With a new season comes new beginnings, and plenty of new gems to unearth in Toronto. Between fresh food fests and perennial favourites like the High Park cherry blossoms, there's no shortage of ways to shake off winter and explore the city.
New This Year
Wild Things Festival
There's a new player in the wine/beer/cider festival game in the city with the Wild Things Festival on June 9. Just in time for sipping season, this two-session fest showcases all things wild and fermented including some funky brews and low-intervention wines.
Bentway Summer Bash
Toronto's new space under the Gardiner Expressway will shed its skating trail for some warm weather programming with The Bentway Summer Bash on from June 8 to 30. Details are still scarce, but expect a whole lot of outdoor festivities in this reclaimed space.
There can never be enough festivals, especially if they involve food. Luckily, this year brings us another one: the Toronto Sandwich Festival on April 22 is a full day of tastings and even a sandwich design competition.
Indigenous Fashion Week
From Nunavut to Greenland, 23 artists are coming together from May 31 until June 3 to present a showcase of Indigenous-made fashion, textiles and craft. There will also be a market place featuring Indigenous female artists from Canada and beyond.
Miracles do happen and dreams can come true. There's still lots of time to check out the immensely popular exhibition at the AGO here until May 27. The gallery also carries a limited number of same-day, timed tickets up for grabs. Good luck!
The Ontario Provincial Election
Exercising your democratic right is always in season. This year, PC candidate Doug Ford and the NDP's Andrea Horwath will face off with incumbent Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. Register now, if you haven’t already, and become familiar with your nearest polling station before the election on June 7.
Cherry Blossoms in High Park
Visiting the Japanese cherry trees in High Park are a quintessential Toronto spring activity. They're the gift that keeps on giving! Expect them to begin blossoming mid-April and be in peak bloom by the end of the month.
A sure sign of spring is large lines of people outside the Hot Docs cinema on Bloor Street. This year's festival runs from April 26 to May 6 and boasts a healthy dose of female-focused films and the world premiere of a film featuring our beloved TTC streetcars.
Contact Photography Festival
Contact is back for another year bringing photography to the masses. This month-long festival begins on May 1 and will see works by hundreds of photographers showcased in venues all over the city.
Toronto Flower Market
The first day of the Toronto Flower Market is back behind the Shaw Street CAMH location just in time for Mother's Day on May 12. The full list of dates isn't available yet, but one can expect another exciting season full of beautiful, locally-sourced flowers.
Doors Open Toronto
Toronto will get a spring airing out as Doors Open is on May 26 and 27. Explore inside some of the city's most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings.
One of the year's biggest arts and culture festivals is set to take over venues and public spaces all over Toronto, infusing the city with art, music, dance, theatre and film from June 6 to 24. Best of all, some of the events are free!
Taste of Little Italy
Soppressata is in the air as College Street transforms into the massive street festival known as Taste of Little Italy. Spread out between Bathurst and Shaw Streets from June 15 to 17, tons of vendors will be on hand to serve up authentic Italian grub from nearby local businesses.
It’s the time of year for Ryerson University’s School of Fashion graduating class to put on one last show, known as Mass Exodus. This year’s fashion show on April 4 is centred around a critical approach to social issues within the fashion industry.
Spring means art fairs galore all over the city. There are plenty of opportunities to check out local art makers and vendors beginning with Toronto Art Crawl on April 8, then Artfest and the Waterfront Artisan Market on May 19, followed by the Riverdale Artwalk on June 2.
There's a lot of art you won't find hanging in any major gallery. The Images Festival, on from April 12 to 20, looks to showcase the work of local and national independent artists, photographers and filmmakers all around the city.
Coffee & Tea Expo
After the success of last year, the Coffee & Tea Expo is back at Evergreen Brickworks on April 14 and 15. Tons of local vendors are set to show off their best beans and freshest tea leafs for the beverage lover in all of us.
Fashion Art Toronto
It's called fashion, honey. Look it up when Fashion Art Toronto begins on April 17, until the 21. If you've ever been one to wonder how a dress made out of garbage bags makes it to the runway, FAT is the place to check out high fashion works in their rawest form.
AGO's annual, late-night spring bash Massive Illusion on April 19 is set to transform the gallery into a kaleidoscopic dreamworld inspired by the visiting Infinity Mirrors exhibition.
Record Store Day
For the vinyl lovers out there, everyday is Record Store Day. But on April 21, indie record stores across Toronto will be sharing in festivities and celebrating the occasion with other record stores across the world.
This has been a technology-heavy year thus far, and Digifest gives an opportunity to find out more about AI, gaming and emerging advances and trends as experts from around the world flock to Toronto from April 26 to 28.
GradEx comes but once a year, showcasing hundreds of graduate works from artists beginning their journey into the creative field. The four-day event takes place from May 3 to 6 across several of OCAD's galleries.
Paddle the Don
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to canoe through the heart of the city, now might be your chance as Paddle the Don is happening on May 6. It serves as a fundraiser in support of The Living City Foundation.
