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Sample the 2014 Festival of South Asia in Toronto

What can you sample at the 2014 Festival of South Asia in Toronto? The most obvious are food, fashion and music.

"TD Festival of South Asia Banner" image by Mike DeHaan
“TD Festival of South Asia Banner” image by Mike DeHaan

The South Asia Festival in Toronto

The South Asia festival is an annual summer event in Toronto. The retail stores of Little India in Toronto invite musicians and dancers to their festival stage in the Gerrard India Bazaar district. Up to two dozen Little India restaurants offer a range of take-out dishes; although you might find seating indoors, as always. (My long-time favourite has been the Skylark restaurant. For the one person not wanting South Asian cuisine, Lazy Daisy’s Cafe offers bagel sandwiches and a family-friendly coffee shop ambience).

The cultural offerings include music and entertainment with Afghani, Bengali, Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan roots. The TD Festival of South Asian Dancers perform Sat. at 3pm and 5:30pm, then on Sun. at 3pm and 5:20pm.

The South Asian fashion show takes the stage at 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:10pm on Sunday.

Yes, they do have other performances throughout the weekend; those may be the most visually spectacular in a colourful weekend.

The 2014 Festival of South Asia presents its first show on Sat. Aug. 23 at 2:00pm. The official opening ceremony, including the “Dandy Parade”, is at 6pm. The final stage program begins at 8:30pm on Saturday. Then on Sunday, performances run from 2pm and begin closing at

Shopping can be a big deal, especially if you’re looking for fabrics or clothing. Little India in Toronto always draws a crowd for these deals.

The Toronto Festival of South Asia usually includes kid’s rides or activities; perhaps a small midway; offers from merchants; and the usual teams to administer first aid, keep the peace and tidy the streets.

Where is the South Asia Festival in Toronto?

Little India in Toronto covers Gerrard Street west from Coxwell Avenue towards Greenwood Avenue. Take the 92 Coxwell South bus from the Coxwell subway station to “lower Gerrard” street, and simply follow your eyes, ears and nose west. The Carlton streetcar cannot plow through the Festival of Little India.

My wife and I attend most years. It’s not nearly as long a walk as the Taste of the Danforth, more colourful, and not quite so crowded. Mind the streetcar tracks as you walk!

The Festival of South Asia is a free event, although you will spend a bit for South Asian cuisine. I’d written “Festival of South Asian Culture in Toronto in 2012“, if you want to see what I had thought important to share back then.

When is the Toronto Festival of South Asia?

The 2014 Festival of South Asia presents its first show on Sat. Aug. 23 at 2:00pm. The official opening ceremony, including the “Dandy Parade”, is at 6pm. The final stage program begins at 8:30pm on Saturday. Then on Sunday, performances run from 2pm and begin closing at 9pm.

Alternatives to the Festival of South Asia in Toronto

This weekend has several alternatives or additions to the South Asia Festival in Toronto. I’d written “Toronto Buskerfest 2014 Back on Yonge Street at Dundas Square” earlier this week; go there the other day!

What about the free Butterfly Festival in Tommy Thompson Park, only on Sat. Aug. 23? This annual summer event is south and just a touch west from the Gerrard India Bazaar, at the foot of Leslie Street. (Yes, it’s the “Leslie Street Spit”). Remember that the TTC is laying down streetcar tracks from Queen, across Lake Shore Blvd East and down Leslie Street, which is closed to cars at Commissioner’s Road. It’s no problem to bicycle along the Martin Goodman Trail. To drive to Tommy Thompson, head south along Cherry Street, turn left on Unwin, and the Spit awaits. (Cherry Street is not shown on the map below; it’s a kilometre or two west). Be careful on the various bridges along that route! Events run from 10am to 3pm.

"Map for Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

"Map for Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Another nearby free outdoor event is the Wild Blueberry Festival at Evergreen Brickworks, only on Sun. Aug. 24. Bike or drive on Bayview Avenue. (I think of it as the Bayview Extension). This is more “farmers market” than “pick your own”… I can’t believe there would be a berry patch large enough for picking.

