Your Guide to Spring in Toronto

Your Ultimate Spring 2015 Activities Guide

Spring has officially sprung and so have a new season of great Toronto events. Get your music fix at CMW, NXNE, Field Trip and more. For all you artsy folks, check out great exhibits and events that won’t be here much longer. And when you’ve worked up an apatite or need a refreshing craft brew, satisfy your cravings at the Toronto Dumpling + Sake Fest, Ontario Craft Beer Week, and so much more. Finally, work it all off and maybe even raise money for a good cause at one of the many outdoorsy activities that happen during spring in Toronto.

Many of these only happen once a year so don’t miss out! Did we miss a great event? Let us know in the comments at the bottom.
 

Music Events

CAN’T-MISS SPRING CONCERTS | VARIOUS VENUES IN TORONTO
Check out our list of must-see shows this season including Lana Del Rey with Courtney Love, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Belle & Sebastien, Passion Pit, The Decemberists with Alvvays, and more!
 

CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK | $10-$150, MAY 1 – MAY 10 AT VARIOUS VENUES
 IN TORONTO
Canadian Music Week is back and has decided winter is too cold, so they also want to join in on the springtime fun this year. With tickets available now and some shows already sold out, this is one you are not going to want to miss. The lineup includes Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Death Cab for Cutie, Alvvays, Billy Talent, Brave Shores, and more.

 

FIELD TRIP MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL | $70 – $235, 
JUNE 6 & 7 AT FORT YORK & GARRISON COMMON

This Toronto community music and arts festival returns again with more than just internationally acclaimed artists like Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket; you can look forward to the culinary dishes and art exhibits as well. This is also a family friendly with tons of activities for the kiddies to do plus children 12 and under get in for FREE.
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NXNE | $25-$60, JUNE 17 – 21, VARIOUS VENUES THROUGHOUT TORONTO
Celebrate NXNE’s 21st anniversary with concerts from Action Bronson, The New Pornographers, Real Estate, and more, plus art, film, comedy acts, and workshops.
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TD TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL | $0-$80, JUNE 18 – 27 AT VARIOUS VENUES THROUGHOUT TORONTO
The TD Toronto Jazz Festival is recognized as one of the best jazz fests in North America. It began in 1987, and now brings over 500,000 jazz lovers to the city over 10 days. It features over 350 performances at about 40 locations around Toronto, with the heart of the festival gathering at Nathan Phillips Square, where a fully-licensed Mainstage Marquee and outdoor stage are set up. Some of the shows are even free.
 

Arts & Culture

DOUGLAS COUPLAND: EVERYWHERE IS ANYWHERE IS ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING EXHIBIT | $16, JAN 31 – APRIL 26 AT THE ROM
Coupland is an artist and writer who is widely known across Canada for his use of diverse media: from Lego to painting, he presents topics that everyone can relate to, like the presence of technology in modern life and the Canadian identity (apparently it’s more than hockey, beer and bacon). His work will make you look at the world in a different, wide-eyed way.
 

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: NOW’S THE TIME EXHIBIT | $19.50, FEBRUARY 7 – MAY 10 AT THE AGO
Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat made a name for himself in the 1980s New York City art scene. His fame came from his work that took on important, topical issues that are still relevant today: racism, social tension, and identity. Basquiat passed away at only 27, cutting his brilliant career short, but his work still creates conversations today. The AGO exhibit is the first major retrospective of his work in our country, and features paintings and drawings from his personal collection.
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TIFF KIDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | $13 – $25, APRIL 7 – 19 AT THE TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX
TIFF brings the festival fever to the younger set of movie lovers, offering movies for children as young as three with a variety of subjects, a play space, and an opening night movie and party. The little ones will be ready to take the red carpet by storm.
 

CAVALIA’S ODYSSEO | $49.50 – $129.50, APRIL 8 – 26 AT PORT LANDS
Odysseo combines horseback riding, acrobatics and theatrical effects to create a two and a half hour show that features 70 horses from around the world, a video background that’s the size of three IMAX screens and a real life carousel. In the flesh.

