Sunday, December 31, 2023

Goodbye 2023 hello New Years Eve in Toronto

Toronto has quite the celebration planned for Dec 31, 2023 as we welcome baby 2024 to the family. The following information is from the City's website.

"Ring in 2024 with the largest fireworks display in Canada at midnight, visible from anywhere with a view of Toronto’s inner harbour. The celebration begins at 10 p.m. with DJs Sofia Fly (opens in new window) and Cozmic Cat (opens in new window), followed by the countdown co-hosted by world-renowned drag entertainer Tynomi Banks (opens in new window) and award winning performer and producer Sedina Fiati (opens in new window) at 11:30 p.m.

Pop-up participatory dance performances led by the Dance Together Festival (opens in new window) are available leading up to the fireworks at these locations along Toronto’s downtown waterfront:

Sherbourne Common, 61 Dockside Dr. (opens in new window)
Exhibition Common at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W. (opens in new window)
Toronto Music Garden, 476 Queens Quay W. (opens in new window)

Alternative viewing locations with audio broadcast along the waterfront include:

Sugar Beach Park, 11 Dockside Dr. (opens in new window)
Harbour Square Park, 25 Queens Quay W. (opens in new window)
HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay W. (opens in new window)
Little Norway Park, 659 Queens Quay W. (opens in new window)

Prefer to party at home? Tune in to a livestream of the event (opens in new window).

There are no fireworks at City Hall or Nathan Phillips Square, but the glittering lights and skating at Nathan Phillips Square can be enjoyed until 10 p.m. before heading down to the waterfront to watch the fireworks."

Christmas holiday season 2023 wraps up

Holidays can be stressful so try to relax as the year also winds down. The decorations and celebrations around Toronto were amazing and hopefully next year will be even better. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all.

Toronto Polar Bear Dip 2024

The hard part is getting up early after New Year's Eve, no I am wrong, the hard part is still running into the cold, cold water of Lake Ontario! Still, what a way to celebrate the new year by taking part in the 2024 Toronto Polar Bear Dip on Monday, January 1 at Sunnyside Park. The photo at top was from the start of last year's dip. The following photos are from the 2024 dip.

This was one of the mildest polar beardips as temps hovered just below freezing and they didn't have to clear any ice away.

The dip is in support of Boost Child, Youth and Advocacy Centre (CYAC) and onsite check in begins at 10am and the dip takes place at 12 noon. Registration costs $30 per person and closes on December 31, 2023. Don't forget that you can fundraise or donate to the charity.

Due to construction of the boardwalk in front of Sunnyside Pavillion the dip was moved a bit to the west of the building. 

Some points to consider is that there are no changerooms so you may have to change out of your cold, wet clothes in your car - wear your swimsuit to the event. Weather will be perfect, from sunny to partly cloudy and a high of 1 degree Celsius. In addition the organizers have prepared the following checklist for the day.

"To make your experience as enjoyable as possible, we recommend at least the following:
Proper Footwear – Stepping on something rocky or pointy isn’t fun in freezing cold water.
Wear full water sandles or water socks (best) or old running shoes (ok, just make sure they fit snugly).
Lots of towels
A blanket to claim your patch of beach and to change on
Warm loose fitting clothes and footwear that are easy to put on in a hurry when you get out of the water (big loose fitting boots are amazing)
!!! Important !!! Bring a friend to mind your stuff and help you when you get out of the water.
If it’s a really cold day, your feet and fingers won’t work real well after the dip so you’ll probably need some help and since we don’t have change rooms,
someone to hold up a towel for you can be handy…"

Site Location
Sunnyside Park Beach, Toronto
Beach area on the waterside by the bathing pavillion
1755 Lake Shore Blvd West.
Toronto Ontario

See more photos after the jump.

Fun things to do in Toronto July & August 2024

Hot time, summer in the city! Back due to popular demand is Toronto's heat. Heat that will melt your feet on the sands of the many beaches in Toronto. Warm weather and fun events is the best part of the year and we even start with Canada's birthday.

