a 15 minute walk from the Boatel or 8 minute streetcar ride.

June 2, 2018          desiFEST (presented by TD) celebrates its 12th year of great music and talent. desiFEST is a free event and we are proud to bring to you the largest South Asian Music Concert at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto from 11am to 11pm. 

June 2 & 3, 2018      Riverdale ArtWalk is a free fine art exhibition showcasing artists in Jimmie Simpson Park in Queen Street East arts district. 11am to 6pm

June 9, 2018            Toronto Art Crawl back for the 6th year at the Liberty Village Park with 70 artist and food vendors. Free Event. 11:00am to 6pm

June 9, 2018            World Naked Bike Ride  – yes you read right. Once again Torontoians take to the streets with a theme “Bare as you dare”. Starts at 11:00 am  with body painting available. Free Event but bring your own bike. Location: Coronation Park 5 minutes from the Boatel.

June 9 & 10, 2018      Beaches Art & Craft Show  For the 34th year the annual festival is held in Kew Garden Park Free event. Location: 2075 Queen St. East Take the Queen Street car to Kew Garden in the Beach.

June 6-24, 2018           Luminato Toronto is an annual festival of Lights, Arts and Creativity. Free. Location: Multiple locations.

June 8-17, 2018        North By Northeast Music Festival (NXNE) is an annual music and arts festival that showcases 650 bands and 40 films in five exciting days. $ Cost for admission. Location: Multiple locations.

June 9, 2018        Roncy Rocks Music and Art Festival in Roncesvalles Village features an juried art show an sale, music, food and side-walk sale. Free Event: Location: Roncesvalles Village

June 10, 2018        Leslieville Flea Market Art and antique market Sat 11-8pm and Sunday 11-5pm  Summer dates June 10, July 8, August 12, Sept 16 . Free Event: Location: Ashbridge Estate on Queen East – Take the Queen streetcar

June 16, 2018        Leslieville Flea at the Distillery District outdoor in the main square. 11:00 to 6pm Free event. Location; Distillery District

June TBD          CHIN International Picnic is the largest free multicultural picnic in the world featuring music, dance performances celebrating its 51st year. Free event. NEW Location: College Street & Markham.

June 15-17, 2018        Taste of Little Italy Is an annual cultural event in the heart of Little Italy with music, street performance and sample food from over 45 restaurants. Free event. Location: Little Italy (College  from Bathurst to Shaw). Take the Spadina Streetcar to College 10 minutes or 25 minute walk fro the Boatel.

June 15-17, 2018       Beach BBQ & Brews Festival is an annual event every Father’s day weekend at The Beach. Enjoy Ribfest, live music, children’s play area, craft vendors, grilling demonstrations and beer garden. Great family outing to celebrate Father’s Day. Free Event. Location: Woodbine Park at Coxwell and Queen Street East

June 15-17, 2018         Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival in its 29th year with over 200 teams from around the world. Location: Toronto Centre Island 10 minute ride on the Tiki Taxi ($10) or walk to the ferry docks.

June               Harbourfront Centre Free Flicks presented by Billy Bishop Toronto Airport every Wednesday. Free Location: Harbourfront Centre outdoor theatre just a 10 minute walk from the Boatel.

June 23-26, 2018       Taste of Toronto is a foodie wonderland with 4 days with six half-day sessions that last between 4- 5 hours which gives our guests the time to enjoy their pick of restaurant dishes, browse the artisan stalls and enjoy some of the many attractions including the Taste Theatre, Metro Master Classes, the Tasting Room, a Delta Air Lines VIP Lounge and a Music Stage. Cost: $ for tickets to event  Location: Garrison Common in Fort York  – 15 minute walk from us or 8 minute streetcar ride.

June        Dancing on the Pier every Thursday Free event  Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

June 22 – 24, 2018      Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival presented by Billy Bishop Airport. The annual festival in celebration of Toronto’s vibrant waterfront. Free event. Location: Queens Quay from Spadina to Jarvis. The Boatel is the best place to stay for this festival. 

