Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto: Summer Festivals

Well my little nuts, it’s safe to say that despite being three weeks away from the official inauguration of summer, it’s actually HERE. The weather is warm, neighbors have come out of hibernation, parks are filled with wanderers, lovers, Frisbee-throwers, patios are where it’s at, and ice cream parlors have finally begun to make a profit. If each of these indicators aren’t enough, there’s also that wild sense of scheduling that begins to come to fruition at this time; when every weekend seems like an opportune moment for a big event. Calendars begin to clog up with cottage weekends, camping trips, holidays, celebrations, and all those glorious things that make us ga-ga for summer. Among these activities are the countless festivals we are so fond of. The summer offers a festival for pretty much anything…you name it; beer, Italians, pride, jazz, blues, food galore, cars, weddings, and so much more. Between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, there’s something to see, hear and do, every weekend from now until Labour Day. Here you’ll find a one-stop resource for all the summer festivities, where to buy tickets, what the festivals entail and when/where they all take place. Get out your day timer, and start planning your summer!

MONTREAL

Mondiale de la Bière (translation: Beerfest)
When: June 8th to June 12th
Where: 
Place Bonaventure, 800 Rue de la Gauchetière Ouest
Why: 
Last year, I had loads of fun tasting beer from around the world, pairing them with fine cheeses and meats, not to mention watching festival-goers who were a few drinks in play volleyball on the fake indoor beach. The only downside is that it takes place indoors. 
How: 
Admission to Beerfest is free, but tokens to purchase beer and food are 1$ each and can be purchased at Place Bonaventure upon your arrival. Tastings will cost you anywhere between 1 to 5 tokens each, click here for more info.

Grand Prix
When: June 8th to June 10th
 
Where: 
If you’re partying, Crescent Street and St-Laurent. If you’re racing, the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.
Why:
  Crescent Street and St-Laurent Street close down for the weekend, featuring race cars, concerts, food, drinks, extended club/bar patios and other kiosks. The city is jam-packed, and everybody wants to party.
How: 
If you’re visiting Montreal because you’ve heard of the insanity this weekend brings, then all you need to do is step outside. If you actually want to attend the race (who are you?), you can buy tickets here.

Montreal Jazz Fest
When: June 28th to July 7th 
Where: 
Various locations in Downtown Montreal
Why: From the legendary B.B. King to the sweet jams of Ben Harper, Montreal Jazz Fest has something for everyone. Other appearances include Janelle Monae, Liza Minelli, Rufus Wainwright, Piers Faccini and many more. 
How: 
Many outdoor performances are free admission, otherwise, tickets can be purchased here.

Just for Laughs
When:
 July 10th to July 29th 
Where: 
Various locations in Downtown Montreal and Ville-Marie
Why: 
Just for Laughs is pulling out all the stops for their 30th Anniversary, featuring the Muppets, Chelsea Handler, Bill Hader, Bob Saget and Wayne Brady, among so many others. The Nasty Show draws in the crowds (of mostly men) each and every year.
How: 
Tickets are on sale now, call 1-888-244-3155 or click here.

OTTAWA

Jazz Fest
When: June 21st to July 1st
Where:
 Confederation Park and other various locations
Why: 
If you follow Steve Martin on twitter, you know he plays the banjo in a Bluegrass band. Well, see him live at the Ottawa Jazz Fest! Other appearances by Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding and many more. 
How: 
Purchase a gold or bronze pass for multiple shows or a single-day ticket here.

Canada Day
When: July 1st
Where: 
Parliament Hill, the Market, any backyard
Why: 
Because it’s the nation’s capital and NO ONE celebrates better.
How: 
By plane, train or automobile.

Bluesfest
When: July 4th to July 15th
Where: 
Lebreton Flats
Why: 
This year’s lineup includes: Atrak, Alice Cooper, Blue Rodeo, City and Colour, Dragonette, Hey Rosetta!, Iron Maiden, John Mellencamp, K’Naan, LMFAO, Metric, Norah Jones, Our Lady Peace…need I say more?
How: 
Tickets are available in the form of day passes, full festival passports and multi-day wristbands, purchase tickets here.

Hope Volleyball SummerFest
When: July 14th
Where: 
Mooney’s Bay Beach
Why: 
Charity, sports, sunshine…the key to feeling like a great human being. Ill Scarlett, Treble Charger and Mother Mother are headlining the live entertainment.
How:
Admission is free, or you can register a team and participate in the action (click here) – You only have until May 31 to do so!

TORONTO

Taste of Little Italy
When: June 15th to June 17th
Where:
You guessed it – Little Italy! (College St. between Bathurst & Shaw)
Why:
Stroll through College St, which is closed for the occasion, while tasting the food of Italy that we all adore, and listening to the tunes of local bands.
How:
Admission is free.

Jazz Fest
When: June 22nd to July 1st 
Where:
Various locations in Toronto
Why:
Ziggy Marley, Janelle Monae, Natalie Cole, Esperanza Spalding and many other Jazz legends (who I don’t know) will perform.
How:
Many concerts are free admission, tickets for feature performances can be purchased here.

Pride Week
When: June 22nd to July 1st
Where:
Various locations in Toronto
Why:
While a concrete schedule of events has yet to be released, there’s no question that live performances, street fairs, the parade on July 1st and so much more, will be great fun this summer.
How:
Admission is free.

Summerlicious
When: July 6th to July 22nd
 
Where:
Various restaurants in Toronto
Why:
Try that restaurant you’ve always wanted to experience – for a limited-time, Summerlicious price. Throughout the festival, find exclusive three-course prix fixe menus offered at many of Toronto’s top restaurants.
How:
Sign up for the e-newsletter to get a first look at the list of participating restaurants (click here).

Beerfest
When: July 27th to July 29th 
 
Where:
Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place
Why:
Live entertainment, a grilling tent…not to mention, access to beers from around the world, all under the summer sun.
How:
General admission tickets can be purchased here, included are 5 sample tokens, a sampling cup and a pocket guide. Hoptimize your ticket for added features ($10 extra)!

Caribana Parade
When:  August 4th
Where: Exhibition Place & Lakeshore Boulevard
Why: It’s North America’s Largest Carribean Parade and I’m told it’s a lot of fun.
How: Just show up!

Taste of the Danforth
When: August 10th to August 12th
Where:
Greektown on the Danforth
Why: A street fair lined with Greek delicacies, free samples, a beer garden, concerts and games – it’s sure to be a blast!
How: Admission is free – More info here.

**Click calendars to enlarge**

Stay tuned for our coverage of many of these events throughout the summer!

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