June in Toronto is one the loveliest and busiest months for all lovers of active life in the city! As with every month in Toronto, hundreds of organizers have decided to plan their events for June. The schedule of awesome activities prepared by ILT has probably never been as tight as it has been throughout 2012 — and the month ahead is no exception. It was hard work trying to pick just the best of the best tips for you of all the June must-sees. Check it out yourself and don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy at least some of them!
June 5th to June 10th
This six-day festival annually presents the best short films in various themed programs scattered around several venues in downtown Toronto (Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, Isabel Bader Theater, Victoria University, and the Garisson). In 2012, the festival will host more than 240 films from 35 countries that were chosen from a record number of submissions (more than 4,700). Organizers also announced that the tradition of programming at the CN Tower continues with the so-called “Towering Shorts.” Kids will certainly enjoy a special morning projections program called “Shorts for Shorties” connected with an animation workshop. Professional visitors and keen potential filmmakers are also welcome to join in the symposium to discuss the newest developments in the industry. The festival box office is located at 756 Bathurst St. (Just South of Bloor) and it’s advised to buy tickets in advance, as the number of seats is limited. Admission to different programs tends to vary, so check out the festival website for more info.
June 7th to June 10th
All tango fans and dancers flock together for this four-day celebration of Argentine tango accompanied by interesting workshops for all levels, practices, milongas, performances, and more. The Toronto Tango Festival is the biggest tango event of the year in Toronto, so anyone who feels like exploring the passion of this iconic dance is welcome to join in. Pre-registration for the events is necessary since onsite purchase isn’t available. Prices of different passes and tickets vary greatly, from $10 to $269, so go to the festival website to choose what suits you best. The entire program of the eighth annual Toronto Tango festival will take place at Lithuanian Hall, 1573 Bloor Street West.
June 8th to June 17th
In 2012, Luminato celebrates its fifth birthday as Toronto’s major multidisciplinary festival of arts and creativity. Every year, the festival stages the best of Canadian and international artists and artist groups that encompass a broad spectrum of artistic expression, including music, dance, theatre, film, literature, visual arts, and lectures. The great thing about the festival is the fact that it virtually fills the city with art, since the artists showcase their talents all around Toronto and often with free admission. So it’s almost impossible to miss this colourful ten-day celebration of art. Of course, there are lots of ticketed events as well, but be careful: general admission tickets don’t have seats assigned for any events, so it’s strongly advised to arrive on time to ensure prime seating.
June 9th to June 10th
Woofstock is North America’s largest festival for dogs and dog lovers. Launched in 2003, nicknamed “the summer of canine love” by the Toronto Star, Woofstock continues to attract over 300,000 dog lovers and their four-footed friends who take part in this amazing event year after year. The program is filled with contests and activities such as a popular stupid dog trick contest, a best costume contest, the Dog Star show, and even a special Woofstock fashion show. It’s also possible to join the VIP club (very important pooch) to get some extras and make the festival experience even more memorable. Woofstock takes place in the historic St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood and some of the neighbouring streets will be closed for the festivities. Visitors are welcome for free and the site is open from 10:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. No dog in Toronto should miss this feast!
June 11th to June 17th
In its 18th year, North by Northeast introduces the hottest fresh music and best films related to music in one way or another, all supplemented by NXNE Interactive media conference. Last year, this most anticipated summer music event in Canada offered performances of more than 620 local and international artists at 50 official festival stages all around downtown Toronto. Some of the most prominent stars appearing at the NXNE 2012 are the Flaming Lips, Protest the Hero, Archers of Loaf, and Bad Religion. NXNE film section comprises documentaries, short, and experimental films and many pieces are premiered here, with directors and actors attending the openings.
NXNE Interactive traditionally lures digital marketing experts, content-creating artists, and tech entrepreneurs for four days full of panels, presentations, and workshops on finding the best ways to bring the interactive world and creativity even closer together. Although NXNE presents many events for free, to get access to numerous ticketed events, visitors have to buy a festival pass. Priority passes cost $250 for adults and $125 for students, while a full festival wristband is $50 and a film festival wristband costs $25.
June 22nd to July 1st
Pride Week in Toronto is one of the largest pride celebrations in the world that always takes place over the last week of June. Throughout the duration of the festival, over 1 million people celebrate the queer community’s history, culture, creativity, and diverse sexual and gender identities. Festivities include a rich program that takes place all over the city and a three-day street festival with more than eight stages f live performers, a street fair, the controversial Dyke March, and even a special program for families called Family Pride. All the activities culminate during the weekend, when the colourful street celebration of Pride Parade fills the streets of downtown Toronto. Join this huge street party to show your support for the fight against prejudice and intolerance or just watch the parade from the side; either way, such an event shouldn’t be missed.
June 22nd to July 1st
The Toronto Jazz Festival is one of North America’s premiere jazz festivals for more than 25 years. Annually, the festival attracts over 500,000 jazz lovers and hosts the biggest names of the musical world. From a little jazz showcase, the festival grew to its current size — presenting more than 350 performances delivered by more than 1,500 excellent musicians at around 40 locations in the city. This year of the festival opens with a performance by a fresh internationally successful artist, Janelle Monáe. Some of the other anticipated artists include George Benson, Tower of Power, Hiromi, Natalie Cole, and Roberta Gambarini. The main festival venue is located at Metro Square with a huge, 1,300-seat, fully-licensed Mainstage Marquee including an outdoor stage, where free events are offered to the public. General admission to ticketed events is $30.
June 23rd to June 24th
Visit Toronto Centre Island for a weekend full of dragon boat races and colourful multicultural performances. Organized for the 24th time, the festival once again celebrates team and community spirit. More than 180 teams and about 5,000 athletes are expected to show up to compete in several disciplines. Categories offered are Open Sport Division, Sport Women, and Mixed Sport Division. Every year, the festival proudly presents local artists and artisans’ vendor displays, on-site workshops, and on-stage performances supported by the Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program. All the events connected to the festival are free of admission charges. To get to the event site, take the Centre Island Ferry that leaves from the Queen’s Quay ferry docks.