What better way to celebrate spring than by enjoying some of the city’s best food and drink? Spring in Toronto is filled with free activities and festivals of all kinds, many of which are devoted to eating and drinking. If you’re looking for something to do as the weather warms up (as well as a chance to fill your belly), you have lots of options in the city. Here are 11 of Toronto’s best spring food and drink events to check out.
1. Songkran (April 10-11)
What could be better than eating delicious Thai food and also having a water fight? If that sounds like your idea of a great time, you might want to think about attending some Songkran festivities. Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year and this year’s fun will be hosted by Nana and Khao San Road and involve a delicious meal and an indoor water fight. The Thai New Year tradition of people pouring water on each other symbolizes the cleansing of any negativity from the previous year and preparing for the year ahead.
2. Soi 1 Year Anniversary Night Market (April 16)
Enjoy even more Thai food in celebration of Soi’s first anniversary. The College Street restaurant is hosting a party in the form of a traditional Thai street food experience on April 16 between 7 and 10 p.m. Feel like you’ve been transported to Thailand for the night as you sample dishes like crab Rangoon, pork and sticky rice nigiri, banana and coconut pops, chicken satay with peanut sauce and basil chicken pad krapow wraps among other off-menu treats.
3. Asia Food Fest (April 29-May 15)
Sample discounted prix fixe menus at over 60 Asian restaurants across Toronto and the GTA between April 29 and May 15 at Asia Food Fest. The event highlights the plethora of Asian cuisine Toronto has to offer, from Korean BBQ and Chinese, to Japanese Izakaya, Indian and Thai food. Some of the participating restaurants include Don Don Izakaya, Little India Restaurant, Nok Won Korean Restaurant, various locations of Kinton Ramen, Gourmet Malaysia, Yang’s Chinese Cuisine and Seoul House among many others.
4. Spirit of Toronto (May 7)
Roy Thompson Hall plays host to Spirit of Toronto, a celebration of all things whisky and jazz this spring. The popular event, going strong since 2004, features a selection of over 100 whiskeys and premium spirits from around the world. Price of admission gets you all of your samples, tutored tastings, live jazz, food and drink pairings, a Blender’s Crystal Malt Whisky Glass imported from Scotland, hot and cold food stations and the chance to learn as you taste thanks to the brand ambassadors and distillery representatives on hand to share their knowledge.
5. Brewers Plate (May18)
This event – also a fundraiser for War Child – sees 10 local brewers and 10 local chefs and restaurants come together to serve up some seriously good food and beer pairings. Tickets for Brewers Plate get you unlimited tastings of food on offer as well as the wide selection of Ontario beers, ciders and mead. Chefs from kitchens like East Thirty-Six, Magic Oven and Tundra Restaurant pair unique creations with beer from breweries like Beau’s, Great Lakes, Steam Whistle and more.
6. Halal Food Fest (May 21-22)
Toronto’s Halal Food Fest is back this spring, taking place at the International Centre. The two-day food event will feature more than 100 exhibitors representing some of the best halal restaurants, manufacturers, bakeries and specialty stores and showcasing food from around the world. Seven festival areas will offer the chance to check out cooking demos, panel discussions, cooking competitions, live performances, tasting seminars, shopping area and a street festival.
7. Kampai Toronto (June 3)
The Sake Institute of Ontario will be hosting their annual Kampai Toronto - Festival of Sake on June 3 happening at the historic Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar. The sake-focused fest is the largest of its kind in Canada and offers the chance to sample over 140 sakes from Japan, Canada and the U.S., some of which are available at the LCBO should you try one that really resonates. In addition to sake, there will be food on offer provided by some of the city’s top Japanese and international restaurants.
8. Toronto Craft Brew Cruise (June 4)
What’s better than beer and boating? If that sounds like the perfect spring combination for you, pick up a ticket for this year’s Toronto Craft Brew Cruise. The third annual event takes place aboard the River Gambler on the Harbourfront and will involve a three-hour tour wherein you get to sample some of Ontario’s best craft beer. There will be two sessions, one at 2 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. and both include four sample tokens and a commemorative mug.
9. Session Craft Beer Festival (June 11)
The seventh annual Session Craft Beer Festival will be kicking off Ontario Craft Beer Week happening at Yonge-Dundas Square. The much-loved event will feature over 100 beers to sample, the chance to learn about the beer you’re drinking, great food and live music all packed into one fun and busy afternoon. This year’s fest will also include all ladies session hosted by the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies. Some of this year’s breweries include Muskoka, Longslice, Beau’s, Amsterdam, Flying Monkeys and Big Rock among many others.
Food trucks will also be on hand to offer sustenance. So far you can expect Chimney Stax, Born2Eat and Tdots Naansense, with more being added.
10. Toronto Taste (June 12)
In support of Second Harvest's food rescue program, Toronto Taste will once again be taking place on Toronto’s waterfront at Chorus Quay. This will be the 26th anniversary of arguably the most notable culinary event in the city. Food purveyors include some of the best chefs and restaurants in Toronto.
11. Wine and Spirit Festival (June 16-18)
Head down to Sugar Beach to take part in this year’s Wine and Spirit Festival happening June 16 to 18. Stroll along the waterfront and sample wines, ciders, beers and spirits on the sand, shaded by Sugar Beach’s pink umbrellas. There will also be food on offer, live music throughout the three-day fest and the chance to attend complementary educational seminars should you want to learn more about some of what you’re sipping.