By: RICHARD HASKELL
It’s summer, and as the song goes, “the livin’ is easy.”
It’s a time for patios, hanging out at the beach and cool drinks. And because winter was particularly harsh this year, we can appreciate the longer days and warm temperatures that the season invariably brings that much more.
But what about things to do during this all-too-brief period? Luckily for us, we happen to live in one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world with a plethora of events going on all summer long, and best of all, many of them are free!
If you find it impossible to resist swaying to the evocative rhythms of Latin music, then the tenth annual Salsa on St. Clair is definitely for you! Head over to St. Clair West from Winona Drive to Christie Street to see several blocks transform into a showcase of Latin life. Check out their survival guide here.
July 8 – August 3, various locations, (416) 391-5608
Official launch: July 8, 12-2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m., Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. West (at Bay)
Caribana Parade: Aug. 2, Exhibition Place and Lakeshore Blvd. West
Most Torontonians are familiar with the famous Caribana festival held every August. This year, it has not only expanded, but also has a new name – the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival – running between July 8 and August 3. It’s an exciting blend of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry and visual and performing arts, and is the largest festival of its kind in North America. Check out the Caribbean Carnival’s survival guide here.
August 8-1o, Danforth Ave from Broadview to Jones
(416) 469-5634, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Taste of the Danforth has become an enormously popular event during its 21-year-run, attracting more than 200,000 visitors who come to enjoy Greek food, entertainment and dance.
July 11-13, Woodbine Park (Lakeshore Ave. East and Coxwell Ave.)
Got the summertime blues? Head over to the waterfront to check out a great combination of Canadian and international talent, including established and emerging artists. This year’s line-up year includes Juno Award winner Jack de Keyzer, Sugar Ray Norcia (of the Bluetonnes) Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls, Irene Torres and the Sugar Devils and the Brant Parker Blues Band.
July 18 – 27, Woodbine Park (Lakeshore Ave. East and Coxwell Ave.)
Nothing goes together like jazz music and the summer. At the Beaches International Jazz Festival, featured artists include soul/funksters Ron Littlejohn and The Funk Embassy, Latin guitar master and world music artist Johannes Linstead and the Swing Shift Big Band.
August 9, Mel Lastman Square (Yonge North of Sheppard)
5100 Yonge St., 416 500-0007
If you want international all in one place, look no further than the North York Festival in Mel Lastman Square. In addition to live music, dance and singing competitions, a fashion show and magicians, there will be tents set up celebrating Chinese, Korean, Persian and Russian cultures.
Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood (Yonge and Dundas area)
Whatever way you feel about street entertainers, you can enjoy their talents at the Scotiabank Buskerfest – come see jugglers, impersonators, musicians and acrobats from all over the world.
Every Tuesday until Sept. 2, at dusk
Who doesn’t enjoy a good movie? This summer, the City Cinema tradition continues at Yonge-Dundas Square with free outdoor movies presented every Tuesday evening until September 2. Among the movies scheduled are Trainspotting, Little Miss Sunshine, and Almost Famous. If Dundas Square isn’t your thing, you can check out free screenings at these venues:
Every Thursday in July and August, 9-11 p.m.
120 King St. East (at Jarvis)
Every Wednesday in July and August
224 King St. West (at Simcoe)
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is presenting a series of films about “The Biz” – show business that is, every Wednesday during July and August. Must sees: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Searching for Sugar Man
This season Harbourfront has got it all when it comes to summer flicks, we’re talking Kissing Jessica Stein, Funny Girl and Mean Girls and oh so very much more!
Other than free movies, Harbourfront is the place to go for free events during the summer. You can dance on the pier, try a tai chi or yoga class or check out one of the festivals including South Asia Calling, China Now, Habari Africa Festival, Expressions of Brazil, Taiwan Fest and the Hot and Spicy Food Festival.
STAY TUNED FOR THE BIST GUIDE TO FREE SUMMER FUN, PART 2 – THE QUIET, LESS CROWDED EDITION