While days at the cottage and trips to local resorts are great, sometimes it’s nice to stick around the city in the summer. And if your family is a fan of live entertainment, shopping and food on a stick, there’s no better way to spend a weekend then at a street festival.
But with so many options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming. So to help you out, we’ve rounded up 10 of the top street festivals in Toronto and organized them by date, so that you can be better plan your summer.
1. Dundas West Street Fest dundaswestfest.ca
June 1 & 2
Lansdowne Ave to Ossington Ave along Dundas St West
While the fun (and food) starts on Friday, June 1, at 6pm, you’ll want to bring the family over on June 2 when the Kids Zone takes over 1525 Dundas St W. In addition to free African drum and hip-hop dance workshops, there will also be live performances by kid musicians.
2. Highland Creek Heritage Festival hchf.ca
Saturday, June 16
Morrish Rd and Old Kingston Rd
One of oldest parts of Scarborough celebrates its history at this daylong event. Keeping with the theme, there’s a classic car show and musical performances from several local groups and organizations. There will also plenty of modern elements too, including inflatables and rides for the kids.
3. Pride Street Festival pridetoronto.com
June 23 & June 24
Charles St to Dundas St East along Church St
One of Toronto’s biggest festivals can be a little overwhelming at times and its street festival is no exception. Thankfully Family Pride, located at the Church St Public School, is an oasis of relative calm. There you’ll find family-friendly performances, face painting and a place to sit and check out all the free swag you’ve collected.
4. Fairbank Summerfest fairbanksummerfest.ca
June 23 & June 24
Ronald St to Dufferin St along Eglington Ave W
Not up for battling the crowds at Pride? Then head over to Fairbank where you’ll find Eglinton Ave W transformed with food, rides and a foosball tournament that’s open to all ages and skill levels. There’s also a pet idol contest that’s sure to put a smile on your family’s face.
5. Big On Bloor bigonbloorfestival.com
Lansdowne Avenue to Dufferin Ave along Bloor St
A section of Bloor St goes car-free from noon to midnight for this arts-focused festival. After you’ve checked out original works of art, stop by the Play Fair, which last year featured bouncy castles, exotic animals and the chance to “walk” on water while inside a giant ball.
6. Taste of the Danforth tasteofthedanforth.com
Broadview Ave to Jones Ave along Danforth Ave
Got a foodie in the family? Then a visit to Canada’s biggest street festival is a must-do. Now in its 25th year, Taste of the Danforth lets you sample dozens of different foods for $6 or less a serving. Once everyone is full, play a game at the sports zone, dance to some authentic Greek music and maybe break a plate or two.
7. Festival of South Asia gerrardindiabazaar.com
August 18 & August 19
Glenside Ave to Coxwell Ave along Gerrard St
Join over 250,000 visitors in Toronto’s Little India for Ontario’s largest South Asian street festival. Performances by a wide variety of singers and dancers will keep your family entertained while vendors serving everything from biryani rice to samosas to masala fries will keep their bellies full. There will also be cloga, a unique combination of yoga and clowning.
8. Toronto Chinatown Festival chinatownbia.com
August 18 & August 19
West side of Spadina Ave between St. Andrew St and Sullivan St
Kids will love all the colour and action found at this downtown festival. Watch a lion dance, see Kung Fu masters show their skills and enjoy performances from a mix of traditional and contemporary Chinese performers. And yes, there will be lots and lots of food.
9. Cabbagetown Festival cabbagetownto.com
September 8 & September 9
Wellesely St to Gerrard St along Parliament St and Carlton St from Ontario St to Parliament St
Since the first day of fall isn’t until September 22, we think we’re good to include a couple of September festivals on this list, especially when they’re as fun as the Cabbagetown Festival. Last’s free Kid Zone featured a reptile show, magic acts and every kid’s favourite attractions: Inflatables.
10. Roncesvalles Polish Festival polishfestival.ca
September 15 & 16
Wrap up your summer street festival season out in the West End. Spread over 18 blocks, the Roncesvalles Polish Festival features buskers, games, midway rides and of course lots of pierogis. And parents, there’s also a giant beer garden and free vodka sampling.
Feature photo credit: dundaswestfest.ca