Somehow, every summer seems to go by faster than the one before it. Just as you’re praising the fact it’s warm enough to sit on a patio, it’s suddenly the middle of August and you can’t look into a store window without seeing sweaters and boots. If you’re not ready to see summer come to a close, you can prolong the season by packing as much as you can into the end of it – a pretty easy thing to do in Toronto thanks to so many end of season events happening.
With that in mind here are 11 end of summer events and activities to check out in Toronto.
1. Watch: Movies under the stars
You just have a couple more chances of catching a free flick under the stars before summer winds down. And if you have yet to experience an outdoor movie in the city, it’s a great way to spend a late summer evening. Here are a few:
- City Cinema at Yonge-Dundas Square: Tommy Boy (August 23), Airplane and Dracula: Dead & Loving it (August 30)
- Sail-In Cinema: Hook (August 18), Jumanji (August 18), The Princess Bride (August 20)
- Free Flicks at Harbourfront: Sense & Sensibility (August 24), Audience choice between Gravity, The King's Speech or Slumdog Millionaire (August 31)
2. Sweat: Hot and Spicy Food Festival
For anyone who likes spicy foods, the annul Hot and Spicy Food Festival is a fun (and fiery) way to cap off the summer. Happening at Harbourfront Centre August 19-21, the free festival will include music, live performances and of course, lots of hot and spicy food to test your tongue’s tolerance for heat.
Each year the festival puts the spotlight on a different area of the world so no matter how many years in a row you attend the fest, you’ll likely get to try something new.
3. Stretch: Free yoga at Harbourfront (and elsewhere)
Summer is an incredible time to get some yoga into your life for free with the plethora of outdoor classes that happen around the city.
While classes are winding down there’s still a few chances to participate in an outdoor summer class. All you need to do is bring a mat and some water and find a spot to set up for an hour of yoga poses in the park.
- Harbourfront: August 23 & 30 from 7 to 8 p.m.
- Dufferin Grove Park: August 21 & 28 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
- High Park: Sundays through to September 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. (suggested donation of $5)
4. Listen: Free music outdoors
End your summer in style by taking advantage of some of the free outdoor music happening in the city. Summer Music in the Garden takes place at the Toronto Music Garden Sundays at 4 p.m. and Thursdays at 7 p.m. through to September 18. Or you can make your way to Yonge-Dundas Square for Indie Fridays happening August 19 and 26 and September 2.
5. Move: Dancing on the Pier
Dust off your dancing shoes, (and your best moves) and find a few dance partners for Dancing on the Pier, happening at Harbourfront August 18 and 25 and September 1. A different style of music is the focus each week at the free event so you can experiment with various types of dance, from swing to tango. Dancing happens Thursdays from 7 to 10 p.m.
6. Celebrate: Head to an end of summer festival
Summer in Toronto is packed with festivals of all kinds and though they’re winding down, expect a few more before summer is out, including TaiwanFest (August 26-28), TamilFest (August 26-28), Hispanic Fiesta (September 2-5) and Buskerfest (September 2-5).
7. Eat: Food Truck Frenzy
Get your food truck fix before summer is over with a trip to Food Truck Frenzy, happening August 26 to 28 on the CNE grounds just inside the historic Princes’ Gates. Some of the food trucks you can look forward to ordering dishes from include Hogtown Smoke, Fit to Grill, Curbalicious, Bacon Nation, Made in Brazil and Burgatory to name just a few.
8. Drink: Beer and cider fests
Also happening on the CNE grounds alongside Food Truck Frenzy will be Craft Beer Fest wherein 12 craft breweries will be on hand with samples to share, some of which include Wellington, Old Tomorrow, Beaus All Natural, Big Rock and Creemore Springs.
If you’re more of a cider fan, you can head to Yonge-Dundas Square August 27 for the Toronto Cider Festival. Some of the ciders you can look forward to sipping include Spirit Tree, Pommies, Brickworks, Magners, Thornbury and Double Trouble.
9. Art: Artfest and Kensington Market Art Fair
Summer in Toronto is also a good time to explore art outdoors. Two ways to do that before summer ends include Artfest Toronto at the Distillery happening September 2-5 and Kensington Market Art Fair happening August 28. The Kensington Market Art Fair also runs into the fall on September 25 and October 30
10. Get wet: Beaches and pools
If you haven’t spent as much time on or near the water yet this summer, you still have some time to enjoy Toronto’s many beaches and outdoor pools. There are several beautiful stretches of sand on Lake Ontario where you can set up shop with a blanket, play some beach volleyball or take a cooling dip. In addition, when it comes to cooling off in a pool you also have lots of opportunities thanks to the City of Toronto’s 57 outdoor pools, most of which stay open until September 4 or 5.
11. Indulge: The Sweetery Toronto Food Festival
Have a sweet tooth or know someone who does? You might want to consider a visit to the Sweetery Toronto Food Festival with its focus on all things – sweet, from baked goods and beverages, to ice cream to ice pops. The second annul festival takes place August 20-21 at David Pecaut Square and admission is free. Some of this year’s vendors offering sweet and tasty treats include Bake Three Fifty, Cool Beans, Chill Pops, Smitten, Pleasantville Creamery and Golden Crumb Biscuit to name a few.