June 22 – 24, 2018      Junction Summer Solstice Festival The annual festival in celebration of summer in the revitalized west end district with sidewalk sale and entertainment. Free Event Location: Dundas street near Keele. Subway to Keele and bus to Dundas

June 24, 2018      Pride Parade celebrates diverse sexual and gender identities with many  events during the 10 day festival including Canada’s largest Pride Parade.  Free Event Location: Gay village Church & Wellesley.

June 22 to July 1, 2018         TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival celebrates all Jazz musical styles in its annual festival. 1500 musicians and 350 concerts  Location: Main Stage is at Nathan Philips Square (city hall) plus multiple other location

June 24, 2018        Kensington Pedestrian Sundays takes place the last Sunday of the month from May to October. Streets are closed to traffic, vendors expand onto the streets and sidewalks and live music in the heart of the funky Kensington to celebrate the neighbourhood. noon – 7pm. Also includes the Kensington Art Fair which runs 12-7PM
Free event Location: Kensington Market 1 Dundas. 25 minute walk or 10 minute streetcar.

June 30, 2018           Queen’s Plate  Join the Hats and Horseshoe Party at Woodbine Race Track for live thoroughbred racing of the annual 159th running of the Queen’s Plate. Cost: $ for admission. Location: Woodbine and Lakeshore

July         Dancing on the Pier every Thursday. Free event Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

Toronto Streetcar

Getting around Toronto is easy using the TTC Toronto Transit Commission streetcars.

July           Waterfront Artisan Market Every Saturday and Sunday this summer HTO Park will play host to the Waterfront Artisan Market along the Toronto waterfront with arts, locally crafted merchandise and foo vendors.  See our blog post

July 1, 2018      Canada Day Events Celebrate Canada’s birthday with exciting musical performances and activities for the whole family, culminating in a fabulous display of fireworks over Lake Ontario. Events at multiple locations including Harbourfront Centre and a fireworks extravaganza in Toronto harbour. Free event. Best view of the fireworks is at the Boatel.

July 7 & 8, 2018     TD Salsa on St. Clair  The 14th annual festival is a 2 day fiesta which includes food, dancing and more  Free event Location: St Clair Street .

July 4-15, 2018            The Fringe: Toronto’s Theatre Festival. The largest theatre festival of its kind with 150+ shows in 30 venues with more than 1100 performances featuring local and International theatre companies over 12 days. Max ticket price is $12. Multiple locations

July 6-8, 2018     Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside – part of the Beaches International Jazz Festival  Free event Location: Jimmie Simpson Park @ Queen Street East and West of Logan avenue. Take Queen Street car.

July 6 – 29, 2018        Beaches International Jazz Festival – free annual music festival features a mixture of latin, soul, and traditional jazz with more than 100 bands.  Free event every weekend in July. Location: The Beach. 

July 6 -22, 2018         Summerlicious  Once again features over 200 Toronto restaurants that offer three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at exceptional price points. Reservations recommended. Various locations.

July               Harbourfront Centre Free Flicks presented by Billy Bishop Toronto Airport every Wednesday at the outdoor theatre. Free Location: Harbourfront Centre just a 10 minute walk from the Boatel.

July               Dancing on the Pier every Thursday Free Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

July 6-8, 2018        Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Since 1960 this an annual outdoor exhibition has been held at Toronto City Hall. A juried exhibition with 500 artists is an alternative to arts shows and galleries. Free event. Location: Nathan Phillips Square at Queen & Bay streets.

July 15-18, 2018        Honda Indy Toronto returns to the streets of Toronto around Exhibition Place with world class Indy Car racing. $ for admission. Location: Exhibition Place Lakeshore Avenue and Strachan. 20 minute walk or 10 minute streetcar ride from the Boatel.

July 21, 2018        Leslieville Flea at the Distillery District outdoor in the main square. 11:00 to 6pm Free event. Location: Distillery District

July 26-28, 2018         Toronto Burlesque Festival the 10th annual festival returns with workshops where you can learn from international stars, art reception, and the famous burlesque ball to celebrate this classic art form. Location: Revival Bar and Virgin Mobile Mod Club.

