Great Ontario Festivals and Events include Canada Day
Celebrations, Jazz Festivals, Food Festivals, Aboriginal Festivals and
Canada Day Celebrations - July - One of the
biggest and most widely celebrated of all Ontario festivals. You'll find
parties over the province. Celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cake.
And beer... Lots of beer!
Beaches International Jazz Festival – July – Toronto
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition - July - Meet top artists and artisans in this high-calibre exhibition.
Rose Summer Theatre Season - July and August - Brampton.
Caribana Festival and Parade - August - Toronto
CNE Toronto – The Canadian National Exhibition - Aug/Sept – Toronto
Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival – Port Colborne – August
Buskerfest - August - Toronto
Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games – August – Fergus - Don't forget your kilt!
Taste of the Danforth – August – Toronto. Greek food and music.
Winona Peach Festival – August – Winona
Burlington Ribfest - Burlington - September - Labour Day Weekend. Canada's largest ribfest. Features free live concerts, crafts, kids' play area and of course the best ribs in Canada. Yum! Definitely have to return to this next year.
Labour Day weekend – the first Monday in September – All over the province. The last weekend of summer! Kids go back to school after this.
Niagara Grape and Wine Festival - Niagara Region. September - Celebrate the wine harvest with gala dinners, wine tasting events, and the annual parade.
Sweetwater Music Festival - September - Owen Sound - Chamber musicToronto International Film Festival
- September - Your chance to see the best and the most bizarre the world has to offer. From the Glam to the Gory and everything in between. And for those of you who follow the celebs, this is THE place to be in September. One of the more "glamorous" Ontario festivals and events.
Supercrawl - Hamilton closes off James Street North and fills it with musicians, art, kids' crafts, fashion shows, food, acrobats, spectacular light shows and fun.
Word on the Street literary festival – September – Toronto
Thanksgiving – Celebrated all over the province. One of the most popular Ontario festivals and events at Thanksgiving weekend takes place at Ball's Falls in Jordan (near St. Catharines), with crafts, music and food. NOTE for Americans: Canadians do Thanksgiving in October, not in November. And we just take one day off work usually, the Monday. But we have turkey and ham just like you do!
Art Gallery of Hamilton World Film Festival - October (used to be Sept but moved to Oct in 2015)
IFOA - International Festival of Authors - October - Toronto
Oktoberfest – The biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany takes place in Kitchener Ontario with its strong Germanic community.
Hallowe'en – All over the province. October 31st. Kids and adult parties. Canada's Wonderland puts on a big fright show. Many communities host ghost story readings, ghost tours, and other spooky events.
Royal Winter Fair - November - Toronto. The horse-lover's fair.
Winter Festival of Lights starts - November/December - Niagara Falls
festivities begin with Santa Claus Parades in many cities including the
biggest one in Toronto, Christmas-Tree-Lighting Ceremonies, and general
Christmas in Canada - December - Ontario communities celebrate Christmas in many different ways: with Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, coloured street lights, carolling in streets and malls, decorations of historic homes, Santa Claus parades (the biggest is in Toronto), parties, horse and buggy rides in the snow on farms. For a German Christmas, try the Christkindl Festival in Kitchener.
Doors Open Ontario - Celebrated all over Ontario at different points of the year. One of my favourites! Great for Ontario history lovers. Each community opens the doors to heritage buildings that aren't normally open to the public. Includes "open house" and sometimes guided tours and lectures as well. For an example of what it's like in one community, see my story on Doors Open Toronto.
Powwows are held throughout the year, but many
occur in summer. These are Aboriginal celebrations with dancing, music,
food and arts and crafts. They're one of my favourite Ontario festivals
and events. Several locations across the province. There's
a big indoors one in November that has been held in Toronto for several
years but starting in 2009 it will be held in Hamilton. For a review of
a great outdoors one near Brantford on the Six Nations Reserve, see Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow
Studio Tours - Run at different times throughout the year, mostly spring, summer and fall. Tour the studios of Ontario artists and craftspeople. Talk to the artists, watch them at work, buy some art. Some examples: Ganaraska Studio Tour, Scugog Studio Tour, Rolling Hills Studio Tour, Haliburton County Studio Tour.