Beer lovers can pay your admission at Black Creek Pioneer Village, then get to work harvesting hops. I’ve always admired the grist mill there, for the ingenuity of design and sheer muscle to build it. Although the Toronto Star’s print article said “Free”, the Black Creek Pioneer Village Hop Harvest page talks about a registration fee. (And says nothing about waiving admission).

Official Sources for the Festival of South Asia and the Outdoor Events

The TD Festival of South Asia web site presents the official details.

My thanks to the “Explore” page in the Sept. 22, 2014 Toronto Star newspaper for “Three things to do this weekend”. Yes, that’s exactly where I found the last three Toronto summer events.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many annual Toronto events that I find interesting, and provides ideas for fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto. I especially like to cover summer attractions and special events in Toronto Canada; but especially for Canadian holidays.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the 2014 Festival of South Asia.


Toronto Buskerfest 2014 Back on Yonge Street at Dundas Square

Buskerfest Toronto returns to Yonge Street, both north and south from Yonge-Dundas Square, from Aug. 21-24. (This picture of Fireguy was taken in the St. Lawrence Market district of Toronto in 2009. They moved in 2013, as I explained in “How to Find Toronto Buskerfest 2013“).

Buskerfest Toronto offers many world-class street performers al fresco, providing entertainment as you stroll from stage to stage, or stay in one spot until the next act begins.

"Fireboy, a Busker in Toronto Buskerfest 2009" by Loozrboy
“Fireboy (Fireguy?), a Busker in Toronto Buskerfest 2009″ by Loozrboy

When does Toronto Buskerfest Open and Close?

On Friday and Saturday, Toronto Buskerfest runs from noon to 11pm. Saturday and Sunday both open at 11am; Saturday closes at 11pm, but Sunday winds up early at 8pm.

Where is Toronto Buskerfest 2014?

Buskerfest Toronto covers on Yonge Street, from College south past Yonge-Dundas Square, to Queen Street. Their online Buskerfest Toronto map shows the stages dotted along this route.

How Expensive is Buskerfest Toronto?

Although Buskerfest Toronto is not a free annual Toronto event, it only costs what you’re willing to spend.

You should donate at least a toonie to the charity partner, Epilepsy Toronto. This community agency supports people with epilepsy with advocacy, counseling, education and employment assistance. Modern medicine is taking a run at epilepsy; but Epilepsy Toronto still needs funding to do their important work.

Each busker, whether a solo act or ensemble, will “pass the hat” after each performance. Pay what you can, or what they deserve; the performers literally earn exactly what you pay. The exception to the rule is that all the donations at the Epilepsy Toronto Benefit Stage at Yonge-Dundas Square go directly to Epilepsy Toronto. So presumably those performers are either paid by Toronto Buskerfest, or are donating their talents.

So be sure to bring large coins and small bills to spread your largesse among the buskers at Toronto Buskerfest 2014.

Official Web Pages for Toronto Buskerfest and Epilepsy Toronto

Check the official Toronto Buskerfest performers page for a complete alphabetical listing. I notice that Fireguy is back! (It’s easy to navigate from that page to other features such as “when” and “location”).

Remember that Scotiabank Toronto Buskerfest also supports Epilepsy Toronto. If you’re looking for more information about epileptic disorders, or help for people with epilepsy, this site is a great resource.

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events for your vacation in Toronto Ontario; or for local residents wanting things to do in Toronto this weekend.

Alternatives to Toronto Buskerfest 2014

(Added Aug. 22, 2014): “Sample the 2014 Festival of South Asia in Toronto” offers three other alternatives, beyond the South Asia Festival itself.

Ideas for a Toronto Vacation or Staycation

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, and provides ideas for fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about Toronto Buskerfest 2014.


Two Quilt Events at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto

Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto will host two quilt events in the late summer of 2014. In mid-August, the York Heritage Quilters Guild will organize the Quilts at the Creek weekend. In mid-September, the annual Toronto Mennonite Festival includes its very popular quilt auction to raise money in support of Mennonite Central Committee’s work of “relief, development and peace”.