July 26-29, 2018         Toronto’s Festival of Beer returns with 200 brands of beer and 60 brewing experts from around the world. Hosted by the Beer Store. Ticketed event. Location: Exhibition Place at Lakeshore and Strachan. 20 minute walk or 10 minute streetcar ride from the Boatel. See our blog post

July 29, 2018        Kensington Pedestrian Sundays takes place the last Sunday of the month from May to October. Streets are closed to traffic, vendors expand onto the streets and sidewalks and live music in the heart of the funky Kensington to celebrate the neighbourhood. noon – 7pm. Also includes the Kensington Art Fair which runs 12-7PM Free Event. Location: Kengsington Market Streetcar up Spadina to Dundas. 1 block east of Chinatown.

August              Harbourfront Centre Free Flicks presented by Billy Bishop Toronto Airport every Wednesday. Free Location: Harbourfront Centre outdoor theatre just a 10 minute walk from the Boatel.

August          Dancing on the Pier every Thursday – Free Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

August 4, 2018        Taste of the Middle East  New in 2018 experience the taste and sounds of the Middle East. Location: Yonge Dundas Square  – bike or subway to 20 minute Queen Yonge and Dundas Free Event

August 4, 2018        Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto Festival (formerly Caribana). The highlight of this annual three week festival is the famous Grand Parade w with Calypso, Steel Pan, Brass Bans, Soca and Reggae and Caribbean styled dancers. Location: Exhibition Place and along Lakeshore Avenue. 20 minute walk or 10 minute streetcar ride from the Boatel. 

August 3-6, 2018       Island Soul Festival at Harbourfront Centre Come to the waterfront to catch a little bit of that island soul and experience the rich legacy of Caribbean music heard through Canada and around the world.

August 3- 12, 2018         Rogers Cup – This prestigious professional tennis tournament is organized by Tennis Canada and presented by National Bank and attracts the top ranked tennis players from around the world. This year the men will be in Toronto while the women will play in Montreal at the same time. $ for admission. Location: Rexall Centre at York University. Drive or 1 hour by public transit.

August 10-12, 2018          Habari Africa Festival Presented by Batuki Music Society and Harbourfront Centre The 4th edition of Habari Africa offers an authentic African experience through presentations and workshops that celebrate the uniqueness, wealth and diversity of African arts and culture, including a mix of traditional and contemporary music and dance performed by local, national and international groups. Free event Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

August 10-12, 2018       Krinos Taste of the Danforth celebrate Greek food, music, art and culture at the largest Greek Festival in North America. Free event. Location: Greektown on Danforth Avenue. Street car to subway.

 August TBD               Sail-In Cinema is hosted by Ports Toronto and is the world’s first two-sided floating movie experience. Movies are shown under the open skies on a two-sided screen set atop a barge in Toronto Harbour. You can watch movies for free by boat if you drop anchor in Toronto Harbour or landlubber can bring a chair or blanket. Free event. Location: Sugar Beach Queens Quay and Jarvis. 20 minute walk from the Boatel along Queens Quay.

August 17-19, 2018   Small World Music Festival at Harbourfront Centre.  Free event Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

August 17-September 3, 2018      Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Since 1879 the CNE or the EX (as locals call it) is Canada’s largest community fair. It includes daily parades, talent shows, air show, free concerts, ice skating show, talent competition, midway, beer garden, rib fest, discount shopping, food vendor galore and a working farm. $ cost for admission TIP: $6 after 5pm Monday – Thursday.  Location: Exhibition Place at Lakeshore and Strachan. 20 minute walk or 10 minute streetcar ride from the Boatel. See our blog post

August 25, 2018        Leslieville Flea at the Distillery District outdoor in the main square. 11:00 to 6pm Free event.

August 24-25, 2018     Pan American Food & Music Festival (PAFMF) is Canada’s only annual festival that celebrates the Western Hemisphere’s rich diversity of food, music and art that brings together Canada and the 40 other countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean Location: Yonge Dundas Sqare free event  11am to 11pm

August 24-25, 2018   TAIWANfest at Harbourfront Centre.  Free event Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

August 25 & 26, 2018     Coconut Festival will host its 5th annual event for health conscious foodies with a love of all things coconut. The events includes stage presentation, dance interactive demonstrations, yoga along with vendors promoting healthy products and coconut based foods. Free event Location: David Pecaut Square 215 King Street West, 20 minute walk or 10 minute bike ride.

