Thanks to the Pan Am Games, summertime in Toronto is about to get even better. Coming this July and August, the Games are bringing new festivals, activities and tourists into the city, with hundreds of events happening in almost every neighbourhood. Of course, annual traditions like Shakespeare in the Park and free outdoor movies are taking place all summer long, along with some exciting new ones like Panamania and other free music concerts.
One of Toronto’s best cultural festivals, Luminato is back this month for 10 days of performance art, music and exhibits hidden around the city. It’s a festival to overwhelm your senses with sequins, dancing and everything else you can imagine. June 19-28.
Free outdoor movies
There’s nothing better than watching a movie under the stars. With weekly screenings all summer long, you can take in a flick or two almost every single night. Cult classics by the lake at Harbourfront, Hollywood faves at Yonge-Dundas Square, grab your popcorn (and lawn chair) and enjoy a free screening as the sun goes down. Here’s a list of free outdoor movies around the city.
Panamania is a 35-day arts and cultural festival in conjunction with the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. There’s over 250 daily performances and exhibits with both free and ticketed events. Happening July and August at Nathan Phillips Square, The Distillery and the Pan Am Park by the Waterfront.
Shakespeare in the Park
William Shakespeare’s evening in the park is another summertime tradition in the city. It’s usually pay-what-you-can (and worth every dime) for an unforgettable evening of theatrical comedy and tragedy under the trees.
Here is what’s playing this season:
High Park Outdoor Amphitheatre: The Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar, July 02-Sept 06.
Withrow Park: Hamlet, July 21-26.
Kew Gardens (Beaches): Hamlet, June 16-23.
The TD Toronto Jazz Festival kicks off from June 18-29 with 10 days of the biggest names in jazz. The festivities take place around Nathan Phillips Square and other venues like Koerner Hall. Later in the summer, the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival brings crowds to the east end for the dynamic street festival and night fair. There’s even a farmers market jazz series happening at the Leslieville Farmers’ Market and the East Lynn Park Market. The sweet music begins July 10-26.
Harbourfront in the summer is like no other place in Toronto. There are so many activities and festivals in this neighbourhood by the water, it’s hard to keep up. Mark your calendars for the Lakeview Pop-Up Market (June 20-Sept 7), Funky Fridays (groove and eat by top Toronto chefs), and FLAUNT (wearable art and fashion festival, July 24-26). Of course, there’s also free outdoors flicks every Wednesday and holiday fireworks.
What are your favourite outdoor events in Toronto?
Photo by Ricky Yu, Facebook