Canada Day 2024 Mon, Jul 1. Celebrations in Nathan Phillips Square.
Toronto Fringe Festival Wed to Sun, July 3-14.
Beaches Jazz Festival Thurs to Sun, July 4-28.
Taste of the Middle East Fri to Sun, July 5-7.
Taste of Lawrence Fri to Sun, July 5-7.
Salsa on St Clair in Toronto Sat to Sun, July 6-7.
Downtown Toronto Ribfest Fri to Sun, July 12-14 at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Fri to Sun, July 12-14.
Importfest Saturday, July 13 - spectacular cars at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Festival of India (or Ratha-Yatra) Sat and Sun, July 13-14. Starts with a parade down Yonge Street and then a two day festival on Centre Island.
Honda Indy Toronto Fri to Sun, July 19-21. Exhibition Place will sound like a jacked up hornet's nest as the IndyCar series and the NASCAR Pinty's series light up the streets of Toronto.
Panamerican Food And Music Festival  Sat to Sun, July 20-21.
Small World Free Music Festival at Old Fort York Garrison Common Fri to Sun, Jul TBD.
Big on Bloor Festival Sat to Sun, July 20-21. Car free from Dufferin to Lansdowne.
Toronto International BrazilFest Fri to Sun, July 19-21. In Earlscourt Park.
Fun Philippines Festival Fri to Sun, July 26-28.
Taste of Vietnam  Thurs to Sat, July 25-27.
Ossfest Sat, July 27. Ossington Strip between Dundas St W and Queen St W.
Toronto Festival of Beer Fri to Sun, July 26-28. Hmmm, beer.
Guild Park Arts Festival Sat to Sun, July 27-28.
Aloha Toronto Festival Sat, July 20.
Toronto Craft Beer Festival Fri to Sun, July TBD. Cancelled for 2023 (kicked out of Ontario Place), will return in 2024...

Keep an eye out for Sunflowers in August
Toronto Food Truck Festival Fri to Mon, Aug 2-5 at Woodbine Park
Toronto Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade Sat, Aug 3.
Taste of India Sat to Sun, Aug 3-4.
Simcoe Day events in Toronto Mon, Aug 5.
National Bank Open (fmr Rogers Cup Tennis) Sun to Mon, Aug 4-12.
Jerk Festival Toronto Fri to Sun, Aug 9-11
The Feast of St Lawrence Fri to Sat, Aug 9-10.
Himalayan Festival Sat, Aug 10.
Taste of the Danforth Fri to Sun, Aug TBD. Cancelled in 2022, returned in 2023 but will it survive in 2024? Apparently no, it is cancelled for 2024 and perhaps permanently.
Wheels on the Danforth Fri to Sat, Aug 16-17.
Canadian National Exhibition CNE Fri, Aug 16 - Mon, Sept 2. Do you want to go faster? And don't forget the fantastic Canadian International Airshow.
India Day Festival and Grand Parade  Sun, Aug 18
Toronto Chinatown Festival Sat to Sun, Aug TBD.
Taste of Manila Sat to Sun, Aug TBD.
2 Day Best of the Beach Coed Volleyball Sat to Sun, Aug 24-25.
Taiwan Fest Fri to Sun, Aug TBD.
Toronto Tamil Festival Fri to Sun, Aug TBD.
Fan Expo Canada Thurs to Sun, Aug 22-25. Some amazing cosplay on display.
Go Topless Day Protest Sun, Aug 25. The Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day which is August 26.
Leslieville Beerfest Sat, Aug TBD.
Buskerfest at the Beaches in Woodbine Park. Fri to Mon, Aug 30 to Sept 2.
Toronto Dragon Festival Sat to Sun, Aug 31 to Sept 1.

Events moved to September
And the world famous Toronto International Film Festival, or tiff Sept 9-19.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Fun things to do in Toronto May & June 2024

It's beginning to look a lot like Summer! Patios should be hopping and outdoor events are always better 
when you don't have to dress like a polar bear to have fun.

Peak Blossoms in High Park could be in the first week of May! (Cherry Blossoms in Toronto - could
happen late April, early May. Best views in High Park).

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival spanning the month of May.
World Naked Gardening Day Sat, May 4 (usually first Saturday of May).
Toronto Marathon Sun, May 5. I definitely won't be running this, but if you do - wow, amazing.
GMM Toronto Global MJ March Sat, May 4 (first Saturday of May) in Queen's Park North.
Colour Me Rad 5k Sat, May TBD in Downsview Park. Doesn't look good for this event.
Anime North Fri to Sun, May 24-26.
Doors Open Toronto Sat to Sun, May 25-26. Chance to see things normally closed to public or attractions with no entrance fee.

