By Aaron Zaretsky
July is all about Canadian culture and identity. Throughout the month there will be plenty of free Canadian theme events in Toronto, focusing on diversity within Canada and Toronto.
July 1 – Canada Day
Kick off July by celebrating Canada’s 151st birthday. There will be free events all-day long across the GTA (and across the Nation). Partake in family-fun activities, carnival rides, entertainment at the annual Multicultural Canada Day Celebration at Yonge-Dundas Square! There will be free admission to all Toronto museums; and you can watch the night sky light up with fireworks at various locations, or outside your window! For full details, please visit their website!
July 6-8 – Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
Be consumed by art at the 57th Toronto Outdoor Art fair, located at Nathan Phillips Square. This is Canada’s largest, longest-running outdoor art exhibition and a free alternative to conventional art shows and galleries. Over 300 artists participate so it is a great way to interact with the people behind the masterpieces! Plus, there will be a Beer Garden featuring artistic food and beer! For more info, please visit their website.
July 6-8 – Taste of Lawrence 2018
Taste of Lawrence 2018 is an international food and cultural festival held along Lawrence Avenue East, in Scarborough, between Warden Avenue and Birchmount Road. Founded by Jamaican-Canadian Michael Thompson, who is a Toronto city councillor and grew-up in Scarborough, Taste of Lawrence is Scarborough’s largest street festival. Experience three summer days with midway rides, international food and entertainment, and over 130 street vendors! For more info, please visit their website.
July 6-29 – Beaches International Jazz Festival
Enjoy four July weekends at the 30th Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29). There will be several events at various locations in Toronto those weekends. The main event is StreetFest showcasing over 45 bands performing a diverse mix of genres including Dixieland, Afro-Cuban, Ska and Soul, and Fusion! StreetFest takes place July 26-28 along Queen Street East from Woodbine Avenue to Beech Avenue. For full details on all events, please visit their website.
July 7-8 – TD Salsa Festival
Grab a partner and get ready to Salsa dance at the TD Salsa Festival located on St. Clair Street. This festival is one of Toronto’s only events where you are part of the entertainment! Enjoy the fiesta with free on-site dance lessons, live music, informative folklore presentations, authentic Latin American cuisine, and children’s entertainment. For more info, please check out their website.
July 7-8 – Afrofest
Be a part of a diverse audience celebrating African music and culture at the 30th Afrofest, located at Woodbine Park – 1695 Queen Street East. There will be a creative children’s village where children can participate in educational activities. An African marketplace displaying African arts, crafts, and traditional dishes will also be offered. The goal of Afrofest is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the diverse people of Africa. For more info, please visit their website.
July 14-15 – Festival of India
Experience South Asian music and culture at the Festival of India (aka Ratha-Yatra). Begin Saturday afternoon with a parade down Yonge Street (from Yonge & Asquith to Queens Quay). Then the festivities continue at Toronto Centre Island where there will be a massive pavilion, South Asian bazaar, entertainment, and outdoor yoga. Plus, there will be Bhakti Cloud which is a fun-filled/educational children’s area that includes children’s yoga. Festival of India is free but a fee is a required to ferry across to Centre Island. For more info and to purchase ferry tickets, please visit their website.
July 21-22 – Muhtadi International Drumming Festival
Head over to Regent Park, located 600 Dundas Street East, pick up a drum and dance at the 19th Muhtadi International Drumming Festival. This year’s theme is “Hello Africa!” a drumming tribute to Africa’s music and culture. Also, learn various drumming styles at a drum village workshop. Another event is from 10am to noon on July 22 called “Let the Children Play” where children can play various percussion instruments! This is a free festival but donations are welcomed. For more info, please visit their website.
July 22 – Brazilfest
At Earlscount Park, located 1369 St. Clair Avenue West, celebrate Brazilian culture at the 15th Brazilfest – the largest Brazilian festival in Ontario! Brazilfest showcases great Brazilian musicians, ethnic food, capoeria (which is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that mixes dance with acrobatics) and music, Samba dancers, all-day children’s zone, a bar garden featuring caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail), and much more! There is something for everyone, and for full details please visit their website.
Ends July 29 – Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity Exhibit
At the Toronto Reference Library, located 789 Yonge Street, read comics from a Canadian perspective at Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity Exhibit. Dive into the stories of Canadian comic book heroes Scott Pilgrim, Nelvana, Kagagi, and who needs Captain America when there is Captain Canuck! Escape for an afternoon and become a virtual reality superhero with a spectacular game on July 13th and 27th. This exhibit is going on now and ends July 29. For more info, please visit their website.
Canada is a diverse nation. Toronto is a multicultural city. These free events represent Canada’s and Toronto’s identity, diversity. Do not miss these Canadian theme free events and celebrate diversity!