The start of August is that time in the summer where a lot of us start to panic at how fast the warmer months have skipped by. It’s the time where we vow to not waste any more time and really take full advantage of the summer before it’s over and the leaves start to change color. Luckily, maximizing the latter part of the summer in Toronto is easy since there are so many events and activities happening across the city, making it easy to feel like you’re packing as much as you possibly can in.
Get ready for a busy August because here are 10 of the best events happening this month in Toronto, from food to beer to the chance to shop hyper-local.
SummerWorks (August 4-14)
SummerWorks is back and it’s where you have the chance to choose from over 500 artists, performing in over 60 performance projects. Now in its 26th year, SummerWorks is Canada’s largest curated performance festival of theatre, dance, music and live art. The hardest part is choosing what to see over the 11-day fest, but you can be sure that no matter where your artistic interests lie, there will be something interesting to see.
Summer Sixteen Pop-Up Market (August 7)
The Bram & Bluma Salon at the Toronto Reference Library will host the Summer Sixteen Pop-Up Market, brought to you by the Toronto Urban Collective. This is your chance to shop local and support Toronto’s independent designers, artists, crafters and makers of all kinds. In addition to shopping, there will be live music as well as food and drink on offer.
Toronto Vegan Food and Drink Festival (August 13)
Sample some of the best meatless and dairy-free eats the city has to offer at this summer’s Vegan Food and Drink Festival happening at Garrison Fort York Common. Everything you see will be 100 percent vegan and you can expect delicious dishes from Doomie’s (of the infamous vegan big mac), Yam Chops, Sweet Hart Kitchen, Animal Liberation Kitchen and many more. There will also be live music and craft beer, wine and spirits.
Pan American Food Festival (August 13-14)
The focus of the Pan American Food Festival is to celebrate the cultural diversity of the 41 countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, plus an added spotlight on one country each year. The festival takes place at Yonge-Dundas Square where you’ll get to experience food demonstrations by international chefs, two food competitions, an outdoor musical stage with live performances, loads of kids’ activities and of course, Pan American food vendors and food trucks
Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival (August 14)
Get your late summer craft beer fix at the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, hosted by Steam Whistle Brewing in Roundhouse Park. The popular fest features only beers from Ontario craft brewers and a few of this year’s lineup includes Redline Brewhouse, High Park Brewery, Railway City Brewing, Left Field Brewery, Brimstone Brewing Company and Old Flame Brewing Co. among many others. Fill up in between craft beer samples with eats courtesy of food trucks, some of which include Gorilla Cheese, Bombero’s Gourmet Nachos, Canuck Pizza Truck, Rome' N Chariot and feasTO.
Sail-In Cinema (August 18-20)
There are many opportunities to watch movies outdoors all summer in Toronto, but none quite as unique as Sail-In Cinema which sees Sugar Beach transformed into Toronto’s largest outdoor movie theatre. The screen itself is actually two-sided, set atop a barge in Toronto Harbour making it possible to either watch movies on land from Sugar Beach, or from a boat on Lake Ontario. If you’re watching on land, there’s no seating provided so bring something to sit on. This year, watch Hook on the 18th, Jumanji on the 19th and The Princess Bride on the 20th.The event gets more and more popular each hear.
In 2015 over 11,000 people watching on land and over 100 boats showed up over three days.
Hot & Spicy Food Festival (August 19-21)
Some like it hot and if you’re one of them make your way to Harbourfront Centre for the annual Hot & Spicy Food Festival which puts the focus on spicy cuisines from around the world. This year the spotlight is on the Lower Mississippi River and some of the tongue-tingling foods of the Deep South. This year you can have fun at the barbeque competition happening on Saturday the 20th as well as enjoy entertainment courtesy of a few fun performers like the Treme Brass Band, a marching brass band from New Orleans, Sizzle!
Love Letters Cabaret and seven-piece Toronto band, Yuka.
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) (August 19-September 5)
One of the best ways to usher in the end of August is to pay a visit to the CNE, the annual fun fair filled with rides, games, performances, food and so much more. The CNE has something for everyone, from thrill-seekers and shoppers, to families, foodies and beer-lovers. In addition to the aforementioned rides, performances and games, sip beer at the Craft Beer Festival and feast at the Food Truck Frenzy or the food building, which always showcases a few new, fun and interesting foods each year.
TAIWANfest (August 26-28)
Harbourfront Centre celebrates Taiwan each summer with the vibrant, always exciting TAIWANfest, which includes cooking demonstrations, family events and live music by popular Taiwanese artists. Taiwan is a unique nation with so many unique facets and each year the festival delves into a different aspect through various themes, events and activities.
Toronto Cider Festival (August 27)
No longer content to take a back seat to beer, cider is surging in popularity in Toronto with new brands popping up at the LCBO, a dedicated cider bar in Her Father’s Cider Bar & Kitchen and more and bars choosing to stock interesting ciders. Sip and sample over 30 different ciders from across Canada and around the world at Toronto Cider Festival happening at Yonge-Dundas Square. There will also be food trucks on site, a cottage-inspired lounging area and live entertainment.