DO West Fest (formerly Dundas West Fest) Fri to Sun, Jun 7-9. Dundas Street West from Ossington to Lansdowne presented by Little Portugal Toronto BIA
Luminato Festival Thurs to Sun, June 6-16. Cool art installations.
Toronto Pro SuperShow Sat to Sun, June 8-9. Muscles, enough said.
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) Sat, Jun 8. Right through downtown Toronto, nude. Meet at Coronation Park by noon for some bodypainting, ride begins at 1pm. It's a GO. Here is some info for the WNBR 2024.
Toronto Art Crawl Sat, June 8. At Bentway Park
Redpath Waterfront Festival Fri to Sun, June TBD. Moved into September TBD. 
Nuit Rose in Church/Wellesley Village and Queen St W. A festival of queer art and performance. Sat, Jun TBD.
Northern Ink Xposure Tattoo Show Fri to Sun, June 14-16.
Taste of Little Italy Fri to Sun, June 14-16.
Northern Heat Toronto Beaches Rib & Beer Festival Fri to Sun, June 14-16 in Woodbine Park.
Taco Fest outside Hotel X Fri to Sun, Jun 14-16.
Na-Me-Res Pow Wow & Indigenous Arts Festival outside Fort York, Sat to Sun, June TBD.
Dragon Boat Race Festival Sat to Sun, Jun 15-16.
Yorkville Exotic Cars Sun, Jun 16 on Bloor Street from 12 noon till 5pm.
Give me Liberty Street Festival in Liberty Village Thurs, June 20.
Collision Toronto Mon to Thurs, June 17-20. Tech conference at the Enercare Centre.
Toronto Jazz Festival Fri to Sun, Jun 21-30.
Woofstock Sat to Sun, June 22-23. Cute dogs in costumes at Woodbine Park in the Beach area. 
World Pride: Toronto Pride Week and Pride Parades Thurs to Fri, Jun 1-30. The Pride Village & Street Fair from Friday, June 28 – Sunday June 30. The parades are things of colour and beauty: Trans March on Friday, Dyke March on Saturday and the Pride Parade on Sunday, June 30th, 2023. The Street Festival on Church St is on during Pride Weekend. Pride Month starts June 1st. Formation area: Rosedale Valley Road closed from Bayview Avenue to Park Road to accommodate the formation of the parade. Parade route: Starts at Church Street and Bloor Street East, goes west on Bloor Street East to Yonge Street, south on Yonge Street to Dundas Street and back to the festival on Church Street. Roads will be closed for varying periods between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. The parade takes place from 2 to 6:30 p.m.
Hope Volleyball Toronto Sat, Jun 22 at Polson Pier. Charity volleyball bash/tournament.
Toronto Roller Derby League: Clam Slam Fri, Jun TBD. Part of the Pride Celebrations - love the name.

Some events in July

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition Fri to Sun, July 12-14.
And Toronto's MotorFest the Ontario Honda Dealers Indy Toronto is coming Fri to Sun, July 19-21.

Fun things to do in Toronto March & April 2024

March brings Spring to Toronto and the city's excitement about the end of winter knows no bounds as more outdoor adventures await the return of warmer weather.

Winter Stations in the Beach continues from Feb 19 into March.
Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show Thurs, Feb 29 to Sun Mar 3.
Illuminite interactive light festival in the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood Mar 1-31
Biolumen Music and Light March 1 to April 1. Daily from noon till 10pm at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Toronto’s 2024 International Women’s Day Rally and March Sat, Mar 2. Rally at 1pm.
Toronto Catstravaganza Sat to Sun, Mar 2-3. Exhibition Place - Queen Elizabeth Bldg.
Toronto Bicycle Show and E-Bike Expo Fri to Sun, Mar 8-10.
Toronto Rock Lacrosse till April 20.
Toronto Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Sat, Mar 9 to Sun, Apr 7.
Toronto FC First home game Sat, Mar 9.
Celebrate Toronto Sat, Mar 9 in Nathan Phillips Square - It's birthday number 190.
Toronto Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Sat, Mar 9 to Sun, April 7.
Green Living Show Fri to Sun, Mar. To be confirmed.
National Home Show  Fri to Sun, Mar 8-10 & 13-17.
Sugar Shack Sat to Sun, Mar 9-10 down at the waterfront.
Lumiere The Art of Light in Ontario Place. Tue, Mar 12 to Sat, Apr 20.
Toronto Sportsmen's Show Thurs to Sun, Mar 14-17.
Toronto ComicCON Fri to Sun, Mar 15-17. Come for the costumes, read a few comics and meet some stars.
Spring Cottage Life Show Thurs to Sun, Mar 21-24
Fast in the 6 Fri, Mar 22.
CANNEXPO 2024 Fri to Sun, Mar 22-24 at the Enercare Centre
Earth Hour Sat, Mar 23 at 8:30 pm.
Planted Expo Toronto Sat to Sun, Mar 23-24 at the Enercare Centre

