Spring in Toronto is one of the best times to visit, or if you live here, one of the best times to spend time in the city. Whether you’re planning a visit or just want a few things to look forward to as the spring season approaches, there’s a lot to get excited about. Here are some of the best.
Exploring Toronto’s neighbourhoods – minus the winter gear
Toronto is a city made up of amazingly diverse and eclectic neighbourhoods, each offering something different.
But exploring them, whether for the first time or the twentieth, isn’t always fun in the winter. It can be, but come spring, there’s nothing like wandering through Kensington Market or the Distillery District on warm day with the sun shining as you meander through shops and cafes.
Cherry blossoms in High Park
One of the things Toronto always gets excited for in the spring is the arrival of the Sakura cherry blossoms in High Park. Each year, around late April or early May, various areas of the west end park explode into pops of pale pink as the cherry blossoms go into peak bloom. They usually bloom for a short two weeks and attract hordes of onlookers. But it’s worth it – the trees in full bloom are gorgeous.
Being in parks in general
Toronto is blessed with many great parks of all sizes and though parks under a pile of snow can be fun, it’s the spring when you can really appreciate all of the greenspace we have here.
Walking through a park on one of the first truly warm spring days always feels like a cause for celebration.
Farmers’ markets get rolling
Starting around May, Toronto’s many farmers’ markets start to get rolling and after winter’s dearth of seasonal, quality produce, it’s pretty exciting to finally start seeing local goods on offer.
Even year round farmers’ markets open up and expand quite a bit in the spring and summer.
Festivals start up
In addition to farmers’ markets, once spring rolls around, you can expect festivals of all kinds to start up. There are of course, more festivals in the summer, but some to add to your calendar in the spring include Dundas West Fest (June 11), Riverside Eats and Beats (June 4), Spring Bird Festival at Tommy Thompson Park (May 14) and the Mississauga Waterfront Festival (June 17-19).
There’s no doubt it, Toronto is a city obsessed with eating and drinking outdoors so it’s a happy day in the city when tables and chairs start popping up outside. As soon as it’s remotely warm enough for eating al fresco, patio space becomes premium real estate no matter where you find yourself in the city.
What better way to celebrate spring that with some live music? Spring in Toronto is a great time for music fans with several festivals happening, including Canadian Music Week (May 2-8), NXNE (June 15-19), Field Trip (June 4-5) and CBC Music Festival (May 28).
Victoria Day fireworks
Nothing says spring like a sky full of fireworks and there’s no shortage of spots to watch them on Victoria Day weekend in Toronto.
The May long weekend, the weekend that really kicks off spring in the city, boasts ample firework-watching opportunities, in particular at Ashbridges Bay and at Canada’s Wonderland.
If you’re looking for something interesting to do in the spring in Toronto, Luminato Festival will have you covered. The annual celebration of art in all its forms brings some of the most unique cultural events to the city and has, since its inception, commissioned over 66 new works of art and featured 7,500 artists from 40 countries.
Another reason spring in Toronto is something to look forward to is Doors Open, the chance to take a peek inside over 100 of Toronto’s most significant buildings and heritage sites. Get to know buildings you might not otherwise get the chance to see for yourself at the free event that happens every May.
Toronto’s Doors Open is the largest in Canada and one of the three largest Doors Open in the world.
Toronto starts to bloom
When spring really springs, as in buds begin to pop and flower start unfolding, it’s as if the city breathes a collective sigh of relief. Whether you’re walking through High Park to check out the cherry blossoms, visiting the Toronto Botanical Gardens, wandering around Allen Gardens or seeing what’s in bloom at Casa Loma Gardens, there are plenty of chances to see the city in bloom.
Spring food festivals
Spring in Toronto is also a great time to sample some amazing food. As the weather starts warming up, we start seeing food festivals become a fixture on weekends. Bring your appetite to the Toronto Food and Drink Market (April 8-10), Brewers plate (May 18), Toronto Life Best New Restaurants 2016 (April 7) and Toronto Taste (June 12).
Spring runs and marathons
Spring is a great time to get active and if you’re a runner you know that with warmer weather comes more opportunities to race, often for a good cause. Some options include Spring Run-Off (April 9), Goodlife Toronto Marathon (May 1), Sporting Life 10K (May 8), MEC Race Two (April 10) and Spring Fling Toronto (June 12).
Film fans have reason to get excited as spring arrives. The city gets its fair share of film festivals as the spring season begins. The Hot Docs Festival (April 28-May 8), TIFF Kids Film Festival (April 8-24), Food on Film (on now to June 29) and Books on Film (March 7-June 27) are just a few options to check out in the city.
Taking a trip to the Islands
The Toronto Islands are desolate in the winter (though still worth a visit) and jam-packed in the summer (with good reason). Spring though, is a bit of a sweet spot when it comes to visiting since the weather is warming up so it’s pleasant to explore on foot or on a bike, but peak business on the Islands hasn’t hit yet.