August 26, 2018        Kensington Pedestrian Sundays takes place the last Sunday of the month from May to October. Streets are closed to traffic, vendors expand onto the streets and sidewalks and live music in the heart of the funky Kensington to celebrate the neighbourhood.  Sundays from  May – September,  noon – 7pm  Also includes the Kensington Art Fair which runs 12-7PM Free Event. Location: Kengsington Market Streetcar up Spadina to Dundas. 1 block east of Chinatown.

August 30-Sept 2, 2018       Fan Expo Canada Four days of celebrity guests and exciting family-friendly events await at Fan Expo Canada. Ticketed Event

chinatown festival 2August TBD                Chinatown Festival Immerse yourself in this Asian festival which annually hosts a street party in the heart of Chinatown on Spadina street. The festival features mixed martial arts demonstration, lion and dragon dances, multicultural performances and international cuisines. Free event.  Location: Spadina Avenue a 20 minute walk from the Boatel or 7 minute streetcar ride.  See our blog post

September               Harbourfront Centre Free Flicks presented by Billy Bishop Toronto Airport every Wednesday.  Free Location: Harbourfront Centre outdoor theatre just a 10 minute walk from the Boatel.

BuskerfestAugust 31 to Sept – 4, 2018          Scotiabank Buskerfest is the largest international street performance festival in North America with over 170 of the best street performers from Canada and around the world from daredevils, puppeteers, contortionists, clowns, music, magicians and more. $ Admission is a donation to Epilepsy Canada Each performer then passes a hat after their performance. Location: Woodbine Park

September 1 – 3, 2018   Ashkenaz Festival at Harbourfront Centre.  Free event Location Harbourfront Centre – 10 minute walk from the Boatel

Aug 31 to Sept 3 , 2018       Artfest 2018  Fall Fine Art and Craft Festival is an outdoor art and craft shows celebrating painting, photography, sculpture, fine craft, live music and more from Canada’s top artists. Set throughout the cobblestone lanes of the Distillery District in downtown Toronto. FREE admission also May 20 – 22

September 1-3, 2018        Canadian International Air Show returns to the Toronto skies with a dazzling array of planes from around the world and Canada’s very own Snow Birds. Shows daily. Location: can be viewed from the Boatel however there are various locations along the waterfront or Toronto Island that provide an unobstructed view. Various Toronto charter boat also offer public cruises during the airshow.  See our blog post.

September 6 – 16, 2018          Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is the Internationally acclaimed film festival that attracts Hollywood actors and visitors at this special annual event hosting more than 300 films from over 60 countries. $ cost for admission. Location: Various locations.

September 7-9, 2018           Cabbagetown Art and Crafts Sale is one of the premier art and craft festivals with unique made-in-Canada artisans and is held each year during the Cabbagetown Festival and Riverdale Farm Fall Festival. Location: Riverdale Park West, in the heart of Toronto’s historic Cabbagetown. Free event Hours Friday 1-7pm and Sat /Sun 10am to 6pm

September 7-9, 2018           Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair has over 100 exhibitors which includes food, wellness, health and authors. Location: Harbourfront Centre Queens Quay Ten minute walk from the Boatel.

September 14-16, 2018         Toronto Ukrainian Festival Bloor West Village closes down it streets to cars to celebrate North Americas largest Ukrainian festival. Now in its 21st year the festival features a parade, dance competitions, food and music celebrating Ukrainian culture. Free event. Location: Bloor West Village between Runnymede and Jane Streets.  Take the streetcar to the subway and get off at Runnymede Subway approx. 30 minutes See our blog post

September 15-16, 2018         Roncesvalles Polish Festival  Annually Roncesvalles closes down it streets to cars to celebrate North Americas largest Polish festival and features Street sale, Polish dance competitions, food and music celebrating Polish culture. Free event. Location: Roncesvalles Village south of Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West

September 22-23, 2018       Queen Street Art Crawl The main draw is the Outdoor Art Show & Sale which features 250 artists, food vendors, community booths and an entertainment stage. The event also includes The Parkdale Night Crawl and Parkdale Crawl, a walking tour with guest speakers. Free event.  Location: Trinity Bellwoods Park on Queen Street West and Parkdale various locations Walk 25 minutes or Bike share

September 23, 2018        Word of the Street Book and Magazine Festival is a not-for-profit which promotes Canadian reading and writing through this free outdoor festival and has Canada’s biggest outdoor bookstore. Location: Harbourfront Centre – Queens Quay. Ten minute walk from the Boatel.

