In The City With Kids

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The Best Live Events in Toronto this Summer

At Cirque Du Soleil: Echo, two acrobats hang in the air in stark blue light and a red fixture in the background.

Toronto has long been known as a major destination for live events in Canada. It’s a well-known hub for cultural festivals; at times the sole Canadian leg of “North American” tours; and a magnet for emerging and established talent. We want to make the most of the summer of 2024, so with a focus on family-friendly fun, we gathered the best live events in Toronto this season. 

  1. Mirvish Shows

Mirvish Productions, a renowned Canadian theatre production company, showcases award-winning performances in some of Toronto’s favourite venues: the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Princess of Wales Theatre, CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre and CAA Theatre. We’ve got our eyes on three upcoming Mirvish shows: Six! The Musical, Wicked and Dog Man: The Musical. 

For a musical retelling of history and a celebration of royal girl power, don’t miss the award-winning, globally-renowned Six! the Musical. Immersed in the world of the six wives of Henry VIII, you’ll find yourself moved by the careful reflections of each historical figure and the unraveling of their collective female empowerment. Recommended for ages 10 and up. 

Returning to Toronto from June 5 to July 21 is the fourth longest-running show in the history of Broadway: the renowned, award-winning Wicked. A spin on a classic tale, Wicked promises to challenge everything you know about the Land of Oz and, of course, our beloved—or maybe not so beloved after all—Dorothy. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 

From the mind behind Captain Underpants, don’t miss Dog Man: The Musical based on Dav Pilkey’s series of the same name. Tag along on the hilarious, crime-fighting adventures of Dog Man—aptly named for his part dog, part man features—and have your little ones laughing all night. Recommended for ages 5 and up. 

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  1. WeeFestival

May 10 to June 9, 2024 

Are your little ones still wee ones? Designed for children from ages zero to six years, WeeFestival boasts a full month of music, puppetry, dance and storytelling, showcasing the importance of introducing all kinds of arts into early childhood. In particular, we recommend “Plastic/ Plastique,” a puppet show where plastic bags come to life; and “Walangaan,” a Senegalese experience of the water cycle that delights both visually and musically. Venues for the events are scattered across Toronto for an experience you won’t want to miss, from May 10 to June 9, 2024. We love that you can purchase tickets to individual shows, or pick from a selection of festival or show passes—whatever suits your family the best! 

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Photo: SurreySPARK Stage
  1. Cirque du Soleil: Echo

May 8 to July 21, 2024 

It’s the Cirque du Soleil you know—highly-skilled acrobatics, dazzling lights and brilliant sound—with a fascinating storyline and an ecological and futuristic twist. Cirque du Soleil: Echo follows a young girl named Future through her journey of discovering the importance of collaboration, invention and empathy in building a shared world. It’s a story for the ages that all can enjoy—without sacrificing the spectacle of Cirque du Soleil you know and love. This event runs from May 8 to July 21, 2024, and we advise getting your tickets while you can for this feast for the senses! 

  1. Toronto Outdoor Picture Show

Fort York: June 19-25 

Christie Pits: Sundays from July 7 – August 25 

Corktown Common: Thursdays from July 11 – August 1 

Bell Manor Park: August 15-17 

Looking for an open-air moviegoing experience this summer? Grab some popcorn at the Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (TOPS), which brings an accessible and exciting cinematic experience to the parks of Toronto. The festival features a diverse range of carefully selected films on a big screen; pre-show entertainment usually in the form of a Canadian short film; and of course, a tasty snack concession. Some of the family-friendly films we’re looking forward to from this year’s “On the Job” festival are: Legally Blonde (Thursday, July 11 at Corktown Common); Mary Poppins (Friday, August 16 at Bell Manor Park); and Monster’s Inc. (Saturday, August 17 at Bell Manor Park). Admission is free, but it’s worth noting that TOPS is a charitable organization and donations are welcome to keep this experience thriving in our city. 

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Photo: @cleberlimacls on Instagram
  1. The Toronto Food Truck Festival

August 2 to August 5, 2024 

Calling all foodies! Experience delicious delights like never before as The Toronto Food Truck Festival returns for another exciting year. From August 2 to August 5, 2024, head to Woodbine Park (1695 Queen St E), where you’ll find top-notch eats on wheels, live entertainment for the whole family and even some exciting food-themed challenges. 

Admission is free so you can spend your time (and money!) on what really matters: good food and quality memories with your kiddos.  

PRO TIP: Hours vary depending on the day, so be sure to check their website before heading out. 

  1. Neighborhood Festival Spotlights: Big on Bloor Festival and Do West Fest

One of the best ways to explore the many vibrant areas of Toronto is by taking part in neighborhood-specific festivals. This year, experience some of our favourites: Do West Fest (Little Portugal) and BIG on Bloor (Bloordale). We love these festivals because they’re a great way to either experience pockets of Toronto for the very first time, or to take the kids out of the neighborhood and explore more of the place you call home. 

Do West Fest in the heart of the Torontonian-beloved Little Portugal runs from June 7 to June 9, 2024. Experience a little piece of Dundas West—from Ossington Avenue to Lansdowne Avenue—through live music, sprawling patios, food and craft vendors, and best of all, plenty of activities for children of all ages to enjoy. With spaces to rest, a dedicated kids zone, and several stages for live performers, neither you nor your kids will even notice you’ve strolled sixteen blocks. 

This July 20 to 21, be part of the seventeenth year of the BIG on Bloor Festival, which runs down Bloor Street West from Dufferin to Lansdowne. This festival highlights disenfranchised artists and small businesses. Exploring and celebrating community, particularly through art and creativity, Bloordale becomes a spectacle of murals, art installations and concerts, showcasing its charm as a hub of creativity. We love that there are always spots to relax at this festival and an atmosphere of community care. 

Featured Image: Cirque du Soleil: Echo – Jean-François Savaria.

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