The Best October Events in Toronto

View of Toronto skyline from lake with seasonal autumn trees
Marius Gomes / Getty Images

The departure of t-shirt weather may signal a frigid Canadian winter to come, but it doesn't compromise the energy of Toronto. Despite the closing of peak tourism season, Thanksgiving and Halloween prompt a busy October for this Ontario city. There will be no shortage of food, drink, festivals, and art events with which to celebrate fall.

In 2020, many events have been altered or canceled. Check the websites of organizers for updated information.

01 of 07

Art Toronto

Art Toronto

 Art Toronto

This international contemporary and modern art fair was founded in 2000 to showcase artwork from leading Canadian and international galleries. It takes place every October at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and has in the past featured 100 exhibitors from eight different countries. Some galleries are new while others return year after year. In 2020, the event will be held online—featuring virtual exhibitions, curated collections, talks, and tours—from October 28 to November 8.

02 of 07

Reelworld Film Festival

Reelworld Film Festival

Reelworld Film Festival 

If you're one for a film that sparks discussion about social issues, Reelworld Film Festival may be worth checking out. Founded in 2001 by Tonya Williams, the unique festival showcases Canadian and international films that delve into important issues. You can expect feature films, shorts, documentaries, music videos, and even virtual reality films. 2020's event, slated for October 14 to 19, will be held virtually, with the full film lineup available for on-demand viewing and informative industry panels held entirely online.

03 of 07

Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship

Matt Stonie at the 2015 World Poutine Eating Championship

 Smoke's Poutinerie

October warrants some serious gluttony on behalf of Smoke's Poutinerie—self-described as Canada's most authentic poutinerie—and its annual World Poutine Eating Championship. It is, in fact, the world's largest poutine eating competition and second largest professional eating competition. 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of the event, which the world-famous Joey Chestnut won again by putting away a record 28 pounds of poutine in just 10 minutes. The action is served up alongside live entertainment, interactive games and, of course, free poutine each fall. In 2020, however, the event has been canceled.

04 of 07

Toronto After Dark

The Shining playing to an empty cinema

Dan Anderson / Flickr

One of two major October holidays—alongside Canadian Thanksgiving—is Halloween, and scary movies abound at Toronto's annual After Dark Film Festival. Leading up to the spooky holiday, this acclaimed festival showcases upwards of 50 new feature films and shorts in the genres of horror, sci-fi, action, and cult. In addition to watching movies, attendees can also participate in Q&As with filmmakers or the popular zombie-themed night. The viewing action typically takes place at the Scotiabank Theatre, but in 2020, it's been postponed to October 14 to 22, 2021.

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05 of 07

Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market

Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market

 Kensington Market

The final Pedestrian Sunday at Kensington Market typically lands on the last weekend of October. This bohemian neighborhood is a hub for creatives and every Sunday through the summer and early fall, it closes parts of Kensington Avenue, Augusta Avenue, Baldwin Street, and St. Andrew Street for an open-air, car-free celebration of poetry, dance, food, art, and more. In 2020, Pedestrian Sundays have been canceled.

06 of 07

Cask Days

Cask Days

Cask Days

October's Cask Days, held at Evergreen Brick Works, features 400-plus beers and ciders from 200 brewers over three days. Cask-conditioned ale is unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated beer that ferments in the barrel until it's almost time to be poured. You can sample it while listening to live music and indulging in complementing culinary delights. In 2020, the event has been canceled.

07 of 07

Fall Cottage Life Show

Fall Cottage Life Show

Cottage Life

Cottage season isn't quite over until Cottage Life's annual fall show takes over the International Centre with more than 200 exhibitors. Anyone planning to acquire a cottage may be inclined to join in on the workshops and presentations included in this event, now in its 15th year. 2020's event has been canceled.

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