September 20-29, 2018          Toronto’s JFL42 Comedy Festival includes a stunning array of comedians across North America. Location: various venues

September 29, 2018                Nuit Blanche means white night. 13th annual For one night each year Sleepless in Toronto is the best way to describe this event as Toronto transforms in a city of exploration of over 118 one-of-a-kind art installations. Various downtown Toronto locations.

September 30, 2018        Kensington Pedestrian Sundays takes place the last Sunday of the month from May to October. Streets are closed to traffic, vendors expand onto the streets and sidewalks and live music in the heart of the funky Kensington to celebrate the neighbourhood. Sundays from  May – September,  noon – 7pm

 

FREE THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO ALL SUMMER

Open till August 31  Forest of Canoes by Dana Claxton with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival located at the Bentway just minutes from the Boatel, the Forest of Canoes (2018) is presented as a series of 16-foot- high vertical murals positioned on a succession of columns, or “bents,” supporting the Gardiner Expressway. The Bentway has transformed the under-used area beneath the Gardiner Expressway into a new gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

 May – October          Waterfront Artisan Market Every Saturday and Sunday this summer HTO Park will play host to the Waterfront Artisan Market along the Toronto waterfront with arts, locally crafted merchandise and foo vendors.  See our blog post

June to September           Harbourfront Centre Dancing on the Pier every Thursday night during the summer with free live bands, social dance clubs and instructors. Come dance the night away. Location: Harbourfront Centre Queens Quay and York. See our blog post and detailed weekly information above.

June – August              Harbourfront Centre Free Flicks on Wednesdays at sunset with a cooling breeze near the lake and under the stars. Arrive early for a good seat because seating is limited Location: Harbourfront Centre Queens Quay and York.  See our blog post  Detailed schedule above

June  to September      Toronto Music Garden free concerts in a truly magical setting. Most Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm and are approximately one hour in length. Limited bench seating is available but very limited so just ask us for a chair or a blanket. Location: Just down the pier from the Boatel. See our blog post

Yonge Dundas Square Lunchtime Live at Yonge Dundas Square Free concerts on Mondays from 12:30 to 1:30 at Yonge Dundas Square. Singer & Songwriter Series Location: Yonge and Dundas.

Yonge Dundas Square Indie Fridays on Fridays from 8-10pm at Yonge Dundas Square. Free music concerts and Beer Garden provided by the Hard Rock Café from 4 to 11pm Location: Yonge and Dundas.

Yonge Dundas Square City Cinema  Free outdoor movies on Tuesdays at sunset. Seating is limited so go early for a great seat. This year’s theme: TBD.  Location: Yonge and Dundas.

Kensington Pedestrian Sundays takes place the last Sunday of the month from May to October. Streets are closed to traffic, vendors expand onto the streets and sidewalks and live music in the heart of the funky Kensington
Sundays from  May – September,  noon – 5pm

Distillery District Sunday Market. Features local artisan goods, including tasty treats like empanadas and organic maple syrup. Free event

Shakespeare in High Park Bring a blanket and a jacket to enjoy this Shakespeare production under the stars. $ Donation requested Location: High Park located south of Bloor and High Park Ave.

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About Diane Greene

Diane Greene stepped off the corporate treadmill in 2004 for pursue a life of traveling and adventure. 10 years later she is still operating Toronto's only Boat Bed and Breakfast and travelling with her husband on Boatel, their 65 foot trawler in the US and Bahamas during the winter. Diane has three wonderful children and 3 grandbabies. Diane loves photography, travel and scuba diving.

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