Canadian Music Week
Canadian musical talents take centre stage at venues all over the city from May 7 to 13. There will also be plenty of acts flocking to Toronto from around the world to participate in the week-long celebration that includes the iHeartRadio Fanfest on May 11.
Toronto Kpop Con
Last year's flooding of Toronto Island saw Electric Island spread out at venues throughout the city. This year, the electro music fest returns to its rightful home on Hanlan's Point for five dates starting on May 20.
The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival is like Pitch Perfect in real life. A celebration of all things acappella music, the festival runs from May 23 to June 2 and will feature some international heavy hitters in singing.
Inside Out Film Fest
Representation of all kinds in film has been a big topic as of late, making festivals like Inside Out even more necessary. The festival, dedicated to highlighting the works of LGBTQ films and film makers, runs from May 24 to June 3 this year.
A celebration of all things anime, manga, music and games, this massive three-day convention is on from May 25 to 27 — still plenty of time to decide which character to cosplay this year.
CBC Music Festival
The recently announced lineup has the one-day, all-Canadian festival headlined by July Talk. A Tribe Called Red, Charlotte Day Wilson and others will join them, performing on May 26 during a full day packed with food trucks over at Echo Beach.
Walk the streets of Kensington Market car-free again this year as Pedestrian Sundays celebrates 15 glorious years, beginning on May 27 and landing on the last Sunday of each month until October 28.
The Power Plant gets a reckoning with the 20th edition of the massive art party and fundraiser that is Power Ball on May 31. This year's theme is carousal, so prepare for a high-flying carnivalesque experience.
Dundas West Fest
Overtaking Dundas West, from Ossington Street to Landsdowne Avenue, this completely free neighbourhood festival on June 1 and 2 has grown to include an extra day of festivities including music, art, street food and dancing in the street.
Ahhh, Field Trip. Taking place in the heart of downtown, Field Trip has amassed quite a following among music lovers. This year's lineup features Metric, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Alvvays, taking place on June 2 and 3.
After a two-year, self-imposed experiment in the Port Lands, NXNE is back to being spread out among music venues all around Toronto, from June 8 to 17. A huge, free festival in Yonge and Dundas Square happens during the final three days.
Session Craft Beer Festival
It's that time of year to break out the suds. But who wants just any suds? There's a craft beer festival in Dundas Square on June 9 with locally-sourced brews available as part of Ontario Craft Beer Week.
Stop Night Market
Finally an chance to shop and eat for a good cause as The Stop Community Food Centre brings back its Night Market for another year. Expect art installations and performances spread out over two warm, late spring evenings on June 12 and 13.
Take in all things Mexican at this year’s Taco Fest from June 15 to 17. It’s definitely got a lot more than just tacos on the menu, with a margarita and sangria bar, hot sauce tastings, and a mariachi band.
Overtaking both the Church and Wellesley Village and West Queen West on June 16, Nuit Rose enlists hundreds of local and international artists from the LGBTQ community for a one-day art extravaganza.
Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival
Visiting the Toronto Islands is always a good time. It’s even better if you happen to catch the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival on June 16 and 17. There’ll be races through the lagoons all day, coupled with food and an artisan market.
Activities you can do all spring long
Go for a hike
Hiking in Toronto just got better as our trail system became connected to The Great Trail, North America's longest trail that now runs right through the city via the Waterfront Trail, the Don Valley, and the Rouge.
Discover Toronto's ravine system
Recently ranked one of the greenest cities in the world, it should come as no surprise Toronto is home to a lush and extensive ravine system, much of which can be explored without having to leave the city.
Drink at Toronto's newest breweries
Toronto is a city of brews and already a handful of new ones have sprouted up since the beginning of the year. Breweries to try out include Brunswick Bierworks, Junction Craft Brewing, People's Pint, Brickworks Ciderhouse and The Six Brewing Co.
Shop at a farmers market
The start of spring means farmers market season. It's easy to shop local and pick up fresh fruits, veggies and more from Toronto's farmers markers happening all over the city. There's one every day of the week.
Bike the city
Slowly but surely, Toronto is becoming more bike friendly. Participate in Bike to Work Day during Bike Month all throughout May or shop for a new or used ride at the city's local bikes shops and make the most of the city's ever-growing network of bike paths.
Go for a run
Lace up and test your endurance in support of a good cause at one of the marathons happening this spring, including the Race Roster Spring Run-Off, Colour Me Rad, Toronto Waterfront 10k, the Goodlife Marathon, Sporting Life 10k, and Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart.
Cheer on the local team
The time for hibernation is over and that means getting hyped for the start of the season for many Toronto sports teams. Cheer on any one of the city's teams like the Jays, TFC, Raps, Leafs, or Wolfpack. Cheer on yourself, too. You deserve it.
If fishing is your thing, spring is the time for it. Active Salmon populations can be found in parts of Lake Ontario and the opening of the Humber River rainbow trout season officially begins April 4.
Take a spin at Toronto's new race track
by Lisa Power via blogTO