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Unmissable Festivals and Events in Toronto for Every Month of the Year

North by Northeast at Trinity Bellwoods Park
North by Northeast at Trinity Bellwoods Park | © OTMPC
Toronto’s multiculturalism and diversity mean that there is always something to celebrate in Canada’s biggest city. The myriad of festivals throughout the year showcase the best of food, music, arts, and culture. In this guide, we highlight annual festivals and events in the city for every month of the year. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on any of them!

January

Winterlicious

📅 January 25–February 7, 2019

For foodies, Winterlicious is a must-do culinary festival and the best way to explore Toronto’s phenomenal gastronomical scene. Over 200 restaurants all over the city offer excellent value three-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus, serving everything from gourmet food to the city’s most popular fare.

Alo Restaurant © OTMPC / Destination Canada

Toronto Light Festival

📅 January–March 2019 (dates to be announced)

The Toronto Light Festival is a free spectacle that was created to entice people out of their homes during the winter. Local and international artists come together and illuminate the historic Distillery District with creations that appear to float magically in the sky.

February

Spring and Easter Flower Show

📅 February–April 2019 (dates to be announced)

Allan Gardens Conservatory is a stunning plant oasis in the heart of the city. At their annual spring show, visitors can look upon beautiful and exotic flowers. The Spring and Easter Flower Show usually go on until after Easter, with various crops blooming.

Crown of Thorns, Allan Gardens Conservatory © Ryan / Flickr / Derivative from original

March

Toronto Comicon

📅 March 2019 (dates to be announced)

One of the most exciting events in the city, Toronto Comicon usually takes place during March Break. This super-hero-themed 15,000-square-foot (1,393.5-square-meter) extravaganza takes place at the Metro Convention Centre. Toronto Comicon has unique exhibitors, presentations, workshops and many celebrity guests!

April

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

📅 April–May 2019 (dates to be announced)

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival. Cinemas and theatres throughout the city feature provocative films that highlight gripping subjects and material from Canada and around the globe.

May

Tastemaker Toronto

📅 May 2019 (dates to be announced)

Tastemaker Toronto takes place at the iconic Evergreen Brickworks (a destination renowned for its weekend farmers’ market and exciting food). The finest chefs in Toronto and attendees come together for two days to celebrate delicious food and drink, with unique collaborations and eclectic dishes.

Inside Out LGBT Film Festival

📅 May–June 2019 (dates to be announced)

Another annual important film festival, through May and June, the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival brings together Toronto’s LGBT community and highlights the best of queer film from Canada and around the world. This registered nonprofit charity has been operating for over two decades.

Doors Open Toronto

📅 May 2019 (dates to be announced)

Toronto was the first city to host a Doors Open in North America. Throughout this notable event, prominent local buildings of architectural significance open their doors to the public so that they can explore them for free.

Royal Ontario Museum, one of Toronto's notable architectural buildings © OTMPC

Carassauga Festival

📅 May 2019 (dates to be announced)

Founded in 1986, Carassauga is the biggest multicultural event in Ontario and the second largest cultural festival in Canada. Over the course of three days, the event celebrates more than 70 countries throughout pavilions in Mississauga.

Scotia Bank CONTACT Photography Festival

📅 May 1–31, 2019

In May, Toronto hosts the world’s largest photography festival, CONTACT. It is one of the city’s most important cultural events, where an extensive range of programming takes place throughout different venues and engaging public spaces.

Canadian Music Week

📅 May 2019 (dates to be announced)

This leading Canadian music event has all the elements of an industry conference and music festival. Programming includes workshops, discussion panels with professionals, and more than 1,000 bands across 60 live music venues in Toronto’s downtown.

June

North by Northeast Festival (NXNE)

📅 June 2019 (dates to be announced)

Although live music is the main feature at NXNE, the festival also includes film, comedy, art installations, and gaming, plus it has a digital interactive media conference. Many of the events take place across the city, but a massive three-day concert occurs at Dundas Square. According to The Guardian newspaper, “NXNE has crowned itself Toronto’s premier music event.”

NXNE performance by Benjamin Booker at The Silver Dollar, Toronto © OTMPC

Mississauga Waterfront Festival

📅 June 2019 (dates to be announced)

This family-themed event takes place along Mississauga’s beautiful waterfront at Port Credit Memorial Park. The festival’s programming includes a carnival, outdoor concerts, theatre, and petting zoo. The Mississauga Waterfront Festival ranks in the top 100 festivals in Ontario.

Toronto Pride

📅 June 2019 (dates to be announced)

Come June, and Pride Toronto takes over the city with festivities and parades attracting visitors in the thousands. Home to Canada’s largest LGBTQ population, Toronto closes off 22 blocks for one of the biggest Pride festivals in North America. From 2016 onwards, the entire month of June was declared Pride in the metropolis.