 

IMAGES FESTIVAL | $6 – $8, $50 FOR VIP SHOW, APRIL 9 – 18 AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS AROUND THE CITY
The largest festival in North America for experimental and independent moving image culture takes place in Toronto, and highlights on- and off-screen innovation through modern media art from around the world. The festival presents film screenings, live images and presentations, and media art installations in galleries around the city, and features work from many renowned Canadian artists.
 

LOVE ART FAIR | FREE – $50, APRIL 17 – 19 AT HERITAGE COURT AT THE DIRECT ENERGY CENTRE
The Love Art Fair aims to bring affordable art to aficionados and showcase the talent of emerging artists through talks and tours. They also offer private tours and a late night party called Art After Dark.
 

HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL | $17-$248, APRIL 23 – MAY 3 AT VARIOUS THEATERS THROUGHOUT TORONTO
Hot Docs returns this year featuring a lively mix of public and professional events, Canadian and international programs, an international documentary market, and more.
Hot-Docs

(Photo by Angelina Earley via Flickr Creative Commons)

 

GLADSTONE GROW OP | $10
, APRIL 23 – 26 AT THE GLADSTONE HOTEL



The Gladstone Hotel’s third annual Grow Op exhibition is a four-day event that celebrates innovative ideas and conceptual responses to landscape, gardens, art, and place-making under this year’s theme: the culture of landscape.
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SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL | $49.50 – $129.50, MAY 1 – JUNE 27 AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS AROUND TORONTO
The Scotiabank Photography Festival showcases and celebrates photographers with the hopes to increase recognition and exposure for local artists while offering knowledge and creativity to an audience of over 1.8 million people. It’s also the largest photography event in the world. No big deal.
 

INSIDE OUT TORONTO LESBIAN & GAY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL | $5.50, MAY 6 AT THE TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX
As a part of the Retro Series that celebrates their 25th anniversary, Inside Out is presenting Thom Fitzgerald’s 1997 flick The Hanging Garden, which centres around main character William’s trip back to his Nova Scotia home, where he is forced to confront his past.
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DOORS OPEN 2015 | FREE
, MAY 23 & 24 AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT TORONTO



The 16th annual Doors Open Toronto will offer residents and visitors an opportunity to take a peek 
behind the doors of 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.
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LUMINATO FESTIVAL | FREE & TICKETED EVENTS, JUNE 19 – 28 AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS AROUND TORONTO
This international multi-arts festival that transforms public spaces like parks and theatres to change people’s outlooks on the world. The events at the spaces celebrate theatre, dance, music, literature, food and more through live performances. Some shows combine two fields for optimum creative genius.

 

Flea Markets

Spring means flea markets are back for the season or are emerging from their winter shelters! With most ranging from free to $5 for admission this is a great way to shop for all your local goodies.

BELLWOODS FLEA MARKET on Dundas West, you can even grab a brew or classic caesar while you shop! The next one is happening on Saturday April 18th. 


PARKDALE FLEA is back in action for 2015! Browse their market on Sundays at 1266 Queen St. West
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LESLIEVILLE FLEA is holding one last flea in the fermenting cellar in the beautiful Distillery District on April 26th before it moves outdoors for the season.

Check out our list of TORONTO’S FINEST FLEA MARKETS for more.


 

Get Outside

WATCH THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS BLOOM | FREE ALL SPRING AT HIGH PARK
For nature lovers, the famous cherry trees in High Park are all the rage. The Sakura trees can be found around Hillside Gardens and at the Duck Pond. Heads up: The best time to visit is in late April or early May.
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HARRY’S SPRING RUN OFF | FREE, APRIL 4 IN HIGH PARK

This marathon offers different length runs for athletes of varying practice. It also offers a cash prize for the winner and for the best dressed runner. And there’s complimentary maple syrup.
 

NATIONAL PILLOW FIGHT DAY | FREE, APRIL 4 IN NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE

All of your childhood dreams are coming true in a big way. And in public. Note: Pajamas are welcome.
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(Photo by Alex Indigo via Flickr Creative Commons)

 

25TH CANADA LIFE CN TOWER CLIMB | PUBLIC CLIMBERS MUST RAISE $75/ EACH TEAM CLIMBER MUST RAISE $150, APRIL 25 + 26 AT THE CN TOWER 

To celebrate 25 years of the event, The CN Tower Climb for the WWF has reduced their minimum donation amount. You’re in for a workout, but you’re saving endangered species. Figure out just how high the CN Tower really is by climbing the steps alone or with a team.
 

