8 Of The Best Toronto Festivals This Summer

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Toronto Festivals To Head To This Summer

A global, diverse metropolis, Toronto’s got a lot more to do than just edge-walking the roof of the CN Tower (although that looks cool). Often overlooked, Canada’s biggest city will be overflowing this summer with legendary beer, music, and cultural festivals. What’s summer without ribs, EDM, or professional drumming? Check out what Toronto Festivals are going on:

1. Caribana

The Peeks Toronto Carribean Festival (affectionately known as Caribana) has a long and storied reputation for being a wild time. Events begin in July, ending with a bang over August Long Weekend. Rooted in Carnival traditions brought to Toronto from Caribbean immigrants, this event has everything: body paint, a masquerade contest, singing, steel drum music, and wicked, wicked costumes.

The largest outdoor festival in North America will have Toronto pulsing with Calypso, Soca, Salsa and Reggae for three weeks. You might come close to losing a tooth in the midst of some swinging limbs, but it’s completely worth it!

Dates: August 2 – 6, 2018
Location: Exhibition Place & Lakeshore Boulevard, 15 Saskatchewan Road, Toronto

2. Dragon Boat Race Festival

Take the thrill of an international rowing race and throw in dragons! On June 16th-17th up to 200 teams from across Canada, the US, Europe, Asia and Caribbean Islands will meet at Toronto Island to compete in the 30th International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

Over 80 local artists and performers show up for outdoor dances and sword shows, as well as a parade with funky floats and other Chinese dragon-themed flare. It’s a rad weekend, but what really bring out the spectators is the heart and grit of the crews.

Dates: June 16-17, 2018
Location: Toronto Centre Island

3. Toronto RibFest

The best ribbers around (and rib-lovers of all stripes) will converge on the week of June 29th-July 1st for some serious rib-game at Toronto RibFest.

While you’re feasting, check out the rib-contest drama, try some axe-throwing, and enjoy sunset fireworks with a belly full of sweet, soft tangy meat. Bring your own bibs!

Dates: June 29 – July 1, 2018
Location: Etobicoke Centennial Park, 256 Centennial Park Road, Toronto

4. Dreams Festival

Photo by Ndekhors of Ded Agency 

EDM on the beach! One of Toronto’s most popular fests, Bud Light Dreams Festival has a laid-back beach-house vibe to go with its electronica.

Join over 25,000 electronic music fans at Echo Beach, Canada Day Weekend for some sweet sensory-overload with all your favourite lesser-known acts.

Dates: une 23-24, 2018
Location: RBC Echo Beach – East island, Ontario Place, Toronto


North by Northeast (NXNE) merges music, gaming and comedy into a packed 10-day fest with hundreds of events in Yonge Dundas Square, Toronto’s city-centre. Performances are held in the square as well as clubs and non-traditional venues all over the city.

It’s like a festival scavenger hunt. 10 days is a commitment, but their lineup has always been a massive mix of legendary acts and soon-to-blow-up diamonds in the rough. Something for everybody.

Dates: June 8 – 17, 2018
Location:  Yonge–Dundas Square, Toronto

6. Toronto’s Festival of Beer

Taste-test over a hundred brews, from independent to big time, local or across the world at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. You can enjoy your classic standbys and get a little adventurous in a chill atmosphere with some top-notch catering.

This year they’re partnering with the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies which should be good fun. This four-day celebration of the cold one is the perfect antidote to sweltering heat.

Dates: July 26-29, 2018
Location: Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place, Toronto

7. Muhtadi International Drum Festival

With over 30 drumming performances with top world musicians at Regent Park, including special guest drummers from Burundi, this fest, founded 18 years ago by percussionist Thomas Muhtadi is the ultimate drumming experience.

This year Muhtadi International Drum Festival features a speed drumming challenge, drum circles, and workshops where you can get your rhythm on. Muhtadi draws in world-wide crowds of tens of thousands, two of whom met and later got married at this very event!

Dates: July 21 – 22, 2018
Location: Regent Park, 600 Dundas Street E, Toronto

8. Caesar Fest

If you’re a Caesar fan, here’s your chance to sample a collection of the best, and wildest, takes on this proudly-Canadian drink at Caesar Fest. Whatever your taste, whether you like a classic, the crazier toppings (think hot-peppers or shrimp) the better, or you’re a Caesar newbie, the experts at Fifth Social Club have got you covered.

They’ve also got a contest with celebrity judges, delicious food, and entertainment.  Learn how to Oyster shuck and take in a Bartender Flare Show while you’re there.

Dates: July 22, 2018
Location: Fifth Social and Rooftop Terrace, Toronto

Toronto should be alive with music, colour and fun this summer, so start making your plans to head to these Toronto Festivals. It’ll be worth the heat! There’s nothing more quintessentially Canadian than hard-partying, multicultural celebrations….and beer, lots of beer.

Related Articles:

The 10 Must-Attend Summer Beer Festivals

5 Of The Best Festivals In Austin, Texas

Feature image credit: dreamsfestival.ca

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Christi Walter

Christi Walter is a freelance writer and editor who calls Canada home. Bit by the travel-bug at a young age, Christi is currently spending time in Japan on a holiday visa. She blogs about her forays into running, among other things, at runlikeacheetahsite.com


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