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Summer, Events

44 FREE Toronto events worth checking out this August

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Ainsley Smith Jul 31, 2018 6:00 am 3,462

Take advantage of the remaining warm days of summer this month without breaking the bank.

From family-friendly activities to outdoor movie screenings and food festivals, we’ve rounded up the top 44 free August events taking place throughout the city.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival

caribbean carnival

@kkatherinne/Instagram

What: Now in its 51st year, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (formerly Caribana, which many still call it) is a five-week cultural celebration featuring Caribbean music, dance, costume, parties, and food.

When: Now until August 12
Time: Varies by day
Where: Various locations throughout the city
Price: Varies by event

CITE at The Bentway

What: A great use of public space, CITE is both an art installation and a skatepark, featuring sculptures that boarders are free to ride on. Canada Day celebrations include DJ sets, skate demos, a beer garden, live graffiti, a meet and greet with pros, eats, and an open skate.

When: Now to August 12
Time: 10 am to 9 pm
Where: The Bentway Skate Trail, 250 Fort York Blvd.
Price: Free

Union Summer Market

What: The open-air market, presented by TD, launched on Canada Day and is on now until August 19 on the doorstep of Union Station. Participating food vendors include Amano PastaBananza, Fugo DessertsHarry’s CharbroiledMean BaoRoywoodsThe Carbon BarThe Plant YYZ, Union Chicken, and Wvrst.

When: On now until August 19
Time: 11 am to 8 pm
Where: 65 Front Street West, Toronto
Price: Admission is free

A Forest of Canoes at The Bentway

What: A Forest of Canoes by Dana Claxton, is a site-specific installation set up throughout The Bentway and is co-commissioned with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and curated by Bonnie Rubenstein. The installation highlights the iconic role and symbolism of the canoe in Canadian, Metis, and Indigenous histories.

When: Now until August 31
Time: All day
Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd.
Price: Free

Waterfront Artisan Market

water quality

Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock

What: Back for its third year, the Waterfront Artisan Market features 50 bakers, chefs, and artisans hawking summery street foods and locally-made products. The market runs every Saturday and Sunday.

When: On now until October 6
Time: Saturday, 11 am to 8 pm; Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm
Where: HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay West
Price: Admission is free

City Hall Live

What: You can say goodbye to eating your lunch at your desk this summer, as City Hall Live returns with free lunchtime concerts throughout the city. Taking place at Nathan Phillips Square (Wednesdays and Thursdays) and Union Station (Wednesdays), City Hall Live helps support local musicians and music communities by hosting 25 free lunchtime concerts on select afternoons this summer.

When: Nathan Phillips Square, now until August 30; Union Station, now until August 15
Time: Nathan Phillips Square, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm; Union Station, 12 pm to 1 pm
Where: Nathan Phillips Square; Union Station
Price: Free to attend

Yoga in St. James Park

What: Break up your afternoon with a free outdoor yoga class in St. James Park led by the YMCA. Classes will run every Wednesday of the month.

When: August 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Time: 12 pm to 1 pm
Where: St. James Park, 120 King East
Price: Free

Movie Nights in The Beach Village

What: Movie Nights are back for 2018. Join The Beach Village for Movie Nights in the Park every Wednesday with screenings will rotate between Kew Gardens and Ivan Forrest Gardens Park. As always, admission (and popcorn) is FREE. Come out and experience movies under the stars.

When: August 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Time: Roughly 9 pm
Where: Kew Gardens and Ivan Forrest Gardens Park
Price: Free to attend

The Edwards Summer Music Series

free music

Vvital/Shutterstock

What: Enjoy a series of concerts by an eclectic roster of popular artists, set in the natural beauty of the gardens, rain or shine. (indoors in case of extreme weather). The concerts will take place in the courtyard adjacent to the historic barn in Edwards Gardens.

When: August 2, 9, 16 and 23
Time: 7 pm
Where: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave East
Price: Free

Indie Fridays

What: Chevrolet Canada presents Indie Fridays, a free concert series featuring some of Canada’s top indie musicians on Friday evenings.

When: August 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas Street East
Price: Free

Toronto International Youth Dance Festival

What: The Toronto International Youth Dance Festival will be taking over Nathan Phillips Square for two days this summer for a multi-cultural celebration of dance.

When: August 3 and 4
Time: 5 pm to 9 pm
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West
Price: Free to attend

Toronto Food Truck Festival

What: The massive food truck rally is presented by Canadian Food Truck Festivals and is just one stop on a summer-long tour that includes events in Burlington, Pickering, Richmond Hill, and Brampton.

