January, February, March, and April are dominated by trade shows, such as the International Boat and Automobile shows, Metro Home Show, Outdoor Adventure Sport Show, and more. For information, call Tourism Toronto (tel. 800/499-2514 or 416/203-2600; www.torontotourism.com).
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
Interior Design Show, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Since 1999 design aficionados have been visiting this 3-day convention, which celebrates design and architecture with fascinating exhibits and interesting speakers. Mid-January.
Winterlicious, citywide. Baby, it’s cold outside, but Toronto’s restaurants really know how to heat things up. Roughly 220 of the city’s finest eateries offer prix-fixe lunch ($23–$33) and dinner menus ($33–$53). Late January through early February. Note: Bookings open early January; spots fill up fast at such hot-ticket restaurants as Canoe.
Canadian International AutoShow, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Every year, almost 300,000 auto fanatics pilgrim here for a 10-day automobile show to ogle the futuristic alternative energy vehicles and souped-up exotics on display.
Kuumba Festival, Harbourfront Centre. One of Toronto’s longest-running festivals celebrating black history and the black community, Kuumba brings photographers, comedians, speakers and performers together.
Lunar New Year Celebrations, various sites in the city. Festivities include traditional and contemporary performances of Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese opera, dancing, music, and more. Harbourfront often has excellent performances throughout the 2-week fete. For more information on the lineup, visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.
Canada Blooms, Enercare Centre. At this time of year, any glimpse of greenery is welcome. Canada Blooms treats visitors to a sprawling series of indoor gardens and flower displays, seminars with green-thumb experts, and competitions. Second or third week of March.
One-of-a-Kind Craft Show, Enercare Centre. More than 500 crafts artists from across Canada display their unique wares at this craft show. Late March to early April; check for exact dates.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, downtown. Toronto’s own version of the classic Irish celebration. Call 416/487-1566 or visit www.stpatrickstoronto.com. March 17. Some years held on different days.
Toronto ComiCon, Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Locals know that this 3-day fete has taken over the Convention Centre when X-Men, Pokemon, and Sailor Scouts are seen riding the streetcars next to the regular nine-to-fivers in suits. Anime lovers and fantasy geeks flock to Toronto for this event, which brings in celebs for panel discussions and fan meet-and-greets. Mid-March; check for dates.
Toronto Festival of Storytelling, various venues. This event celebrates international folklore with almost 100 storytellers imparting legends and fables from around the world. Go to www.torontofestivalofstorytelling.ca. Late March to early April; check for dates.
Hot Docs Film Festival, citywide. North America’s largest documentary festival has grown from a modest celebration to a 10-day extravaganza showcasing more than 240 films from some 40 countries. Late April to early May.
Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This festival presents the plays of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, as well as modern works, too. Early April through first weekend of December.
Total Health Show, Metro Convention Centre. Founded in 1975, this 3-day event organizes panels and events with medical professionals, authors, alternative practitioners, organic farmers, and local chefs to talk about public and personal health issues. Mid-April.
Canadian Music Week, citywide. Over the course of this 2-week music fest, more than 1,000 bands from Canada and abroad descend on the city to perform at 60 different venues. There’s also an industry conference with workshops and talks. Mid-May.
CONTACT Photography Festival, citywide. This annual month-long event shows the work of more than 500 Canadian and international photographers. May 1 to 31.
Doors Open Toronto, citywide. Hugely popular, this weekend event invites city residents and visitors alike to tour some of Toronto’s architectural marvels. Some of the more than 150 participating buildings aren’t normally open to the public, and all are free of charge. Late May.
Inside Out, citywide. This 9-day LGBT film festival has nurtured plenty of new talent and supported many established artists. Late May through early June.
The Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario. Featuring a wide range of contemporary and classic plays, this festival always includes several works by Shakespeare. Late April through early November.
Pedestrian Sundays, Kensington Market. Throughout the warmer months, Toronto’s colorful Kensington Market is closed to cars. There are impromptu parades, buskers, snack vendors, and artists roaming the streets where cars once parked. Late May through to the end of October.
Luminato, citywide. First launched in 2007, this 9-day arts festival has quickly become a highlight on the city’s calendar. Featuring music, dance, theater, art, and educational programs, it really does offer something for the whole family. Early to mid-June.
North by Northeast Festival, citywide. Known in the music biz as NXNE, this hot event features rock and indie bands at multiple venues around town.
TD Toronto Jazz Festival, citywide. Jazz legends, ingénues, and up-and-comers perform at venues big and small. Recently, the 4-decade-old music fest centered around Yorkville, with pop-up stages and concerts taking place in funky bars and elegant halls such as Koerner Hall. Late June/early July; dates vary.
Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival, Centre Island. More than 180 teams of dragon-boaters compete in the 2-day event, which commemorates the death of the Chinese philosopher and poet Qu Yuan. Mid-June.
Pride Toronto, citywide. Celebrating Toronto’s queer community, Pride features events, performances, symposiums, and parties. It culminates in an extravagant Sunday parade, one of the biggest in North America. Late June.
Toronto Fringe Festival, citywide. More than 100 troupes participate in this 11-day grassroots theater festival. Family-friendly works are presented under the FringeKinds! banner. Late June to early July.
Beaches International Jazz Festival, Queen Street East, east of Woodbine. Both local and international jazz artists turn out for this annual festival, which plays out over the month of July. All of the performances are free. Late July.
