Toronto’s top summer street festivals

by José Gonzalez

Torontonians will make any old excuse to hold a festival, even if it's celebrating something as simple as living on the same street, and some of these streets sure know how to put on a party. Across the city there are special festivals and block parties that highlight a neighbourhood’s specialty, whether it be food or entertainment. Here’s some of the best street festivals happening this summer in Toronto! [Photo credit: courtesy of Buskerfest]

Toronto’s top summer street festivals

Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market
The cars are turned away as historic Kensington Market takes a few days in the summer to cater exclusively to pedestrians. To take advantage of the extra space, local businesses are setting up special booths offering their wares, and musicians and other performers take to the streets to liven up the day.

  • When: May 28, June 25, July 30, August 27, September 24 & October 29
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Kensington Market
  • More information

Taste of Toronto
Toronto's food scene has been steadily growing over the decades, and this festival gives you a literal taste of all the hard work that has gone into establishing many of its best restaurants. More than 20 restaurants from across the city, and the many celebrity chefs who call it home, prepare their signature dishes across lunch and dinner sessions.

Roncy Rocks
The Roncesvalls neighbourhood invites you to a day of local music, food, film, fashion, and even a dog show. A festival for the whole family, the day is filled with the many things that make Roncy one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city.

Taste of Asia
Toronto's (and Canada's), largest celebration of Asian culture includes a number of musical performances and dishes from the rich tapestry of nations that make up the planet's largest continent. This year's featured country is Cambodia, with a special royal palace pavilion with dancers, food, and other specialties from the kingdom.

  • When: June 23 to 25
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Kennedy Road, just North of Steeles Avenue East
  • More information

The Junction Summer Solstice Festival
The longest day of the year should have a nice long festival to celebrate it, and The Junction is doing just that. Details are still being worked out, but previous years have included acrobats, art crawls, a Ferris wheel, live music, live murals and many of the other charms that have made The Junction one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the city.

  • When: June 24
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Dundas Street West from Keele St. to Quebec Ave.
  • More information

Redpath Waterfront Festival
To celebrate Canada's 150 birthday, this festival by the waterfront is getting bigger, including a visit from the world's largest rubber duck. There’s also lumberjacks, a 440-foot naval frigate, and roaming entertainers going up and down Queen's Quay. Visitors can browse 75 vendors offering shopping and plenty of food.

  • When: July 1 to 3
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Queens Quay from Spadina to Sherbourne
  • More information

Taste of Lawrence
Scarborough's finest get a chance to display their best at this festival welcoming more than 130 vendors, midway rides and two stages featuring musical performers. The fest turns the area into a giant carnival, celebrating the rich cultural backgrounds that make up the many different communities of the area.

  • When: July 7 to 9
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Lawrence Ave. E. from Warden Ave. to Birchmount Rd.
  • More information

Big on Bloor
One of the city's busiest streets takes a day off, welcoming pedestrians to check out the many tastes, goods and other highlights along Bloor West. This festival lives up to its name with more than 200 tables and booths and more than 100,000 visitors. In addition to the shopping and eating, there are also curated art exhibits, live music and opportunities to learn how to live environmentally friendly in the city.

  • When: July 22 and 23
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Bloor Street West, between Dufferin and Lansdowne
  • More information

Taste of the Danforth
One of the most popular street festivals in the city, the many Greek restaurants lining Danforth create a delicious gauntlet of tastes to test your stomach capacity. In addition to the food, there's plenty of live music and vendors to keep you from eating yourself into a coma. There are also kids’ areas for the little ones to enjoy, and sports themed spots to work off some of those calories.

  • When: August 11 to 13
  • Admission: Free
  • Where: Danforth Avenue, starting at Broadview
  • More information

Buskerfest
Featuring some of the best buskers from around the world, this former downtown highlight is enjoying its new home at Woodbine Park. Jugglers, fire dancers and other street performers do their very best to add some colour to the Beaches neighbourhood. When they pass their hats around, try to be extra generous – this event raises funds for epilepsy research.

  • When: September 1 to 4
  • Admission: Free, donations are encouraged
  • Where: Woodbine Park
  • More information
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