The Best Festivals & Fairs in Toronto

by Alyssa James  |  Published December 5, 2017

Toronto is Canada’s most diverse and multicultural city, and we have the festivals and fairs to prove it. The benefit of a trip to Toronto is that you’ll never run out of things to do—there’s always an event to attend, a gallery to visit, or a restaurant to dine at. This dynamic city is never short on cultural events—here are some of Toronto’s  best fairs and festivals coming up this winter.

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Skating underneath the CN Tower in Toronto (Photo: Brian Medina)

December 2017

One of a Kind Show & Sale

Toronto is a city known for inspiring creativity and few events demonstrate that as well as the One of a Kind Show and Sale. If you’re looking for original, handcrafted goods ranging from festive delicacies to jewellery, furniture, and beyond, you’ll enjoy wandering the aisles at this Toronto fair. Tickets are $15 and includes readmission throughout the event. Don’t pass up the opportunity to score unique pieces—and meet the artistic minds behind each one.

WHERE Enercare Centre WHEN November 23 – December 3, 2017

Holiday Fair at Nathan Philips Square

Affectionately known as the Fair in the Square, the City of Toronto’s heart is transformed into a charming Christmas market cum winter carnival. Bundle up for a stroll in the artisan village to buy handmade gifts before enjoying a mulled wine at the ice bar. Spend a day with the family at the Holly Jolly Midway or a romantic evening under the twinkling Christmas lights at this traditional Torontonian event.

WHERE Nathan Philips Square WHEN December 1 – 23, 2017

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Gaia shows children Christmas magic (Photo: Holiday Fair in Nathan Philips Square)

Spectacle of Lights on the Toronto Waterfront

More than 39,000 low-energy LED lights will illuminate Toronto’s redeveloped Waterfront everyday from dusk ‘til dawn. The area’s most famous monuments come alive with light installations on the Peter Street Basin, the Fire Hall, and the Toronto Music Garden. Walk around the beautiful garden where music accompanies the artistic motifs.

WHERE Toronto Waterfront WHEN November 2017 – April 2018

DJ Skate Nights

Every year, the Natrel Rink offers a stellar lineup for local and international DJs spinning tunes that are sure to help you to shake off the December doldrums. Sharpen your skates for Toronto’s hottest party on ice, right under the lights of the CN Tower. The best part is that it’s a completely free event!

WHERE Harbourfront Centre WHEN December 16, 2017 – February 17, 2018

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Colourful DJ Skate Night at Natrel Rink in Toronto (Photo: Habourfront Centre)

Christmas Flower Show

Allan Gardens Conservatory always a pleasant getaway from the noise and concrete of Toronto’s urban jungle, but the Christmas Flower Show is the highlight of the year. Visitors are treated to horse rides, Victorian carolers, hot apple cider, and thousands of flowering plants, including 30 different kinds of poinsettias.

WHERE Allan Gardens WHEN December 3, 2017 – January 7, 2018

January 2018

Toronto International Boat Show

This 10-day fair in Toronto is devoted to all things watercraft. Even the most die-hard boat enthusiast will learn something at one of the 250+ workshops and seminars. Adrenaline-junkies will appreciate the wakeboard showcase where professionals show off flips, tricks, and grinds on the indoor lake that ranks among the largest in the world.

WHERE Enercare Centre WHEN January 12 – 21, 2018

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A crowd gathers at the Toronto International Boatshow (Photo: Toronto International Boatshow)


Immerse yourself in Toronto’s international cuisine with a gastronomic romp around the city. Winterlicious is one of the city’s most anticipated culinary events of year, when more than 200 restaurants offer their best fare on a prix fixe menu. It’s an opportunity to eat at some of the country’s most renowned restaurants for affordable prices. What will you try—something exotic, or a traditional dish made to perfection? Start booking  tables in mid-January at Toronto favourites like Against The Grain, Cibo Wine Bar Yorkville, Fabbrica, Fred’s Not Here, Luma, Maple Leaf Tavern, Morgans on the Danforth, Pukka and Veloute Bistro.

WHERE All over the city WHEN January 26 – February 8, 2018

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Chaat dish from Pukka Toronto, an Indian restaurant in the St. Clair West neighbourhood (Photo: Winterlicious)

Toronto Light Festival

Every year the Toronto Light Festival takes over the city’s east end, turning the historic Distillery District into a dazzling open-air gallery. Follow the light during the long winter nights with more than 20 distinctive installations cascading across the old Victorian-era industrial buildings.

