Top 18 events to look forward to in 2018

by José Gonzalez

As 2017 fades into a lovely memory, it's time to turn our thoughts to having fun in Toronto next year. There are plenty of popular annual events (with some new tricks up their sleeves for 2018) and new things to look forward to! Here are 18 events, festivals and fun things to do happening in Toronto throughout 2018. [Photo by Cathy Carver, © Yayoi Kusama]

Top 18 events to look forward to in 2018

The Bentway Launch
The dreary space underneath the Gardiner Expressway is being transformed into a skating trail! It will be open until March, and the city celebrates its opening day in January, with live music by Carmen Braden, an ice skating breakdancing hybrid performance, art installations, food and music from local DJs.

  • When: January 6 at 11 am
  • Where: Underneath the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street
  • Price: Free
  • More information

International Autoshow
This year, the auto show includes an exhibition of the art and icons of automotive design, a look at the evolving technology of the automobile and a display of exotic cars that, in 2017, was worth more than $100 million. The winner of a $5000 competition to find the most finely tuned car will also be unveiled, giving gear-heads a helpful dose of inspiration.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
The Japanese artist's multi-reflective infinity mirror rooms finally arrive to Toronto, and if its popularity in other cities is any indication, you might want to book your tickets as early as possible. There are six rooms in total, and you're only allowed entry once for about 20-30 seconds, so be prepared for the immersive art experience.

Canada Blooms and the National Home Show
This duo of shows includes new design ideas for your home and floral arrangements to celebrate spring. This year's theme is “Let’s Go to The Movies,” as garden designers and builders use that inspiration to create original custom gardens.

  • When:  March 9 to 18
  • Where: Enercare Centre
  • Price: General: $17, Senior (ages 65+): $14, Youth (13 to 17): $13 and Children (12 and under): Free
  • Buy tickets
  • Schedule: Monday to Wednesday: 10 am to 8 pm, Thursday to Saturday: 10 am to 9 pm, March 11: 10 am to 6 pm and March 18: 10 am to 5 pm
  • More information: Canada Blooms, National Home Show

Hot Docs Film Festival
Toronto's second most popular film festival is still one of the biggest festivals for documentary films in the world. Each year they welcome nearly 200 films from documentarians from around the world.

Phantom of the Opera
The original production of the classic musical ran in Toronto for years, and now the city is ready to welcome a new vision of the classic story of a masked man who lives underneath the opera. Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, this new version of Phantom promises to be even bigger than the original.

NXNE
One of the premiere musical festivals in the city, this year it's moving from its the Port Lands back to its old home at Yonge-Dundas Square. Headliners are still in the works, but the return to the much-preferred venue promises a more enthusiastic daytime crowd.

Toronto True Crime Film Festival
This new film festival tackles the gritty world of true crime cinema. Its program mixes documentary films with fictional interpretations of real stories. The films screened will be a mix of new productions making their debut and classic true films. There's a good chance most of these films won't be suitable for certain audiences, so check ratings and descriptions well in advance.

Pride Weekend
Toronto's LGBT+ community has a whole month of celebrating planned, but the real highlight is a weekend-long party that includes the annual Pride parade through downtown. Also expect several stages with live music and loads of small events around the party.

Masters Indigenous Games
Toronto receives the honour of being the site of the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games, welcoming Indigenous athletes to compete in a number of different sporting events, both traditional and contemporary.

Honda Indy
This Indy race features some of the fastest things on four wheels. More than just a race though, a whole festival pops-up around it showcasing high end vehicles, racing simulators, a beer garden, food and plenty of fun activities for the kids.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival
One of the biggest parties of the year, and perhaps better known to Torontonians as Carabana, this annual tradition includes a massive parade filled with the costumes and music fresh from the Caribbean. This year marks the festival's 50th anniversary and it promises to be bigger than ever.

  • When: July 13 to August 9
  • Where: Various locations around Toronto
  • Price: Free, with some ticketed events
  • More information

Vans Warped Tour
After missing Toronto in 2017, the Vans Warped Tour returns in 2018 for its last ever cross-country edition. The rock music tour began in 1995 and became a staple of the summer, and this final tour is promising to send the festival off in style.

Taylor Swift
The pop star makes a stop at the Rogers Centre as part of her Reputation stadium tour. The tour takes her across North America to celebrate the release of her latest album, of the same name. This stop in Toronto is her only Canadian show.

Ed Sheeran
The immensely popular singer-songwriter is kicking off his North American stadium tour two dates in Toronto, the only performances he'll be making in Canada. This is also one of Sheeran's first concerts in North America after a worldwide tour that will be keeping him busy through most of the first half of 2018.

FanExpo
A giant convention for all things geeky, from sci-fi to comics to fantasy and just about everything in-between. In addition to the special panels, announcements and sales, you can also meet some of your favourite geekdom stars. This year's expo welcomes Michael J. Fox, and the list of guests grows every week, so check their website for an update on who to expect.

TIFF
One of Toronto's biggest festivals welcomes some of the hottest stars from the film world for a week of premieres and specials screenings. If you can't manage to nab any tickets, there are also lots of other fun activities and special events celebrating the festival.

Nuit Blanche
The Parisian transplant to Toronto continues to dazzle art lovers with innovative installations across the city. This year Nuit Blanche expands even further, with art to be displayed for the first time in Scarborough.

  • When: September 29 from sunrise to sunset
  • Where: Across the city
  • Price: Free
  • More information
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