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Ontario’s Top 15 Festivals to Attend for a Fun-tastic Time!

Ontario’s Top 15 Festivals to Attend for a Fun-tastic Time!

Ever find yourself in that black hole of boredom where even TikTok feels like watching paint dry? Been there, done that. 

So, picture this: me, lying on my bed, phone in hand, trying to stave off the boredom. Next thing you know, bam! Phone to the face—ouch. But hey, that little mishap led me to discover something awesome: Ontario’s festival scene! 

We’re talking festivals galore—music, food, and art. Oh, and did I mention we’ve got festivals for boats and kites? Like, who even comes up with this stuff? 

And the best part? Most of them won’t cost you a dime! Well, except for those sneaky ticketed ones I’ve already splurged on. But hey, FOMO is just part of the fun, eh?

So, consider this my gift to you: a cheat code to banishing boredom with some seriously epic Ontario festivals. You’re welcome, future fun-seeker!

Electric Island

Media from electricislandto

Address: Downsview Park, 25 Carl Hall Road

Date: Jun 29–30, 2024 (Saturday to Sunday) 

Contact details: N/A

Admission fee: $$-$$$


If you’re into electronic beats and picturesque settings, you’ve got to check out Electric Island. Imagine this: you’re chilling on a lush island, surrounded by shimmering water, with the Toronto skyline peeking from afar. 

And what’s making this scene even better? World-class DJs and live acts pumping out beats that’ll get you grooving from afternoon till night! 

But hey, Electric Island isn’t just about the music (although that’s a huge part of it). Nope, it’s a whole experience. You’ve got gourmet food trucks dishing out delicious eats, art installations to feast your eyes on, and chill spots galore for those much-needed breaks between sets. 

And let’s talk about the crowd – it’s a melting pot of die-hard dance music aficionados and party animals all looking for that one-of-a-kind outdoor experience.

Pro tips:

Get there early to snag a good spot on the ferry and kick off your festival adventure without any stress.


Media from caribana.toronto

Address: Exhibition Place & Lakeshore Boulevard, 15 Saskatchewan Road

Date: August 1–5, 2024 (Thursday to Monday)

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $$$-$$$$


Caribana, Ontario’s liveliest and most colorful festival, is a celebration of Caribbean culture that’s an absolute must-see. The grand parade steals the show, with participants decked out in elaborate costumes, grooving to the rhythm of soca, reggae, calypso, and steelpan music.

Best part? General admission to the parade won’t cost you a dime. Yep, you read that right. It’s free! Of course, if you’re up for hitting some of the special events and parties, you might need to snag a ticket, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Caribana draws a diverse crowd eager to soak in the vibrant festivities. And let’s talk about the food stalls – they’re a paradise for your taste buds, serving up mouthwatering Caribbean delights like jerk chicken, roti, and patties.

Pro tips:

To keep the good vibes flowing at Caribana, make sure not to bring any drinks, drugs, weapons, or other banned items onto the festival grounds.

SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival

Media from singtoronto

Address: Toronto: Redwood Theatre; Saint Luke’s United Church; The Great Hall; El Mocambo Lounge; The Rec Room; other locations

Date: May 25 to June 2, 2024; 2025: TBA

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $-$$


If you’re into a cappella music, then SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival is where it’s at. This festival brings together some of the best vocal talent from all corners of the globe, showing off the amazing range and versatility of the human voice. 

No matter your musical taste – whether you’re into jazz, pop, gospel, or classical – SING! has something that’ll blow you away. The atmosphere at SING! is super relaxed yet totally engaging, making it perfect for everyone from die-hard music fans to families looking for a fun day out. 

And here’s the best part: tickets won’t break the bank, with loads of free community performances to check out. 

Not to mention, SING! also offers workshops where you can pick up some vocal tricks of the trade and maybe even rub shoulders with some of the performers. 

Pro tips:

Take a look at the festival schedule to find free performances and workshops, so you can make the most of your experience without spending a lot.

Brampton KiteFest

Media from kitefestcanada

Address: Greenbriar Recreation Centre, 1100 Central Park Dr, Brampton

Date: June 8–9, 2024

Contact details: @kitefestcanada

Admission fee: $


So, have you heard about Brampton KiteFest? It’s this awesome event that basically turns the sky into a giant canvas of colourful kites. 

It’s the perfect day out for the whole family. There are kite-flying demos, workshops to learn the tricks of the trade, and tons of activities to keep the kids entertained. 

Oh, and did I mention? Admission is totally cheap, so it’s a no-brainer for a day of fun without burning a hole through your wallet. And if you don’t have a kite, no worries – you can snag one there or even try your hand at making your own! 

Alongside all the kite action, there are also food vendors dishing out tasty treats and craft stalls to explore. 

Pro tips:

Get there early to secure a good parking spot and find the perfect place to launch your kite so that you have plenty of space to enjoy the festival.