Toronto Pillow Fight Sat, Apr 6 at 3pm at Nathan Phillips Square, to be confirmed. During World Pillow Fight Day.
Total Eclipse of the Sun Mon, Apr 8 beginning at 2pm.
Grand Slam of Curling: Princess Auto Players' Championship Tue to Sun, April 9-14 at the Mattamy Centre.
Record Store Day in Toronto Sat, Apr 20. Twenty one record stores in Toronto are participating.
ImportExpo - Toronto Opener Sat, Apr 20. Better Living Building in Exhibition Place.
420 Smokeout Sat, Apr 20 at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Hopefully the fruit blossoms will come out to play, along with the warm weather. Check out the famous High Park Cherry Blossoms Festival.

Moved into May 2024
Toronto Comic Arts Festival TCAF Sat to Sun, May 11-12.

The Toronto Bentway Polar Bear Skate 2023

Christmas holiday season is coming fast and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations includes some cool activities such as the Toronto Bentway Polar Bear Skate on Sunday, December 31, 2023 and the Toronto Polar Bear Swim on January 1, 2024. The photo at top is from a previous skate at the park located beside Old Fort York.

The Bentway lies under the elevated Gardiner Expressway and in winter time they have a skating path that winds around the park in a figure eight. And on New Year's Eve day the rink is reserved for the Polar Bear Skate where participants come out on the ice in their underwear for a good cause - donations of clothing for people with limited income.

This is a free event and you can rent skates there is you don't have a pair. Those that join the event will get a free Bentway touque and there is hot chocolate available. Registration is from noon till 12:50pm, then the skate starts at 1pm.

From the Bentway's webpage, "Donations of warm winter clothing will be collected onsite by New Circles Community Services and distributed to local individuals and families who are living on a limited income. Named one of the top things to do in the GTA on New Years’ Eve, it’s a unique experience not to miss! Hop Valley Brewing Co. will be on-site with drink samples for folks 19+ too!
Polar Bear Skate Dec 31 at 12:00PM - 2:00PM"

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival 2023

Winter is calling and so is the excitement in one of Toronto's coolest neighbourhoods as the Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival takes over the night on Thursday, December 21, 2023. This festival, started in 1988, celebrates the return of light and begins at 6pm at the intersection of Augusta and Oxford with crowds gathering together, many with hand made lanterns to watch the opening ceremony. The Phoenix is in full burn in Alexandra Park during the 2022 festival in the photo at top.

Winter Solstice on the 21st will be the longest night of the year and every day after that will have longer periods of daylight until the Summer Solstice hits in June. So to recap: Winter Solstice is the start of winter, winter in Canada is cold, days now getting longer, celebration ensues.

Toronto police will close Kensington Market including Augusta Avenue between College and Dundas Streets between 5pm and 10pm to accommodate the gathering. After the opening the festival will include giant puppet characters and figures by Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, usually followed by fire breathing performance and a parade marching down to the baseball field in Alexandra Park. However, this year, due to construction in Alexandra Park the parade and fire finale will not be held in Alexandra Park. All events will be in the market and will feature 5 separate fire warming stations and I guess people will just be roaming Kensington Market checking out the nights activities which end by 9:30pm.

