While some locals like to flee to the cottage when things get busy on Queen East, others wait all year for the lively summer months and the countless ways to spend those hot summer days and nights in the East End.
Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a guide featuring some of this summer’s best bets for local entertainment, history and fun times for a good cause.
Take in Jazz Fest
More than 45 bands will be lining the streets July 27-29, ready to delight your ears with the sound of music. StreetFest, the signature event of the Beaches International Jazz Festival, will be taking place from 7 to 11 p.m. throughout the weekend. The type of music varies and will include stylings from swing to R&B and everything in between.
Each band is scheduled to play four half-hour sets so be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss your favourites! Check it out online at http://beachesjazz.com/street-fest/ or grab a guide from one of the many retailers in the Beach.
Don’t miss the main stage events, which will feature more than 30 different bands and artists from July 21-23. Reggae artist, Exodus, Toronto-based pop-rock band, Jane’s Party, and female-folk trio, The O’Pears are among the acts performing over the weekend. Check out the lineup at http://beachesjazz.com/td-main-stage-a-cappella/#tdmainstage
It’s too late to sign up to be a participant, but if you’re interested in being a cheerleader you can watch the annual Beaches Jazz Run on July 30. The 5 km, 10 km and half marathon races will all begin on the boardwalk on the southeast end of Kew Gardens and carry on west down the Martin Goodman Trail. The half marathon begins at 7 a.m., the 10 km begins at 7:30 a.m., and the 5 km begins at 8 a.m.
Hang out in Kew Gardens
From July 5 to August 30, Kew Gardens and Ivan Forrest Gardens will play host to movie nights in the park.
Movies begin at dusk each Wednesday and are free for everyone to watch. The events also have the added bonus of free popcorn! Check online at http://thebeachvillage.com/2016/06/movie-nights-in-the-park/ to see which movies are being featured
On weekends, Kew Gardens will be featuring their first ever Music in the Park series. The series is for all ages and runs from July 9 to August 27. To view the line-up, go to http://thebeachvillage.com/2017/06/music-in-the-park/
The Beaches Recreation Centre will be running an older adult summer program in Kew Gardens daily from July 4 to August 11. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and include everything from shuffleboard and bocce ball, to line dancing and bingo. All activities are free with the exception of lunch meals which cost $2.00. For more information, call Beaches Recreation Centre at (416) 392-0740.
Support a charity
If you’re considering adding a furry friend to your family, you might want to attend Paws in the Park on August 12 in Woodbine Park. The event, which is hosted by Toronto Humane Society, will feature food and fun activities including a pet photo booth, face painting, and shopping, as well as an adoption station in the park. For more information, visit www.pawsinthepark.com
The Heatwave Volleyball tournament continues August 26 with all proceeds going to benefit childhood cancer research at SickKids. The event will feature men and women’s volleyball teams going head to head from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To register for the event or for more information, visit www.heatwaveevents.com
Walk it out
Go on a historical walk with Gene Domagala July 29 and learn all about the Balsam Avenue neighbourhood and some of the area’s key residents including Glenn Cochrane, Doris McCarthy, and William Kurelek. Meet at Balsam Avenue and Pine Crescent at 1 p.m. – look for the man with a megaphone.
Enjoy a Glen Stewart Ravine Evening Ramble on August 17. Naturalist, Bob Kortright will be taking participants through the ravine and pointing out the beauty of the forest throughout the tour. The walk will begin at Beech Avenue at 6:30 p.m. and will end further west along Queen St. E. For more information, visit the Friends of Glen Stewart Ravine Facebook group.
Eat and dance your heart out
Toronto’s annual Summerlicious is back but you better act fast if you want to get in on the foodie fun – the event is only on until July 23. East End restaurants including Aoili Bistro, The Beech Tree, and Veloute Bistro are all participating. For more information, visit www.toronto.com/events/summerlicious
Now in its 23rd year, Taste of the Danforth returns to the East End Aug 11 – Aug 13. The annual event will feature music and dance performances, a kid zone, and of course, lots and lots of food! For full details, visit www.tasteofdanforth.com
East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market and the Leslieville Farmers’ Market will both be open throughout the summer. East Lynn market is open in East Lynn Park every Thursday from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. from June through to October, while the Leslieville Farmers Market is open on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the end of October. Both markets feature lots of food and fun for the whole family.
Speaking of parks… if you live in the Danforth East neighbourhood, there are several ways to take in an outdoor show. Wednesday evenings in July, the Danforth Mosaic BIA is hosting its free Danny Loves Music Series with live acts from 6 – 9 p.m. at East Lynn Park (on Danforth Avenue just east of Woodbine). Then in August, Stephenson Park (just south of Danforth and east of Main) takes a turn, playing host to Danforth Rocks from 6 – 9 p.m. every Wednesday evening, an initiative of the Danforth Village BIA and Friends of Stephenson Park.
There will be dancing, music, art, culture, cuisine – and cricket! – at the 15th annual TD Festival of South Asia at the Gerrard India Bazaar July 22 and 23. The free event is open to everyone and runs from noon to 11 p.m. A celebration of all South Asian culture, it is one of the largest events of its kind in North Ameria and this year boasts a cricket open house, a beer garden featuring local craft breweries, a Bollywood pop-up mela, as well as dance and talent shows on the mainstage. On Gerrard Street East between Glenside and Coxwell Avenues.
For more events, check out our community calendar!