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Five Summer Festivals to check out in Toronto

The biggest city in Canada doesn’t rest on its laurels, especially in summer. Toronto buzzes with action from every corner and alley; the downtown core is filled with dozens of festivals. With over twenty festivals planned for the summer of 2023, you can rest assured that the city has one from every community in the GTA guaranteed to make your days off fun and adventurous.

We handpicked a few festivals to suit your artistic, culinary, and intellectual side. Try out a few this summer, and get ready to explore the GTA like never before.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival

Considered North America’s biggest, the Caribbean occurs annually in Toronto. Since 1967, the Toronto Caribbean Festival has attracted local, regional, national, and international attention. Because of COVID-19, the festival experienced a brief hiatus. Nevertheless, the festival is back in full swing for 2023; masquerading colorful costumes, the floats wind their way down from Exhibition Place all the way to Lake Shore Boulevard. Admission to the parade is free. This year marks the parade’s 56th anniversary, which is locally organized by the local Caribbean community in Toronto.

Location: Exhibition Place and Lakeshore Boulevard

Dates: August 3-7, 2023

Taste of Asia

Taste of Asia is the largest food festival in Canada. Asian food lovers must explore this three-day festival, featuring various cuisines from various Asian lands, from China to India, Thailand to Pakistan. The festival was first introduced during the 2003 SARS outbreak to boost the local economy. Heading into its 20th anniversary, the festival has garnered increasing interest from the local community, pledging to bring more cultural diversity to the GTA. With over 150 food vendors, the festival features traditional performances with artists from the local community. The community-inspiring speeches celebrating Canada’s diversity are another bonus of the festival.

Location: Kennedy & Steeles

Dates: June 23-25, 2023

Toronto Jazz Festival

Since 1987, the Toronto Jazz Festival has continued to draw crowds from all corners of Canada and the world. The festival is one of the greatest events, not just for music lovers, but also for some of the world’s best jazz celebrities. The festival stages are spread across multiple indoor and outdoor venues. The Toronto City Council endorses the Toronto Jazz Festival and a host of international artists, sponsors, and partners, reinforcing Canada’s artistic and cultural excellence. This year’s festival includes artists like Ashanti, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, and other renowned jazz celebrities.  

Location: Downtown Toronto

Dates: June 23-July 2, 2023

AlohaFest Toronto

The AlohaFest is one of the few places in Toronto to sample the exquisite tastes, sounds, and sights of Hawaii and Polynesia. Celebrating Polynesian art and culture, the AlohaFest has a host of musical dance performances and shows, along with fun kids’ crafts and games, complemented by a variety of souvenirs uniquely sold at its marketplace. Not to be missed is the range of local Hawaiian recipes and Canadian food sold at the many food stalls. 

Location: Mel Lastman Square

Date: July 29, 2023

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Showcasing the most remarkable talents among Canadian and international comic book creators, the festival features book signings, author appearances, and a wide range of events promoting the literary and artistic merits of comics and graphic novels. Held at the Toronto reference library, the festival has over 300 exhibitors, spotlighting artists, publishers, and creators from Europe and North America. It also includes talks, speeches, classic Q&As, workshops, and kid-specific events.

Location: Toronto Reference Library 

Dates: April 29-30, 2023

David Messiha | Staff Writer 

Spring 2024

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