Canada Day Celebrations, citywide. Street parties, fireworks, and other special events commemorate the day. For information, visit the Tourism Toronto website at www.seetorontonow.com. July 1.
Caribbean Carnival, citywide. Toronto’s version of Carnival, colloquially referred to as Caribana, transforms the city for an entire month. It’s complete with traditional foods from the Caribbean and Latin America, ferry cruises, picnics, children’s events, and concerts, and culminates with an epic parade. Early July through early August.
Honda Indy, the Exhibition Place Street circuit. Formerly known as the Molson Indy, this is one of Canada’s major races on the IndyCar circuit. Away from the track, you’ll find live music and beer gardens. Second weekend in July.
RBC Canadian Open, Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Hamilton. Formerly called the PGA Tour Canadian Open, Canada’s national golf tournament has featured the likes of Greg Norman and Tiger Woods. Early July.
Salsa In Toronto, citywide. This 3-week Latino festival culminates with Salsa on St. Clair, a riotous 2-day street party with dancing, vendors, and live music. Early July; dates vary.
Summerlicious, citywide. It’s just like January’s Winterlicious event, except that you can dine alfresco. The prix-fixe menus are some of the best deals around. See www.toronto.ca for details and a complete list of participating restaurants. First 2 weeks of July.
Toronto Summer Music Festival, various venues in Toronto. Whether you’re bonkers about baroque or ravished by the Russian composers, this celebration of classical music is sure to delight. There are concerts, master classes, lectures and more, all on a classic note, of course. Mid-July through early August.
BuskerFest, Woodbine Park. Jugglers, acrobats, mimes, magicians, musicians, and other street entertainers swarm this east end park for a 4-day stretch. Late August.
Canadian National Exhibition, Exhibition Place. It’s an old-style touring amusement fair. One of the world’s largest exhibitions, this 18-day extravaganza features midway rides, display buildings, free shows, and grandstand performers. The 3-day Canadian International Air Show (first staged in 1878) is a bonus. Mid-August through Labor Day.
Rogers Cup, Aviva Centre at York University. This international tennis championship is an important stop on the pro tennis tour. Early August.
Taste of the Danforth, Danforth Avenue, starting at Broadview Avenue. Toronto’s Hellenic neighborhood puts on a weekend-long party in August. The major thoroughfare is transformed into a street party fueled by gyros, loukoumades, spanakopita, live music, and ouzo. Opa! Early August.
JFL42, citywide. This offshoot of the successful Montréal-based comedy festival Just for Laughs brings to town the world’s top comics, alongside emerging talent. Late September.
Toronto International Film Festival, citywide. The stars come out for one of the largest film festivals in the world. Almost 400 films from 80-plus countries are shown over 10 days. Outside of red-carpet season, award-winning artsy flicks are screened year-round at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. For information, go to www.tiff.net. Mid-September.
Word on the Street, Harbourfront Centre. This literati-loved event celebrates the written word with readings, discounted books and magazines, and children’s events. Other major Canadian cities hold similar events throughout September. Last weekend in September.
International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront. Founded in 1980, this renowned 10-day literary festival is arguably the most prestigious in Canada. It draws the absolute top writers from around the world and at home, and has also proven to be an important stage for discovering new talent. Among the literary luminaries who have appeared are Salman Rushdie, Margaret Drabble, Thomas Kenneally, Joyce Carol Oates, A. S. Byatt, and Margaret Atwood. For information, visit www.readings.org. Late October through early November.
Nuit Blanche, citywide. Art takes over the street for this all-night art party. Installations pepper the town, and bars stay open until nearly dawn. For details, visit www.toronto.ca. Early October; some years late September.
Oktoberfest, Kitchener–Waterloo, about 1 hour from Toronto. This famed 9-day drinkfest features cultural events, plus a pageant and parade. Mid-October.
Toronto Maple Leafs Opening Night, Scotiabank Arena. Torontonians love their hockey team, and opening night is always a big event. For tickets, visit www.nhl.com/mapleleafs/tickets. October.
Cavalcade of Lights, Nathan Phillips Square. This holiday celebration brings to life the skating rink at City Hall with a fantastic light show, performances, parties, and fireworks. Visit www.toronto.ca for more information. Late November through late December.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Exhibition Place. The 12-day show is the largest indoor agricultural and equestrian competition in the world. Displays include giant vegetables and fruits, homey crafts, farm machinery, livestock, and more. A member of the British royal family traditionally attends the horse show; in 2010, Prince Charles and Camilla cut the ribbon. Mid-November.
Santa Claus Parade, downtown. A favorite with kids since 1905, it features marching bands, floats, clowns, and jolly St. Nick. American visitors are usually surprised that the parade’s in November, but it’s better than watching Santa try to slide through slush. Third Sunday of November.
Toronto Christmas Market, Distillery District. Toronto’s pedestrian-only, redbrick Victorian neighborhood is transformed into a winter wonderland with a giant tree, singing elves, and a European-styled Christmas market, with vendors selling everything from pies to ornaments and slippers. Mid-November until late December.
New Year’s Eve at City Hall. In Nathan Phillips Square and in Mel Lastman Square in North York, concerts begin at around 10pm to usher in the countdown to the New Year. Visit www.toronto.ca for more information. December 31.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.