Toronto's Best Festivals for Spring 2017

Toronto lit up for Lumintato | © Bahman / Flickr
Toronto lit up for Lumintato | © Bahman / Flickr
Picture of Emily Paskevics
Updated: 18 April 2017
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As the days get warmer in Toronto, you’ll want to head outside to enjoy the lovely weather. What better way to welcome spring than by attending arts and cultural events—many of which take place outdoors? From architecture to book art, comics to artisan markets, here are some of Toronto’s best springtime festivals that you won’t want to miss.

Jane’s Walk

May 5–7, 2017

Jane’s Walk is an annual festival of free, community-guided walking tours inspired by renowned journalist, author, and activist Jane Jacobs. This event gives you the chance to explore the city—as a visitor or a resident—by sharing stories about your community while participating in any of the hundreds of Jane’s Walks that will take place across the Greater Toronto Area from May 5–7, 2017.

A Jane’s Walk group exploring High Park, Toronto

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

May 13–14, 2017

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a celebration of comics, graphic novels, and their creators and will take place at the Toronto Reference Library and around the Bloor/Yonge area. The highlight of the festival is a two-day exhibition and vendor fair that will shine a spotlight on comic creators from across the globe. The full program will have events connected to the festival, including readings, panels, interviews, workshops, art installations, gallery shows, and more.

Crowds at Toronto Comic Arts Festival, 2013

Waterfront Artisan Market

May 20 – October 7, 2017

Every Saturday from May to October, H2O Park will feature the Waterfront Artisan Market, an open-air festival that features a carefully selected group of around 75 local, up-and-coming artisans, crafters, chefs, and bakers. Explore local handcrafted jewelry and enjoy fresh empanadas at this diverse weekly festival.


May 20–22, 2017

The springtime version of Artfest happens over Victoria Day Weekend in the Distillery District, showcasing a wide array of performances, installations, artist vendors, food, and drinks, all through the neighborhood’s charming cobblestone lanes. There is also special programming for kids, including activities like comic-strip stamping, abstract painting, and shadow art.

The Distillery Historic District, location of Artfest

Doors Open Toronto

May 27, 2017

Doors Open has been operating annually since 2000, attracting over two million visits to almost 700 different locations across Toronto. It is the largest Doors Open event in Canada, and one of the three largest in the world. The theme for 2017 is Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture, which will open the doors for the exploration of over 150 “architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.” The buildings will represent each decade since the 1860s, along with a few pre-Confederation examples.

The Old Vic building at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College is one of the featured buildings in Doors Open Toronto

Riverdale ArtWalk

June 3, 2017

Riverdale ArtWalk is a free public fine art exhibition that showcases both established and emerging artists in Jimmie Simpson Park in the Queen East arts district of the city. As Toronto’s first outdoor art show of the season, the Riverdale ArtWalk is in its 19th year and supported by around 20,000 art lovers. In 2016, the festival saw over 180 participating artists and also involved community groups, entertainment, and food vendors.


June 14–25, 2017

Luminato is one of Toronto’s premier arts and cultural festivals, featuring music, photography, arts, film, performance, interactive exhibits and more at different venues across the city. To date, Luminato has commissioned close to 100 new works of art, which equals more than 3,000 performances, with 11,000 artists from over 40 countries participating.

Pulse Front installation at Toronto Harbourfront by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Luminato 2007

Toronto Art Book Fair

June 15–18, 2017

Now in its second year, the Toronto Art Book Fair (TOABF) is a free event that takes place in mid-June at Artscape Youngplace. TOABF will highlight 80 Canadian and international exhibitors; there will also be three exhibitions and community programming that will include readings, book launches, panel discussions, performances, and workshops. This year’s theme is Artists’ Books x Archives x Alternative Narratives. There will also be hundreds of artists, writers, designers, small presses, publications, archives, independent publishers, contemporary art galleries, critics, and performers showcased at the event.

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