Midsummer evenings by the waterfront are laced with wondering, laconic woodwind, chaperoned by steady, off beat rhythms and the soft lapping of Lake Ontario.
- When? 7th - 30th July 2017
- Where? The Beaches, Toronto
- Price: free
Leave everything you thought you knew about jazz festivals at the door, the Beaches International Jazz Fest is a jazz extravaganza with a twist.
Canada's largest free jazz festival is spread over six stages: Kew Gardens Main Stage, The Latin Square, Big Band Stages, The Woodbine Park Main Stage, The New Generation and Youth Stages. During this time, the popularity of bars and restaurants is determined by the band they are hosting and more importantly, whether or not they have room for dancing.
Beaches International kicks off with a Salsa Festival, followed by a variety of performances across a series of smaller stages. The festival's main event, Streetfest, features over 45 acts performing down Queen Street East across four days. Farmers markets, workshops and photography competitions also make up the festival, so it's certainly a mixed bag.
The Beaches are idyllic at this time of year, especially in the evenings when surfboards lean in the weathered porches of pastel houses and the red sun casts long shadows of hurrying latecomers. Battalions of brass instruments beckon the blues and spike conversation between strangers.
Toronto's downtown jazz scene has become as much a destination event as it is a music event, attracting top talent every year like Bob Cary and Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers.
With free music and a waterside location to die for, this festival questions everything you thought you knew about jazz, and it'll certainly test your dancing skills too.
- Get there: Use streetcars to get around if you aren't close enough to walk.
- Stay: Find a hotel by the Beaches or opt for Old Toronto so you can walk along the festival but are still close to other sightseeing favourites.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!