Published on June 16th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


Top Picks for Ontario Summer Festivals and Events for 2016.

From June through September, Ontario’s cities and towns come alive with summer festivities celebrating the province’s diverse communities, thriving arts and cultural scenes, and great outdoor activities.

Of course, after September comes the fall fairs and harvest festivals in communities across the province. But who wants to think about fall yet? Let’s make the most of summer while it lasts.

Dance in the streets, enjoy the midway rides, and catch Elvis in action. Here are the not-to-be-missed Ontario summer festivals from urban street parties to country fairs.

Blue Mountain Pedal Fest – June 25th – 26th
Celebrate bicycling in beautiful Blue Mountain. Festivities include a kid’s bike parade, bike demonstrations and shows, live music, guided and solo trail rides and more.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 24-July 3
An annual 10-day event in June through early July featuring some of the biggest names in jazz performing at various venues all across the city.

Luminato Festival Toronto June 20th – 26th
Luminato Festival is an annual multi-arts festival dedicated to performance, visual art, music, theatre, dance, magic, and more held in early summer in the Hearn Generating Station, located at 440 Unwin Avenue in the Port Lands region of Toronto.

Pride Toronto – June 1st – July 3rd
Canada’s first-ever Pride Month kicks off on June 1st and runs through to the annual Pride Parade on July 3rd.  Festivities are centered around the Church and Yonge Streets neighborhood of Toronto.

Canada Day – July 1st
There will be celebrations and fireworks held in most cities and towns across the province on July 1st to celebrate the nation’s 149th birthday. Check your local community website for events and scheduling.

Toronto Fringe Festival – June 29th – July 10th
The Toronto Fringe Festival is an annual theatre festival, featuring performances and plays by both lesser-unknown and well-known artists, taking place in numerous venues around Toronto.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival – July 5th – Aug 1st
Toronto Caribbean Carnival is a three-week cultural celebration of Caribbean music, food, and dancing, as well as visual and performing arts. Various locations from Exhibition Place to the Islands.

Wasaga Beach Motorcycle Rally – July 15th – 17th
A three-day celebration of two-wheel riding in Wasaga featuring free concerts, food, and ceremonial motorcycle rides.

Honda Indy Toronto – July 15th – 17th
Toronto’s annual IndyCar Series race held at Exhibition Place features three days of heart-stopping, fast-paced car racing action. Members can get discounted tickets.

Stratford Festival – June 15 – October 30
Internationally recognized celebration of Shakespeare’s plays this renowned festival has featured performances from the finest Canadian, American, and British actors in classic roles.

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival – Prescott – July 16th – August 20th
An annual outdoor festival of Shakespeare plays performed on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Prescott, Ontario.

Collingwood Elvis Festival – July 20-25
The world’s largest celebration of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll consists of five days of Elvis tributes and impersonations and the crowning of a new King. Held in Collingwood.

Legends… of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cambridge – July 20-Aug 7
Tribute show celebrates the music of the 1950’s through the 1970’s from The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers to Elton John and Simon & Garfunkel. The Dunfield Theatre, Cambridge.

Chantry Chinook Classic Salmon Derby – July 23-Aug 7
Billed as Lake Huron’s largest fishing derby, the Chantry Chinook Classic features prizes for the largest salmon and trout caught. Kids Day is on Saturday July 30th. Held at various locations along the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula, Lake Huron.

Peterborough Musicfest – June 25th – August 24th
This eight-week summer music festival features 19 free concerts on the shores of Little Lake, Peterborough put on a variety of popular acts from across the country.

Rockhound Gemboree – Bancroft – July 28-31
Bills itself as the nation’s most celebrated gem & mineral show. (We told you there was something for everyone in Ontario.) A four-day festival featuring shopping, exploring, and learning about rocks and minerals with mineral collecting tours offered each day.

Cobourg Sandcastle Festival – July 31
Annual sand castle competition features the amazing creations of highly-skilled sand architects on Cobourg’s famous beach. Enjoy the sand sculptures, and get inspired to create your own.

Goderich Celtic Roots Festival – Aug 5-7
Goderich hosts this annual heritage festival celebrating the traditional music, dance and artistic traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and other countries where people have Celtic roots.

The Kingston Sheepdog Trials – August 5th – 7th
This annual three-day event showcases the world’s most talented dogs in action, with exploits that astound audiences of all ages. Grass Creek Park, Kingston.

Havelock Country Jamboree – August 18th – 21st
A family camping and country music festival, the Havelock Jamboree features live concerts on two stages over four days. See veteran and up-and-coming performers from across Canada and the US.

Canadian National Exhibition – Aug 19th – September 5th
One of North America’s largest annual fairs, the CNE commonly known at ‘The Ex’ features midway rides, amusement park games, live entertainment, international food and an agricultural fair. Held at Exhibition Place, Toronto.

While it might be the Grand Pooh-Bah of the summer festival circuit, for many people The Ex marks the end of the summer season. So let’s not think about now. Enjoy the long days and warm nights of July and August while they last.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Many towns and regions across the province host fund raising fairs and community festivals at various times throughout the summer. Check your local community website for events and scheduling.

There’s a lot to look forward to this summer and even more when you hang out with CAA Rewards Street Squad



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