From Red Pepper's Facebook page, "This year we are reflecting on the warm glow of the hearth and connection to community that expands our sense of belonging. Red Pepper’s hand-made Solstice Lanterns will be on sale during the event, at 160 Baldwin St, as well as offered from our Solstice Lantern Pedicab weaving through the streets, from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. We are adapting to a more intimate street event as the Alexandra Park Revitalization is in its construction stage. The 34th Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice will not hold its Parade through Kensington and Fire Finale, in Alexandra Park."

Festival map from redpepperspectacle Instagram account

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Fun things to do in #Toronto in Jan and Feb 2024

The cold of winter bites the skin in Toronto, best to keep indoors and busy, or outside in warm, winter clothes with all these events taking place in early 2024. Before you know it the warm winds will blow in and Spring will begin to melt the snows.
Note the Bentway Polar Bear Skate is December 31, 2023 New Year's Eve Day - registration at noon, skating starts at 1pm. Famous for skating in your skivvies under the Gardiner Expressway.

Polar Bear Dip at Sunnyside Beach. Monday, Jan 1. Noon at Sunnyside Beach. 'Do the Dip'.
North American International Motorcycle Supershow Fri to Sun, Jan 5-7 at the International Centre. Check my post here to enter a contest to win tickets to the Motorcycle Supershow. 
Toronto No Pants Subway Ride Sun, Jan TBD. Meet at 3pm at Eaton Centre Dundas Street entrance, 3:20pm head out on the rails. 
The New Boat Show at the International Centre Thurs to Sun, Jan 11-14.
Canada's Bridal Show Fri to Sun, Jan 12-14.
The Franchise Expo Sat to Sun, Jan 13-14.
Interior Design Show IDS2022 Thurs to Sun, Jan 18-21.
Toronto International Boat Show Fri to Sun, Jan 19-28.
Toronto Light Festival Fri, - Sun, Jan to March in the Distillery District. Looks like a big no.
Blue Jays Winter Fest Sat to Sun, Jan. To be confirmed.
Toronto Roller Derby League Did Covid kill TORD?
Monster Trucks All Out Northern Lights Party Sat, Jan 20.
Winterlicious Fri, Jan 26 to Thurs, Feb 8. "Savour every bite"

Harbourfront Centre Kuumba Thurs to Thurs, Feb 1-29. A celebration of Black Culture.
OCAD U Black History Month Digital Exhibition Thurs to Thurs, Feb 1-29. On the screens of Yonge-Dundas Square.
Toronto NHL Fan Fair Thurs to Sun, Feb 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, south building.
Hey, it's Groundhog Day on Fri, Feb 2. Groundhogs can't be stopped! Don't forget about Wiarton Willie!
Toronto Golf and Travel Show presented by Golf Town Fri to Sun, Feb 2-4.
Maple Leafs Hockey outdoor practice Feb 8 at noon in Nathan Phillips Square. Festivities from Feb 8-10 including an alumni game on Saturday.
Sweet City Fest Fri to Mon, Feb 9-19 in the Stackt Market.
Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival Sat, Feb 10. Brought to you by Steam Whistle and the Toronto Railway Museum.
Toronto Erotic Arts and Craft Fair Sat, Feb 10. Free admission at the Parkdale Hall.
Toronto Chinatown Lunar New Year Celebrations Sat to Sun, Feb 10-11. Lunar New Year is Saturday and it's the Year of the Dragon.
Toronto Coldest Day of the Year Ride Sat, Feb 10. Meet at 11:30am at Tom Riley Park.
Black Film Festival Wed to Mon, Feb 14-19.
Happy Valentine's Day Wed, Feb 14. Hugs and kisses everyone.
Motorcycle Show Toronto Fri to Sun, Feb 16-18. Down in Exhibition Place.
Spring Fish and Boat Show Fri to Mon, Feb 16-18.
Canadian International AutoShow Fri to Sun, Feb 16-25.
Winterfolk Festival Fri to Sun, Feb 16-18.
Bloor-Yorkville Icefest Festival Sun to Tue, Feb 18-20.
Beaches Winter Stations Design Competition Displays start Mon, Feb 19.
Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show Fri to Sun, Feb 23-25.
Toronto Spring Camping and RV Show Thurs, Feb 29 to Sun, Mar 3 at the International Centre

Moved into March....

Toronto International Bicycle Show Fri to Sun, Mar 8-10.
Toronto Sportsmen's Show Thurs to Sun, Mar 14-17.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square