After a deadly winter, it's about time we got some summer lovin'. We had a total of 39 cold weather alerts this winter, and we gotta make up for that by doing as many things as possible to make the best of the short summer months. And what better way to do that than going to free events?
Summer is quickly approaching and that means lots of free events that we all know and love. There are even some new events rolling along this season. Whether you're the type of person who likes to plan things or the type of person who's super spontaneous, you've got this list to keep you covered for all the sweetest summer events. Here are 17 free things to do this summer.
1. Mac 'n Cheese Festival @ Liberty Village
Do you ever just cry over how much you love mac and cheese? All your cheesy desires are about to be satisfied at the Mac 'n Cheese Festival, happening in Liberty Village from June 5th to 7th. There'll be chefs, cooks, and food entrepreneurs from all over the city reinventing their own unique takes on classic mac and cheese, as well as street performers and musicians entertaining you every moment you're devouring all that cheesy goodness!
2. Mississauga Waterfront Festival
The Mississauga Waterfront Festival has been voted one of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals for 10 years in a row, which is probably a sign that you should go and see what it's all about. They've hosted the likes of Sam Roberts and Tom Cochrane in their past concert performances, so you know they're going to present a band/artist just as cool this year. Plus, they're turning the Port Credit Arena into a roller jam. Check it out on June 12th to 14th at Memorial Park!
3. TD Toronto Jazz Festival
Get jazzy from June 18th to 29th at the Jazz Festival. There will be quite a few free performances at Nathan Phillips Square, where the heart of the festival is, including lunchtime and general concerts.
4. Pride Toronto
We were lucky enough to host WorldPride in Toronto last year, and it was absolutely amazing. If you missed it, that's okay – Pride Toronto is just as good! This year's Pride is happening June 19th to 28th. You can even take part in it as a volunteer. Come celebrate Toronto's diversity!
5. Sweetness Pride Beach Party @ Sugar Beach
This Pride Toronto sanctioned event will feature LGBTQ DJs playing sick beats for you. There will also be a licensed beach bar and food trucks to energize you for all the dancing you'll be doing.
6. Luminato Festival
If you're into Nuit Blanche, this one will interest you. Happening the same week of Pride Toronto, Luminato Festival is being held June 19th to 28th. Visit their opening night garden party at David Pecaut Square and see Glossary, a light and sculpture installation created specifically for the festival by Regina Silveira. There are free events as well as ticketed events. For a full list of events, check out the schedule on their website.
7. The New Pornographers @ NXNE
What's better than going to a great concert with great music? A FREE great concert with FREE great music. The New Pornographers released their album Brill Bruisers last summer and they are paying us a visit this summer to give us a taste. These champions of red wine are headlining Dundas Square on June 20th.
8. Canada Day Fireworks @ The Beaches
If you've only ever seen Canada Day fireworks around the city but not at the beaches, you should check it out this year. What better way to celebrate the birthday of our nation than a relaxing night at the beautiful beaches? You'll get sand on your butt and mosquito bites everywhere, but that's okay, because it'll be worth it.
9. Free Flicks: Funny Girls @ Harbourfront Centre
This event celebrates the best of female comedic talent, from Mean Girls to Clueless to Bridesmaids. Pay a visit to Harbourfront Centre every Wednesday from July 2nd to August 27th to check out these FREE screenings! For a full listing of all the films and their screening dates, visit their site.
10. Taste of Lawrence
Food. So. Much. Food. Located in Scarborough, there are over 130 vendors ready to give you a taste of international foods from all over the GTA. It's not as busy as other big food festivals around the city, which is nice if you're not into busy crowds.
11. Scotiabank Caribbean Festival Toronto
More commonly known as Caribana, this annual event is happening July 7th to August 2nd. There are a whole bunch of fun events happening, including their grand parade, which runs from Exhibition Place and stretches 3.5 km along Lakeshore.
12. Waterfront Night Market @ T&T Supermarket
If you can stand the stench of stinky tofu, we salute you. Waterfront Night Market is happening July 25th to 27th at T&T Supermarket by Polson Pier. It's their 5th year anniversary this year, and they have 100 vendors offering delicious Asian food for you to try for cheap prices. There's a whole bunch of other attractions as well, including live performances throughout the entire festival!
13. Krinos Taste of Danforth
Running in its 21st year, Taste of Danforth never fails to please. Happening August 7th to 9th in Greektown, take in all the wonderful Greek food and free samples! You can even take part in their Guinness World Record challenges – this year, they're attempting the largest tug of war tournament in history and the most people performing standing long jump. It's your chance to redeem yourself from high school gym class.
14. Parapan Am Games Closing Ceremony
After all the excitement of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, you will be able to attend the biggest part for free – the closing ceremony, happening at Nathan Phillips Square on August 15th. There will be musical performances organized by Live Nation Entertainment. The next Parapan Am Games happens in Peru in 2019!
15. Scotiabank Buskerfest
Tired of seeing the same buskers over and over again at Dundas Square? Buskerfest brings in a variety of awesome performers for your entertainment! August 27th to 30th. Admission is how much ever you want to pay – the donations you give go towards Epilepsy Toronto – no tickets involved!
16. Vegetarian Food Festival @ Harbourfront Centre
This is for all y'all vegetarians who are tired of all these meaty food fests. From burgers to hot dogs to cupcakes, everything is entirely meat and dairy free. Vegetarian Food Festival is happening at the Harbourfront Centre, and it is the biggest event of its kind in North America, celebrating its 31st year this summer. There are over 130 vendors as well as free presentations, events, and cooking demonstrations for you to enjoy. It runs from September 11th to 13th this year (shh, fall doesn't officially start until September 23rd).
17. Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition @ Nathan Phillips Square
Enjoy the great outdoors of the city while looking at extraordinary works of art. TOAE is the largest event of its kind in Canada. Around 500 artists participate and over 100,000 visitors attend every year. It's happening a little late this year on September 18th to 20th. If you're an artist, you can even submit exhibitor applications until May 18th.