Who says Canada Day festivities should be restricted to just one day?
On the one hand, it’s always a little bit strange when Canada Day falls in the middle of the week: It feels funny to work Monday and Tuesday as usual, then have everything stop for a Wednesday Canada Day, and then try to go back to normal for Thursday and Friday.
On the other hand, many of us see a midweek Canada Day as a good opportunity for a sort of extra-long long weekend, taking Thursday and Friday off (or maybe just a little easier) as well. So for those of us who are taking a couple of extra days to celebrate, here are some fun (and mostly free) things to do in Toronto this week.
1. Toronto Ribfest, June 27-July 1
Kick off your extra-long weekend at this much-loved festival that is as close as you’re going to get to the Ex before August. This is a perfect family event: There’s lots of food, music, rides and activities for kids. Everyone will come home tired, full, and happy. More info here.
2. Salsa on St. Clair, July 2-9
Not yet as well known as Taste of the Danforth or Caribana, Salsa on St Clair, now in its 11th year, is definitely worth a visit. Billed as ‘Canada’s hottest street festival’, it’s got the usual food, music and entertainment – but adds salsa dance parties and, eventually, everyone dancing to Latin music in the streets. And haven’t you always wanted to salsa in the middle of the road? More info here.
3. Harbourfront Centre
I’ve always loved spending the day at Harbourfront Centre, whether it’s a special holiday or not. But the summer is when it really shines. On July 2, you can Dance on the Pier with the Swing Shift Band; on July 3, you can see Gadfly (“a hybrid between a dance collective, training organization, dance company and choreography factory”); on July 5, Elinor Frey plays the 5-string cello in the music garden. And that’s just the beginning. More info here.
4. Toronto Fringe Festival, July 1-12
This is Canada’s largest theatre festival, with more than 150 indie shows in 27 venues – and all tickets are $12 or less. It’s not just ‘plays’, either – there are comedy and dance shows, visual art, buskers and other performers in venues ranging from small theatres to a synagogue and vintage clothing store. If you’re in the mood for a bit of a cultural adventure, this is for you. More info here.
5. Summerlicious, July 3-25
Summerlicious is a terrific way to sample more than 200 Toronto restaurants, with three-course prix fixe menus (starter, entrée, dessert) at reasonable prices ranging from $15-$45. Even foodies look forward to this one. This year, they’ve even got culinary events inspired by the Pan Am games, at places like Casa Loma and the Windsor Arms Hotel. Summerlicious is always very popular, though – if you want to get in on the action, you should probably reserve now. More info here.