WHERE Distillery Historic District WHEN January 19 – March 11, 2018

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The Distillery District laser beam installation (Photo: Toronto Light Festival)

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival at TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest in the world and they’ve dedicated themselves to celebrating and promoting contemporary Canadian cinema. The Top Ten Festival is filled with homegrown talent and attendees will have the opportunity to see edgy works and engage in Q&As with independent directors from around the country.

WHERE TIFF Bell Lightbox WHEN January 12 – 21, 2018

Toronto Design Offsite Festival

In what is Toronto’s coolest design event of the year, more than 700 local and international artists and designers will show us how to take art and design out of the studio and into the spaces we occupy every day. The curated exhibits and experimental installations for 2018 will explore themes of matter, small work and living spaces, the future of work, and so much more.

WHERE Multiple venues WHEN January 15 – 21, 2018

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Work Wear by Alessandro Guerriero at the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (Photo: John Abila)

February 2018

Canadian International AutoShow

Get into gear and check out the hottest cars that have yet to hit the streets. The Canadian International AutoShow is 10 days of high-octane fun: cool cars, great grub, and dazzling displays. Car enthusiasts are sure to fill their time with all the innovative things to do, see, and drive.

WHERE Metro Toronto Convention Centre WHEN February 16 – 25, 2018

Black Film Festival

The Toronto Black Film Festival is dedicated to giving unique voices in cinema the opportunity to show us different ways of looking at the world. Now in its sixth year, this event is Canada’s premier festival for black film and an integral part of the Toronto community. The event hosts industry panels, events, and even master classes with some of the country’s best talent.

WHERE Various venues WHEN February 14 – 19, 2018

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Alfre Woodard and colleagues at the Toronto Black Film Festival (Photo: Toronto Black Film Festival)

Chinese New Year

Toronto is home to a massive Chinese immigrant population and locals of all backgrounds come together to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Ring in the Year of the Dog at LunarFest, Canada’s premier presenter of Asian arts and culture, or with a special performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Most Torontonians, however, will just head over to Toronto’s Chinatown area and enjoy the parades that are bound to erupt!

WHERE Various venues WHEN February 16, 2018

Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair

Now in its eleventh year, you can join the Artist Project for a new decade of contemporary art. Discover the work of more than 250 established and up-and-coming artists from Canada and abroad. It’s an opportunity to buy directly from the artists and learn a bit more about the genius behind every piece.

WHERE Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place WHEN February 22 – 25, 2018

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Two patrons appreciate the contemporary art works (Photo: Rebecca Tisdelle)

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Fest

Three days of brewing, pouring, and chugging some of the city’s favourite craft beer—what more can you ask for? With a curling rink, fire pits, food trucks, and a legendary après-ski party, this is one craft beer celebration that shouts I AM CANADIAN.

WHERE Roundhouse Park WHEN Dates TBA

March 2018

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

TOM*FW is one of the most influential and platforms for men’s fashion in Canada, featuring some of the country’s biggest fashion talents. Check out the hottest styles of the season and learn which about the wardrobe investments you should be making in what is the largest showcase of menswear fashion from Canadian and international designers.

WHERE Various venues WHEN March 6 – 11, 2018

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Model strikes a pose (Photo: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week)

Canada Blooms

Celebrate the arrival of spring with an event that brings together thousands of gardening enthusiasts at the largest flower and garden festival in Canada. It’s a charming display of colour, texture, and fragrance where even the keenest gardener can learn something from the expert landscapers and floriculturists.

WHERE Enercare Centre WHEN March 9 – 18, 2018

Toronto ComiCon

With more than 400 exhibitors, this superhero-sized celebration of comic book and pop culture is mecca for Canadian fan culture. It’s three days of celebrity encounters, cosplay, and workshops that no fan can resist!

WHERE Metro Toronto Convention Centre WHEN March 16 – 18, 2018

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Stormtroopers raiding Toronto ComiCon (Photo: Steven Lam via Flickr)

St Patrick’s Day Parade

Celebrate Irish culture and heritage in Canada at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Eat, drink, and be merry in a sea of green as the parade makes its way from Toronto’s main thoroughfare to Nathan Philips Square in the centre of the city.

WHERE Downtown Toronto WHEN March 11, 2018