When: August 3 to 6
Time: Friday, 5 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, noon to 10 pm; Sunday and Monday, noon to 8 pm
Where: Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen Street East, Toronto
Price: Admission is free

Taste of the Middle East Food Festival 2018

Taste of the Middle East Food Festival falafel

Bondarenco Vladimir/Shutterstock

What: Spit-roasted shawarma, grilled halloumi, sticky baklava! Toronto’s newest food fest bills itself as a chance to sample “the 1001 flavours Middle Eastern culture has to offer.” Toronto’s inaugural Taste of the Middle East Food Festival is set to take over Yonge-Dundas square for a single day this summer.

When: August 4
Time: 11 am to 11 pm
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto
Price: Admission is free

Scarborough Rib Fest

What: Back for its 17th year, this east Toronto food fest is all about ribs, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and more summertime essentials. Festival-goers can look forward to an all-day beer garden, daily karaoke competition, midway rides and skill testing games.

When: August 4 to 6
Time: Varies by day
Where: Thomson Memorial Park, 1005 Brimley Road, Scarborough
Price: Admission is free

Free Yoga at Ontario Place

What: Every weekend this summer, Ontario Place hosts yoga at Trillium Park. On Saturday and Sundays, from now until August 26, the morning classes will be offered with no sign ups necessary. Yogis just need to bring a mat for practice.

When: August 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26
Time: Saturday, 10 am; Sunday, 11 am
Where: Trillium Park, Ontario Place
Price: Free

Evergreen Brickworks Saturday Market

What: The Evergreen Brick Works’ Saturday Farmers’ Market is the largest farmers’ market in Toronto. Come and enjoy good food from local farmers, food producers, and chefs.

When: August 4, 11, 18 and 25
Time: 8 am to 1 pm
Where: Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview
Price: Admission is free

Toronto Taste of India Food Festival

taste of india

School of Flavours/Facebook

What: You can tour India with your tastebuds right here in Toronto this month. The Taste of India Food Festival bills itself as a foodie utopia featuring a thorough sampling of 100+ different Indian cuisines. The annual food fest will take place at Nathan Phillips Square for a full day of eating on August 5.

When: August 5
Time: 10 am to 10 pm
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West
Price: Admission is free

Sunday Social at The Bentway Beer Garden

What: Every Sunday, The Bentway will be home to Toronto’s coolest covered patio, serving up beer from Collective Arts Brewing and cider from Strongbow, along with tasty treats from SPiN, Toronto’s Ping-Pong social club, plus outdoor games like ping pong and bocce, and a curated music program.

When: August 5, 12, 19 and 26
Time: 12 pm to 9 pm
Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Boulevard
Price: Admission is free

Play the Parks

What: Play the Parks is back for the 6th season and will feature free lunchtime concerts in the Downtown Yonge BIA district throughout the summer.

When: August 7, 14,21 and 28
Time: 12:30 pm to 2 pm
Where: Trinity Square Park, 19 Trinity Square
Price: Free

City Cinema: Rockumentaries

What: Yonge-Dundas Square is providing Toronto with the ultimate summer soundtrack with Rockumentaries, a lineup of non-fiction films that explore the life and times of some of North America’s most beloved musical acts, featuring different artists and their signature sounds each week. Screenings take place every Tuesday night.

When: August 7, 14, 21, and 28
Time: 8 pm
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square
Price: Free to attend

Parkway Forest Park Free Movies

Parkway Forest Park

Photo by Emily Reid

What: This August, movie buffs can enjoy an impressive lineup of films at Parkway Forest Park as part of Toronto Outdoor Picture Show’s Cinematic Cities programme, a month-long series of outdoor films celebrating cities on screen, at home, and abroad. Screenings take place on Thursday evenings.

When: August 9, 16, 23 and 30
Time: Roughly 9 pm
Where: Parkway Forest Park, 80 Parkway Forest Dr.
Price: Free to attend

Manifesto

What: Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture returns this August, taking over downtown Toronto with multi-arts events that end with a FREE concert and community gathering at City Hall.

When: August 9 to 19
Time: 12 pm to 4 pm
Where: Various venues
Price: Free

Sail-In Cinema

What: For the first time, the free movie event will be condensed into two action-packed nights that feature all of the same exciting activities, free treats and family fun enjoyed by movie-goers over the past seven years. This year’s theme looks at life outside the ordinary with movies based on the idea of adventure “In Other Worlds.”

