Looking for something to do this June? The start of the summer in Toronto is always packed with amazing events that will prevent you from lazing at home. Check out our list filled with ideas that will make this June memorable!
1. A Century of Chinese Cinema (June 5 to August 11)
Join TIFF and celebrate Chinese cinema with more than 80 films that document the development of cinematography in China. The film showcase will be supplemented by a free visual arts exhibition and “Conversation With…” sessions featuring directors and artists, including the most famous Chinese actor of all time, Jackie Chan. The series is divided into five subsections: the Golden Age (Shanghai pre-war classics), a New China (films from the revolutionary era), Chinese Genre Cinema Evolution, New Waves (art films of the ’80s) and New Directions (a section on innovative new films).
2. Arts & Crafts Field Trip (June 8)
The Arts & Crafts music label based in Toronto decided to throw a party to celebrate their tenth anniversary — and the best way to honour the music label is to go big and organize a festival! The very first Field Trip festival showcases the artists who are or who used to be affiliated with the label, including such stars as Feist, Broken Social Scene, Block Party, Ra Ra Riot, and Stars. The concert is particularly special for hosting Broken Social Scene, who are returning from hiatus just for the show. The event takes place in Fort York: Garrison Common and tickets cost $93.50, while kids enter free.
3. NXNE — North by Northeast (June 10 to June 16)
If you’re an independent music and film fan, NXNE is a must for you. The 19th annual year of the festival brings a full week of innovative artistic achievements that will rock our city to the core. More than 800 bands, 30 films, 80 interactive sessions, and 75 comedians are scheduled to appear in venues all over Toronto. Organizers confirmed some big names this year, including melancholic The National, hardcore rockers F*cked Up, and Outkast’s Big Boi. Over the years, NXNE has become known as an important launch pad for emerging artists — Wild Nothing, Japandroids, and Grimes have all played here in the past.
All dog lovers in Toronto know Woofstock already — the two-day event dedicated to our four-legged friends and everything connected to them has become an institution over the years. Visitors will have a chance to catch up with the latest trends in canine fashion and furnishings, shop for top products and foods, and participate in fun contests for every size, breed, and pedigree. Besides the “serious” contests, there will be plenty of entertaining programs to choose from, including a doggie fashion show, a costume contest, and everybody’s favourite, a stupid trick contest. Woofstock takes place in the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood and is free.
5. Northern Ink Exposure (June14 to 16)
Tattoo enthusiasts will flock to the Toronto Hilton to see the top tattoo artists from all around the world showing off their skills all weekend. The convention that originally started as a small gathering of tattoo fans has grown into an amazing showcase of the best of the best in the tattoo world over the years. The organizers try to link the event with local art galleries, fashion designers, and painters to introduce the whole lifestyle connected to tattoo culture. The great thing about Northern Ink Exposure is that if you’re lucky, you might get the chance to be tattooed by the exhibiting artists themselves.
6. Luminato 2013 (June 14 to 23)
Luminato 2013 brings ten days packed with events that include art, film, dance, literary events, and music from both local and international artists. The main festival hub is placed on David Pecaut Square, and the audience can look forward to nightly free concerts and events. Some of the listed events include talks with Marina Abramovic and Willem Dafoe, a performance of Danse Lhasa Danse and a Feng Yi Ting theatre performance. As you can see, the organizers prepared an amazingly varied program that will please anyone interested in art. Luminato ticket prices vary according to different events, so check their website for more info.
7. Toronto Jazz Festival (June 20 to 29)
The Toronto Jazz Festival is one of the top jazz celebrations in North America, having hosted such names as Dave Brubeck, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, and Ray Charles. Since its establishment in 1987, the festival has been steadily growing and getting better. This year, it attracts more than 500,000 visitors and introduces about 350 performances with over 1,500 musicians. The festival venues can be found all around the city, but the heart of the festival is located at Nathan Philips Square, where the spectacular, 1,200-seat Mainstage Marquee and popular outdoor stage can be found.
This year, festival organizers prepared something special for the opening marquee concert and will delight the audience with a line-up heavy on R&B and pop jazz artists (Mavis Stapes with Dr. John or Boz Scaggs), and they have confirmed the trend of providing space for music that is only loosely connected to jazz. The program also features some country and bluegrass artists, represented by Willie Nelson, who will be one of the festival openers, and Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. The true jazz programming focuses on singers and pianists. Among the performers are such names as Nikki Yanofsky, Eliane Elias, and Gregory Porter.
Besides the ticketed events (with varying prices), there are plenty of free outdoor concerts planned for the Toronto audience. Actually, the free show’s line-up expanded for 2013: it gained extra funds, as the festival’s innovative, avant-garde “incubator” series was terminated. Check the website for more info about the program and pricing; it would be quite a pity to miss such a unique jazz celebration that turns Toronto into a jazz hotspot!
8. Pride Week 2013 (June 21 to 30)
Pride Week is a 10-day celebration of diverse sexual and gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, asexual, and other communities and their lives. Just like every year, the festival full of arts and culture is scattered in various venues around Toronto, and it eventually leads up to the major event of Pride Week, the Pride Parade. The 33rd annual Pride Parade starts at 2:00 at Bloor and Church, and it surely is event that shouldn’t be missed! We can all look forward to seeing colourful costume and dance creations, as this year’s theme, Superqueer!, invites all participants to show off their creativity.
9. Leslieville Tree Festival (June 22)
Don’t miss the annual Leslieville Tree Festival and celebrate the urban forest in Toronto. The festival takes place in Leslie Grove Park (corner of Queen Street and Jones Avenue) and has something to offer for the whole family. Kids are welcome join in the various games prepared for them, and adults might shop for the best pieces for their garden in a native plant sale or to buy beautiful, eco-friendly products. Everyone can enjoy the local and organic food sold at the vendor stalls. The event will be accompanied by local musicians, dancers, and youth groups .
10. Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival (June 22 and 23)
Toronto will once again become the world’s Dragon Boat Racing capital. In 2013, almost 200 teams with over 5,000 boating athletes from all around the world participated in the event that is traditionally sponsored by the Toronto Chinese Business Association. In addition to the dragon boat racing, visitors can expect a rich cultural program, including dance and musical performances, as the event strives to present the communities and promote values and social responsibility, as several charity organizations benefit from the proceeds of the event. Visitors can come and enjoy the weekend free of charge.