Toronto's vibrant street culture during Pride Month © Stacie DaPonte / Flickr

Luminato Festival

📅 June 2019 (dates to be announced)

Every June, the Luminato Festival turns theatres, parks and public spaces all over Toronto into a playground for artists and thought leaders to share their work and spark conversation. The festival is a dedicated celebration of music, film, art, literature, and creativity.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival

📅 June 22–July 1, 2018

Catch the melodies of the world’s best jazz musicians as they echo throughout the city at all kinds of venues, from intimate locations to concert halls. The TD Jazz Festival features more than 1,500 musicians and has come to be one of North America’s premier jazz events, attracting over 500,000 music lovers every year.

July

Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival

📅 July 4–15, 2018

Featuring unjuried plays by unknown or well-known artists, this grassroots theatre festival is the city’s most significant theatrical event. Attendees at venues all over Toronto tend to enjoy the lively nature of the enthusiastic performances.

Summerlicious

📅 July 6–22, 2018

Summerlicious is the sunny edition of Winterlicious! It celebrates all things food by showcasing summer food at participating restaurants, which offer three-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus.

Beaches International Jazz Festival

📅 July 6–29, 2018

July ushers in the Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival in one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. This 10-day event is a summer highlight, with over 800,000 people heading to the lakeside Beaches community of Toronto to be part of one of the largest free jazz festivals.

August

Caribana Festival

📅August 2–6, 2018

Although this festival takes place in Toronto, this Caribbean festival is a huge international event and one of a kind in North America. Visitors pour into the city for this exuberant celebration of Caribbean merrymaking, music, cuisine, and dance. The Grande Parade is one of the top festivities.

Caribana Festival in Toronto © OTMPC

Rogers Cup

📅 August 4–12, 2018

Toronto’s Rogers Cup hosts some of the world’s biggest tennis stars, including the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Held at the Aviva Centre at York University, this prestigious cup dates back to 1881, and only Wimbledon and the US Open have longer histories. It’s considered to be one of the best-run professional tennis tournaments.

Taste of the Danforth

📅 August 10–12, 2018

Taste of the Danforth is a weekend event celebrating Greek and Hellenic heritage as well as cuisine and culture from the rest of the world. The entire Danforth strip becomes a pedestrianized area as resident vendors set up stalls with the best food found in the neighborhood. Street performers, hosts, and locals show up to rock this foodie-themed street party.

Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)

📅 August 17–September 3, 2018

If you’re in town at this time, then you absolutely must make a trip to the CNE. This fantastic community event gets better every year and has been going strong since 1879. It’s one of the largest annual fairs in Canada, and highlights include rides, games, and crazy carnival food.

Fan Expo Canada

📅 August 30–September 2, 2018

Fan Expo Canada is the most significant comic, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in Canada; it is also the third largest pop culture event in North America. Last year, the cast of Stranger Things were guests. What began as a small comic book convention now offers many attractions, including family fun, themed events, and celebrities, and attracts over 129,000 people from around the world.

Toronto International Buskerfest

📅 August 31–September 3, 2018

Daring performers and quirky street acts share their talents with the spectators of Toronto International Buskerfest. This world-class festival supports a local charitable organization, Epilepsy Toronto. Circus artistry, magic, and dance will leave you entertained and even a little mesmerized.

September

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

📅 September 6–16, 2018

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a globally renowned film festival that brings some of the world’s best movies and film stars to the city. The streets of Toronto are transformed, as thousands of visitors and locals try to get shots of their favorite A-listers, line up for rush tickets or queue round blocks for opening nights of movies.

Kate Winslet at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2017 © GabboT / Flickr

Nuit Blanche Toronto

📅 September 29, 2018

For one night every year from dusk until dawn, Toronto becomes sleepless as contemporary art transforms select buildings and the most surprising public spaces into an immersive experience. Nuit Blanche is a free and over-the-top annual event that celebrates local, national and international artists.

October

Halloween

📅 October 1–31, 2018

Throughout October, Toronto is home to scary fun! From ghost walks to hauntings at Casa Loma and fright nights at Canada’s Wonderland, as well as lots of other spooky events all over the city, it’s one of the best places to experience Halloween.

Halloween Haunt Forest of Fear © Canada's Wonderland

November

Santa Claus Parade

📅 November 18, 2018

Every year, locals kick off the holidays with the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade. It’s a century-old city tradition where families, friends, and residents gather somewhere along the six-kilometer (3.7-mile) route to cheer the parade.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA © Tourism Toronto

Cavalcade of Lights

📅 November 24, 2018

Another city event that marks the beginning of the festive season in Toronto is the Cavalcade of Lights. Locals gather to witness the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree in a spectacular ice skating party with fireworks and performers.

December

The Toronto Christmas Market

📅 November 15–December 23, 2018

For the ninth year running, Toronto’s Distillery District recreates the holiday magic and romance of a traditional European Christmas market. It’s one of the top 10 holiday markets in the world; highlights include one of the city’s largest real Christmas trees, festive drinks, locally produced goods, unique gifts from around the world, as well as tasty European and Canadian food.

Festive treats © Toronto Christmas Market

One of a Kind Show

📅 November–December 2018 (dates to be announced)

As one of North America’s largest craft shows, since its creation in 1975, the One of a Kind Show has celebrated bringing the community together for a truly unique shopping experience. This holiday market connects hundreds of talented artisans with people who love handcrafted items, quality and buying local.