When: August 10 and 11
Time: Roughly 9 pm
Where: Sugar Beach, 25 Dockside Drive
Price: Free to attend

Pickering Food Truck Festival

What: Friends, kids, pets are all welcome to this park turned foodie haven in mid-August. Admission is free for the weekend of outdoor eating, plus there will be a beer garden, children’s village, beer garden, and stage showcasing live entertainment.

When: August 10 to 12
Time: Friday, 5 pm to 9 pm; Saturday, 12 pm to 9 pm; Sunday, 12 pm to 8 pm
Where: The Esplanade Park, 1 The Esplanade
Price: Admission is free

Taste of the Danforth

Taste of The Danforth

Taste of The Danforth

What: Among the largest street festivals in Canada, this weekend event attracts more than 1.5 million attendees each year to celebrate the Danforth’s Greek heritage along with Canada’s multiculturalism.

When: August 10 to 12
Time: Friday, 6 pm to 11 pm; Saturday, 12 pm to 11 pm; Sunday, 12 pm to 10 pm
Where: The Danforth
Price: Admission is free

Waterfront Night Market

What: Now in its ninth year, the Pan Asian food fest and lifestyle expo is popping-up in an all-new location this year. For the first time ever the night market will take over the West Island at Ontario Place.

When: August 10 to 12
Time: Friday, 4 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, 2 pm to 12 am; Sunday, 4 pm to 10 pm
Where: Ontario Place, West Island, 955 Lake Shore Blvd. West
Price: Admission is free

Friday Night Lights at Downsview Park

What: Taking place at the football field and running track at Downsview Park, moviegoers can enjoy a variety of recent family-friendly flicks all summer long.

When: August 10 and 31
Time: Roughly 9:30 pm
Where: 79 Carl Hall Road, Football Field & Running Track
Price: Free to attend

Sweetery Toronto Dessert Festival

What: Summer in Toronto just got even sweeter now that this annual dessert festival is back. Toronto’s Sweetery Food Fest is set to return to David Pecaut Square in August for a weekend filled with sugary goodness.

When: August 11 and 12
Time: Saturday, noon to 10 pm; Sunday, noon to 9 pm
Where:
 David Pecaut Square, 55 John Street, Toronto
Price: Admission is free

Etsy Summer Market

Etsy market

Etsy/Facebook

What: Toronto meet your makers. That’s right, come and meet, shop and discover all the local Etsy talent Toronto has to offer. Here you’ll find one of a kind goods, must-have locally made essentials and swoon-worthy gift and lifestyle items. The first 50 visitors receive a complimentary swag bag.

When: August 12
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: The Great Hall (Lower Hall)
Price: Admission is free

Christie Pits Film Festival

What: This month’s Christie Pits Film Festival screenings include Before Sunrise, and two surprise screenings. Although all screenings are free of charge, there is a suggested donation of $10.

When: August 12, 18 and 19
Time: Roughly 9 pm
Where: Christie Pits Park, 779 Crawford Ave West
Price: Free to attend

Museum of the Moon

What: The world-renowned Museum of the Moon is a touring art installation by artist Luke Jerram, and will be landing in Stratford as it makes its first-ever appearance in the province. The strikingly realistic, scale-model moon exhibit has been visiting major cultural cities around the world since 2016, inspiring and entertaining with its blend of science and art.

When: August 16 to 25
Time: 8:30 pm
Where: Avon River, Tom Patterson Island
Price: Free

Mississauga ITALIFEST

What: ITALFEST celebrates all that is Italian. Featuring delicious food and crafts from 40+ vendors and artisans, cultural and family-oriented activities, entertainment from local and international talent, a thriving “marketo” and much more, the festival spotlights a community rich in heritage, entertainment and family values.

When: August 17 and 18
Time: Friday, 2 pm to 11 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 10:50 pm
Where: Mississauga Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Drive
Price: Free admission

Toronto Flower Market

Toronto flower market

Toronto Flower Market

What: There will be 18 incredible vendor stalls on display to visit and admire, each selling an assortment of seasonal showstoppers including tulips, daffodils, gerbera, orchids, hyacinths, muscari, lilacs, and more. Plus there will also be an array of dahlia tubers, seedlings, garden planters, handmade pots and indoor plants also for sale.

