This year is Canada’s 150th birthday, and Toronto is pulling out all the stops when it comes to celebrating. To mark the occasion, the city is hosting a wide assortment of festivals to delight visitors and locals alike. Whether you’re interested in food, music, art, or design, here are six upcoming festivals to help celebrate Canada’s historic anniversary.
1. Canadian Music Week
Founded three and a half decades ago as a way to bring top musical acts and fans together, this 5-day festival in downtown Toronto features over 800 bands playing at more than 40 live venues scattered throughout the city. Think of it as the Great White North’s version of Coachella.
The event begins on April 18, and will include a special ceremony to honor the legendary Canadian rock group RUSH with a Humanitarian Spirit award for their longstanding career and their dedication to social activism.
2. Toronto Newcomer Day
As Toronto celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary, a new generation of citizens is making the city their home. To mark the occasion, Nathan Phillips Square will hold a colorful third annual festival on May 15 to welcome these newest residents.
In additional to live entertainment and family activities, the event will includes a special citizenship ceremony that should be especially moving in light of the country’s historic birthday. Held in the center of downtown, this free outdoor fair is open to everyone.
3. Doors Open Toronto
There’s no better way to get to know a city than to physically explore it, and this annual festival (now in its 18th year) offers rare access to many of the most important architectural sites in all of Toronto. In honor of Canada’s historic birthday, the theme this year is “Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture.”
From May 27 to 28, more than 150 culturally, socially and artistically significant buildings around Toronto will open their doors, granting visitors unprecedented entry into the very heart of the city. Guided tours throughout the weekend will highlight the fascinating evolution of Canadian architecture since the country’s founding.
4. Luminato Festival
Launched in 2007, this ten-day celebration of the arts has become one of Toronto’s most exciting annual events. This year, more than 800,000 festival-goers will gather in the city to experience new and vibrant works of art from around the world. From painting and sculpture to theater and film, all types of creativity are represented at the Luminato Festival, which runs from June 14 to 25.
Previous years have included performances by famed musician David Byrne, and new literary works from celebrated author Neil Gaiman, so don’t miss out on the surprises that 2017 holds in store.
5. Taste of Toronto
Food and celebrating go hand-in-hand, which is why there’s no better way to ring in Canada’s birthday than with the country’s premier foodie event. Beginning on June 15, this four-day festival highlights Toronto’s most amazing restaurants and the chefs who make them special.
Held outdoors at Garrison Common in Fort York, Taste of Toronto offers hungry visitors the chance to sample some of the city’s boldest flavors, while enjoying live cooking demonstrations and masterful mixology lessons. Rain or shine, the festival attracts more than 25,000 visitors, each with an appetite for fun.
6. Canada Day Festival Celebration
Held at Nathan Phillips Square, near Toronto’s City Hall, this four-day festival is sure to be Canada’s ultimate birthday party. Combining live music and dance performances, cultural and artistic programs, and family-friendly activities, the Canada Day Festival Celebration will unite the city like never before.
Open from June 30 to July 3, the event is designed to honor the country’s 150 year anniversary, while highlighting its modern diversity, and will culminate with a dazzling fireworks show at Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square.
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