Beaches Jazz Festival

Media from beachesjazz

Address: Toronto: Jimmie Simpson Park; Woodbine Park; Queen St. East

Date: July 5–28, 2024

Contact details: 416-698-2152; [email protected] 

Admission fee: Free


The Beaches Jazz Festival is a total gem of Toronto’s summer scene, turning the Beaches neighbourhood into a musical haven. With a killer lineup of jazz, blues, and funk acts taking over Queen Street East and nearby parks, this free fest is where it’s at (yep, you heard that right).

And let’s not forget about StreetFest – it’s a real crowd-pleaser. Musicians jamming out on the sidewalks create this super intimate and engaging experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

But it’s not just about the music. There are plenty of food vendors serving up all sorts of tasty treats, plus craft stalls with some seriously unique finds.

Pro tip:

Bring a folding chair or blanket so you can comfortably enjoy the performances, and don’t forget to explore the local shops and restaurants in the area for a complete experience.


Media from lulaworld.records

Address: Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Date: May 30–June 9, 2024

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $$


Lulaworld at Lula Lounge is like a musical passport to the world, bringing the vibrant beats of Latin, jazz, and global tunes right to Toronto’s doorstep. This festival is a total celebration of diversity in music, packing in performances that’ll have you dancing in your seat and hitting the floor. 

What makes it even better? The intimate setting of Lula Lounge. It’s like stepping into a musical oasis, with the atmosphere adding an extra layer of charm to the whole experience. 

And get this – tickets are totally fair, ranging from just $10 to $30 (some admissions are free!). So you can groove to some seriously high-quality tunes without emptying your wallet. Plus, they offer dance workshops where you can brush up on your moves and dive deep into different cultures. 

Pro tips:

Don’t miss out on the chance to try the delicious Latin cuisine at Lula Lounge—it’s the perfect match for the festival’s lively atmosphere.

Mardi Gras Orillia

Media from streetsaliveproductions

Address: Port of Orillia

Date: July 27, 2024

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: Free


Get ready to experience the vibrant spirit of New Orleans right here in Ontario at Mardi Gras Orillia! This event brings all the fun of Mardi Gras to the streets with colourful parades, bead throwing, and live music that’ll have you dancing in the streets.

Think: themed parties, street performances, and an energy that’s so infectious, you won’t be able to resist joining in on the fun. The streets of Orillia light up with bright decorations and cheerful crowds, perfect for both adults and kids alike. 

And the best part? General admission won’t cost you a thing, so you can soak up all the excitement without breaking the bank. Just keep in mind that some special events might require tickets. 

But let’s talk about the food. Oh, the food! You’ll find plenty of local vendors serving up tasty treats that’ll satisfy all your cravings. 

Pro tip:

Get your outfit game on point with some bright, festive colours, and keep those hands ready to catch some beads during the parade—because that’s all part of the Mardi Gras fun!

Carassauga Festival of Cultures

Media from carassauga

Address: 5600 Rose Cherry Pl, Mississauga

Date: May 24–26, 2024; 2025: TBA

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $


Carassauga is like a passport to the world right here in Mississauga! This multicultural extravaganza celebrates the incredible diversity of our community with a dazzling array of food, music, dance, and art from across the globe.

The real star of the show? The 30+ cultural pavilions—each offering a unique peek into different corners of the world. From traditional performances to crafts and cuisines, it’s like taking a whirlwind tour without leaving the city.

Admission won’t put a dent in your wallet either, with tickets priced at just $10 to $15. So you can indulge your wanderlust without stretching your budget too thin.

But it’s not just about sightseeing. Nope, at Carassauga, you can taste your way around the world with international dishes, catch captivating cultural performances, and even get hands-on with interactive activities.

Pro tip:

Make sure to plan your visit by checking out the pavilion schedule ahead of time. That way, you can maximise your experience and dive into as many cultures as possible while you’re there.

Canadian Music Week

Media from canadianmusicweek

Address: The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto

Date: June 1–8, 2024

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $$-$$$


Canadian Music Week is the ultimate gathering for music lovers and industry pros alike, serving up a jam-packed week of concerts, conferences, and awards. 

With a lineup that spans emerging talents to established stars across every genre you can imagine, this festival is a goldmine of live music and insider knowledge.

The vibe? Electric. Picture yourself surrounded by fellow music enthusiasts, soaking in performances and seizing every networking opportunity that comes your way.

And the crowd? Let’s just say it’s as diverse as the music itself. From die-hard fans to industry insiders and trendsetters, you never know who you might bump into.

Pro tip:

Grab yourself a wristband so you can hop between venues and events without missing a beat. That way, you can soak up all the action and catch a variety of awesome performances and talks along the way.

Canal Days

Media from canaldayspc

Address: 66 Charlotte Street, Port Colborne

Date: August 2–5, 2024

Contact details: 905-835-2900

Admission fee: Free


Canal Days in Port Colborne is like stepping into a maritime fairy tale, complete with tall ships, boat tours, and dazzling fireworks that light up the night sky. This festival is all about celebrating the city’s rich marine heritage in style. 