When: August 18
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: CAMH, 1001 Queen Street West
Price: Free admission

Butterfly Festival

What: This August, visitors can learn about Monarch Butterflies through many activities, nature hikes, and educational displays, while discovering the more than 55 species of butterflies recorded at the park to date. This fun family event is free and everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the incredible migration of the Monarch Butterfly.

When: August 18
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Tommy Thompson Park, 1 Leslie Street, Toronto
Price: Free to attend

Open Streets TO

What: Open Streets programs, also known as Ciclovias, open streets to people and close them to cars encouraging participation in physical activity and healthy recreation. They are free, regularly occurring programs, and offer communities the opportunity to experience their city streets in a whole new way.

When: August 19
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Bloor and Yonge Streets
Price: Free to attend

Warriors’ Day Parade

What: The 97th Warriors’ Day Parade honouring the Toronto Garrison will take place on August 18. The event recognizes those who served and those serving today.

When: August 19
Time: 10:30 am
Where: Canadian National Exhibition, 210 Princes’ Blvd.
Price: Free to attend

TAIWANfest 2018

TAIWANfest

TAIWANfest

What: The annual event celebrates, shares, and exchanges culture and heritage between communities and uses visual, musical, theatrical, and culinary arts to highlight cross-cultural values.

When: August 24 to 26
Time: Varies by day 
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Admission is free

Bloorcourt Festival

What: This festival boasts one of Toronto’s largest gatherings of artists, musicians, artisans, and masters of all crafts. There will be vendors, emerging artists and veterans alike. There will be plenty of family fun complete with inflatables, crafts, and interactive entertainment for the children to enjoy.

When: August 25
Time: 12 pm to 10 pm
Where: Bloor Street West, Dufferin Street to Montrose Avenue
Price: Free to attend

The Bentway Block Party

What: The Bentway is hosting a massive block party this August to celebrate the full completion of Phase 1 construction and everyone’s invited. On Saturday, August 25, the entire family can enjoy fun games and activities in the Kids Zone, check out the open-air arcade from Hand Eye Society, roaming live musical performances, dance workshops, a street dance competition, and more.

When: August 25
Time: 12 pm to 10 pm
Where: The Bentway
Price: Free

Sorauren Park Free Movies

What: Toronto’s Sorauren Park will be hosting free movie screenings this summer, with showings happening on the fourth Saturday of every month from June to September. This year, attendees can look forward to pizza dinners before each screening from the new Sorauren Park Pizza Oven, prepared and presented by Pizzeria Defina. August’s screening is Ghostbusters. 

When: August 25
Time: Pizza dinner at 7 pm, movie starts at 8:30 pm
Where: Sorauren Avenue Park, 289 Sorauren Ave
Price: Free to attend

Scarborough Afro-Carib Fest

SACFestival/Facebook

What: The 7th annual Scarborough Afro-Carib Fest will feature live musical performances, exciting entertainment from local and international artists, mouth-watering ethnic cuisine, visual arts, drum and dance workshops, kid’s zone, dance competitions, and much more. Definitely not an event to miss.

When: August 25 and 26
Time: 12 pm to 9 pm
Where: Albert Campbell Square, 150 Borough Drive
Price: Free admission

Pan American Food and Music Festival

What: Celebrate the cuisines and cultures of the 41 countries of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, when the Pan American Food and Music Festival returns to Toronto this August.

When: August 25 and 26
Time: Varies by day
Where: Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas Street East
Price: Admission is free

Pedestrian Sunday’s in Kensington Market

What: The 15th season of Pedestrian Sundays brings back one awesome way to spend your Sundays this summer. Performers, musicians, artists, and shopping, basically an awesome Sunday Funday.

When: August 31
Time: 12 pm to 7 pm
Where: Kensington Market
Price: Free admission

Buskerfest

What: The Toronto International Buskerfest for Epilepsy Awareness is hitting the beach this year and will be taking place at Woodbine Park.  This year you can expect a beer garden, midway, family fun zone, and plenty of exciting surprises.

When: August 31 to September 3
Time: Friday, 12 pm to 11 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 11 pm; Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm; Monday, 11 am to 8 pm
Where: Woodbine Park, Coxwell Ave at Lakeshore Boulevard
Price: Admission is free

See also

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Ainsley Smith
Ainsley is a Staff Writer at Daily Hive. She's a former Vancouverite turned Torontonian who is passionate about avocado toast, aesthetics, and avocado toast aesthetics. Story idea? E-mail her at [email protected]

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