SPORTING LIFE 10K | $60, MAY 10 ON YONGE STREET

The Sporting Life 10k helps to send kids with cancer to camp. Runners head down Yonge Street, taking a tour of the city from Roselawn to Fort York.
 

MUD HERO TORONTO | $65, MAY 22 & MAY 23 AT ONTARIO PLACE
Ready to get muddy? For the first time ever, this event will be held in the City and it’s bound to be a dirty time. Six kilometers, 20 obstacles and a free brew and tee once you finish the race. Time to prove your hero status.
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SLOBBERFEST 2015 | FREE, MAY 30 AT THE BEACHES
Do you like long walks on the beach with furry friends? The Beaches is hosting its own event for the pooches with vendors and attractions of all kinds. Will your dog be the new King or Queen of Slobberfest?
Slobber754

(Photo by Duncan Rawlinson via Flickr)

 

COLOR ME RAD | $45 – $55, MAY 30 IN DOWNSVIEW PARK

Color Me Rad benefits Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Toronto and is loosely based on the Hindu Festival of Colors, otherwise known as Holi. The festive colors used are a sign of winter’s end and spring’s new beginnings.
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For the Foodies

SAVOUR TORONTO FOOD TOURS | $60,
 WEEKENDS ALL SPRING, TBD
Toronto is a foodie’s dream. Not sure where to start? You pick the neighbourhood and they will show you its best culinary gems. Savour Toronto’ food tours take up an afternoon from Fridays till Sundays and you can choose from the “Kenzington Krawl”, “Best of the West”, and specialty ones such as the new “Le Tour de Café” and “Vegecursion”.
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TORONTO DUMPLING + SAKE FEST | $55, APRIL 9, PROPELLER COFFEE
Nine chefs from all over the world will head to Propeller Coffee to compete against each other in the ultimate dumpling competition. Guests get to sample each dumpling, taste sake, and ticket proceeds go to The Stop Community Food Centre.
 

TORONTO LIFE BEST RESTAURANTS EVENT | $75, APRIL 9, ARTSCAPE WYCHWOOD BARNS
The inaugural Toronto Life Best Restaurants Event celebrates the 20 most exciting new Toronto restaurants, detailed in the magazine’s April issue. The chefs will offer up a curated food and drink menu, so you can eat your way through each restaurant in one night. There’s also beer pairings and coffee. Mmmmmmmmmm.
 

TORONTO FOOD + DRINK MARKET | $12, APRIL 10 – 12 AT THE DIRECT ENERGY CENTRE, EXHIBITION PLACE

Featuring food truck alley and live cooking lessons, this event combines your weekend farmers market with a culinary event all in one place.
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All things Beer

THE BREWER’S BACKYARD | GOOD FRIDAY AND VICTORIA DAY EDITION: FREE, APRIL 3 & MAY 18 AT EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS

Stuck in the city over the holiday weekends? Kick off the Brewers Backyard season with their “Great Friday” event to start your Easter weekend off. With free admission, all you have to do is buy your brews. If you miss it, celebrate Victoria Day long weekend in the Brewer’s Backyard and keep an eye out for their other events all year round including ones on Canada Day and Thanksgiving.
Brewers-Backyard

(Photo by Danielle Griscti via Flickr Creative Commons)

 

TORONTO CRAFT BREW CRUISE | $45, JUNE 6

With two sailing times available, trying local brewers has never had such scenery! Besides a tour around Lake Ontario, your $45 will get your ticket on the River Gambler, a commemorative mug, give sample tokens, and an awesome experience, just don’t get “sea sick”.
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ONTARIO CRAFT BEER WEEK | VARYING PRICES, JUNE 12 – 21 AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN TORONTO

The Ontario Craft Brewers are a group of over 45 breweries dedicated to making great beer in Ontario, and they’re putting together a full week of barley goodness. Keep your taste local, man.