From young explorers to seasoned sea dogs, there’s something for everyone here. Picture yourself wandering through the festival, surrounded by the tales of the Great Lakes and the lively buzz of a community in full celebration mode. 

And guess what? Admission won’t cost you a dime, though you might want to budget a bit extra for activities like boat tours (totally worth it, trust me).

Pro tips:

Hop on the FREE Canal Days shuttle from either the Vale Health & Wellness Centre parking lot (550 Elizabeth Street) or the West Side Plaza Parking Lot (53 West Side Road) to dive straight into the festival fun.


Media from luminatofestival

Address: Toronto: 120 Ian MacDonald Blvd; 5600 Yonge St; Kennedy Subway Station; other locations

Date: June 5–16, 2024

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: $-$$


Luminato is like Toronto’s own artistic playground, where innovation meets avant-garde in the most captivating ways. This festival is all about pushing boundaries and redefining what art can be, with a mix of theatre, dance, music, and visual arts that’ll leave you spellbound.

Imagine the city coming alive with creativity and inspiration, drawing in art lovers and culture seekers from every corner. And there’s something for everyone, with ticket prices varying by event and plenty of free outdoor installations and performances to dive into. 

So, if you’re ready to experience art in its most thought-provoking and imaginative forms, Luminato is where it’s at. Get ready to be inspired!

Pro tips:

Take advantage of the free outdoor events and installations to experience the festival’s artistic spirit without spending a dime, and explore different neighbourhoods to discover hidden gems.


Media from nxne

Address: Across Downtown Toronto

Date: June 12–16, 2024

Contact details: 416-901-6963; [email protected] 

Admission fee: $$


Get ready to find your next musical obsession at NXNE (North by Northeast), Ontario’s very own version of SXSW. This festival is all about supporting up-and-coming musicians and artists, with performances happening in cool live music spots and outdoor hangouts.

And guess what? You won’t believe the lineup! We’re talking international acts from places like Australia, Norway, Morocco, Mexico, and more, mixing it up with tons of homegrown Canadian talent. It’s like a global jam session right in our backyard!

Not to mention, you can score a full festival wristband for just $29. Yep, you heard me right! That’s the same price NXNE was rocking when it first kicked off in ’95, teaming up with Austin’s SXSW.

Pro tip:

Use the festival app to plan your schedule and discover new artists, ensuring you make the most of your experience and catch all the acts you’re excited about.

Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights

Media from winterfestivaloflights

Address: Niagara Parkway

Date: November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024; 2025: TBA

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: Free


If you’re looking for some winter magic, the annual Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls is where you want to be. It’s Canada’s largest free outdoor light festival, and it’s absolutely enchanting. 

You’ll see millions of lights and larger-than-life displays transforming the city into a sparkling wonderland. 

Most of the action happens along an 8-km stretch of the Niagara Parkway, from Clifton Hill to Dufferin Islands, but you’ll also find stunning lights in the Fallsview District, Clifton Hill District, and Lundy’s Lane. 

As you stroll along the illuminated route, you’ll be captivated by the dazzling displays and festive activities. It’s the perfect way to dive into the holiday spirit without spending a dime. 

Pro tip:

Dress warmly and take a scenic walk to fully appreciate the stunning displays and enjoy the crisp winter air—it’s an experience you won’t forget.


Media from afrofest_toronto

Address: Woodbine Park

Date: July 5–7, 2024 

Contact details: [email protected] 

Admission fee: Free


AFROFEST is Ontario’s premier African cultural festival, lighting up Toronto’s Woodbine Park every year. It’s actually North America’s biggest free African music festival, and it’s all about celebrating the vibrant richness of African heritage with music, dance, food, and art. 

You can catch live performances from top African artists, join in interactive dance workshops, and even jump into some communal drumming circles.

Plus, their food stalls take you on a culinary journey across Africa, serving up delicious dishes like jollof rice, injera, suya, and more. It’s a great chance to taste authentic African cuisine and support local vendors.

Pro tip:

Make sure to sample the different African cuisines available at the food stalls for an authentic taste of the festival and an unforgettable culinary experience.

Heritage Sounds Music Festival 

Media from

Address: Chinguacousy Park, Brampton

Date: June 13–16,2024

Contact details: 416 639 0764

Admission fee: Free – $


Get ready for four days jam-packed with music of all genres and over 50 artists at Heritage Sounds Music Festival in Chinguacousy Park. It’s all about celebrating South Asian music while encouraging musical exploration across cultures.

The goal? To shine a spotlight on the area’s rich musical heritage and give both up-and-coming and seasoned musicians a chance to shine.

And that’s not all! You can also indulge in some tasty eats from local food vendors and browse the craft market for some unique finds. It’s all part of the festive vibe at Heritage Sounds Music Festival.

Pro tips:

Just a heads-up: no alcoholic beverages are allowed at all. Security will be checking bags before you can enter.

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