In this guide on summer festivals in Toronto, you can find out about some of the fun events happening in Ontario’s capital. If you’re looking for something to do in Toronto from May to August, the city has great cultural and food events. Check the dates of some of the best events before you book your next trip to Toronto.
Visitors to Toronto look for the cosmopolitan urban backdrop and the attractive views of neighbouring Lake Ontario, but the arts are also a key part of the city. During the summer, Toronto comes alive with events and annual festivals.
To help you pick out the best time to visit, we’re going to take a look at the top summer festivals in Toronto so that you can find another reason to visit the capital of Ontario.
Toronto Pride Week
In June, Toronto becomes home to Pride Month where Toronto natives and visitors celebrate the diversity of sexual and gender identities. While many cities have a Pride Week, Toronto’s version of the event stands as the largest in Canada.
Celebrators revel in the history, culture, and lives of the LGBTQ community. The celebration is one of the oldest for supporting those who are homosexual, bisexual, and transgender. This event has taken place in the Village for 37 years and brings over a million visitors annually.
Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival
June 15 to June 16, 2019
Who doesn’t love a good race? The Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is another almost 30-year-old festival that has become synonymous with summer in Toronto. Beginning in 1989, the dragon boat races have been organized by the Toronto Chinese Business Association.
The races bring together international teams of rowers who navigate their boats from the Toronto Centre Island in a heart-stopping race to the finish.
Toronto Art Festivals
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
April 25 to May 5, 2019
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market with a selection of more than 150 cutting-edge documentaries from Canada and around the globe. Year long, documentary film lovers can visit the Hot Docs Cinema located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood to see some of the best documentary films from all over the world.
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
May 1 to 31, 2019
As the largest photography festival in the world, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is a month-long festival of photography with over 1,000 local, national and international artists at more than 200 venues across Toronto each May. During this festivals participants exhibit in a variety of venues, from major public museums to private galleries and on alternative exhibition spaces like the the facades of significant cultural buildings.
June 7 to 23, 2019
The Luminato Festival was born out of the cultural and creative energy of the city of Toronto for the month of June. The city becomes a performance space for
artists to play, share and create with dozens of thought-provoking, outrageous and entertaining events taking place across the city
Toronto Music Festivals
Canadian Music Week
May 6 to 19, 2019
Canadian Music Week is a combination of informative, intensive conferences, a cutting-edge trade exhibition, award shows, a film festival and a massive new music festival. This festival has become a way to showcase celebrated and established Canadian artists and emerging talent for a packed week of programming and performances.
NXNE: North By Northeast Festival
June 7 to 16, 2019
North by Northeast (NXNE) is a 10-day summer festival destination for emerging artists and major-label headliners to have the chance to preform in front of other artists, industry professionals and fans. In recent years, this festival has also expanded to include digital interactive innovators to the gap between technology and the arts.
Toronto Jazz Festival
Toward the end of June and the beginning of July (the 23rd to the 2nd), you can attend the Toronto Jazz Festival. During this festival, rhythm-lovers can indulge in some of the best jazz music of our day.
The festival began in 1987 and still brings in listeners by the millions. Over the 10 days, hundreds of artists perform; in fact, over the years, the festival has presented more than 33,000 artists.
Toronto Summer Music Festival
July 11 to August 3, 2019
Toronto Summer Music Festival is one of the city’s most eagerly-awaited classical music events with concerts performed by Canadian and international artists. Musicians and music lovers from all over the world come to Toronto in July for , masterclasses, lectures, interviews, workshops and free outreach concerts for one of Toronto’s top cultural events.
Toronto Food Festivals
Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival
June 14 to June 15, 2019
Each of the potent potables at this festival is world-class; you can try drinks like delicious Malbecs, delicious whiskeys from vendors like Forty Creek Whisky, and complex aged rums from Flore de Cana. The foods at this festival are also top-notch, so give it a try this summer.
During the early days of June, Toronto celebrates the Wine and Spirit Festival. Located at Sugar Beach, this festival brings together brewers, wineries, and spirit producers for three days of fun and food.
August 10, 2019
In August, the Grace Jerkfest takes place in Toronto’s Centennial Park. Meant to celebrate Jamaican cuisine and culture, the Jerkfest is a popular event in Toronto during the summer.
Visitors can enjoy the Grace Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Eating Competition, the Western Union Drop-A-Six Domino Challenge, and the Grace So You Think You Can Jerk Challenge. The festival even has a free shuttle so that celebrators can travel to the event from large, offsite parking lots.
There are so many festivals and city events that take place from May to September in Toronto that it makes sense to check out what is on in the city before you check your flights on Skyscanner. Book your visit at the right time to have the most fun in Toronto.