"A Quilt Hung for an Auction" image by Les_Stockton
“A Quilt Hung for an Auction” image by Les_Stockton

Quilts at the Creek in 2014

The York Heritage Quilters Guild orchestrates a two-day quilt show and sale at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

The “trunk show” should fascinate quilt fans, by displaying a trunk-full of art created by a single quilter. Learn how that person came to develop her (or his?) craft. What were the inspirations?

The York Heritage Quilters Guild asked quilters to focus on the Log Cabin style as the main theme for 2014’s quilt show and sale.

The official Quilts at the Creek web site offers more details, but note that this quilt show runs Sat. and Sun., Aug. 16-17, 2014 from 11am to 5pm. The related Black Creek Pioneer Village web page adds few details, but offers links for buying admission tickets online and learning much more about the Village.

A Quilt Auction at the 2014 Toronto Mennonite Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Known as the Black Creek MCC Relief Sale for most of three decades, the Toronto Mennonite Festival will run on Saturday Sept. 20, 2014. The quilt auction highlights this traditional craft; you can bid on quilts created by the Mennonites and Amish donors. MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) supports international relief work, peace and justice initiatives, and community development.

Beyond the quilt auction, the Toronto Mennonite Festival includes performances by local musicians, and food donated by local Mennonite churches. You might expect sausage and sauerkraut from Mennonites with ethnic roots in Germany. Would you be surprised by South American samosas or Asian spring rolls? Or a choice between meat-based versus vegetarian Sloppy Joes?

Black Creek Pioneer Village hosts at least one other group on Sept. 20, in addition to the Mennonite activities. Plus, many of the Village’s heritage buildings will be staffed by historic interpreters on staff. This annual autumn Toronto event is a wonderful opportunity for families to learn more about pioneer life in this area of southern Ontario.

The Toronto Mennonite Festival web site adds further details. (I’d written about this autumn Toronto event before, in “The 2013 Toronto Mennonite Festival at Black Creek Village” and “2012 Quilt Auction at the Black Creek Pioneer Village Relief Sale“).

Disclosure: I am very involved with the Toronto Mennonite Festival.

Looking for More Toronto Events?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, and provides ideas for fascinating, free or frugal festivals.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s), except that Mike is quite involved with the Toronto Mennonite Festival.  I am not reimbursed for writing this article.  However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients, as well as online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about these two quilt events at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.


Tiptoe Past the Taste of the Danforth 2014 in Toronto

Should you try to tiptoe past the 2014 Taste of the Danforth street festival in Toronto? It’s fun, festive and full of food; but crowded enough that you may need a degree in project management to keep on track. Here are some alternatives to the very well attended annual Toronto summer event.

See the links to official web sites toward the end of this article.

"Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto” image by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

The Beaches Guild of Fine Art Summer Show and Sale at Todmorden Mills

Are you looking for fine arts in Toronto? Browse the visual arts on display at Todmorden Mills as presented by the Beaches Guild of Fine Art. Their annual Summer Show and Sale closes its two-week run on Sunday Aug. 10. On Saturday and Sunday, the show is on from noon to 5pm. Admission is free; it’s up to you to decide whether to purchase some art!

Todmorden Mills is one of Toronto’s heritage museums. Located at 67 Pottery Road, it’s a steep walk down from Broadview Avenue. They do offer free parking; and a lovely walk toward the south. (My wife and I were there earlier in 2014).

"Map to Harbourfront Centre and PawsWay in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan from Google Maps
“Map to Harbourfront Centre and PawsWay in Toronto” image by Mike DeHaan from Google Maps

Expressions of Brazil at Toronto’s Harbourfront

Harbourfront in Toronto offers so many free annual events that it’s difficult to mention them regularly. This weekend, Harbourfront presents Brazil’s art, culture, and knowledge. Expressions of Brazil hosts several exhibitions Aug. 8-10, 2014. One features Soraya Montanheiro’s photography; another tests your knowledge of Brazillian trivia; an interactive mural; and storytelling through embroidery. “But wait! There’s more!” if you check the links from their official page, a few paragraphs down.

I’m re-using a map I’d made of Harbourfront that highlights Pawsway, a pet store that offers special events from time to time. Currently I would plan to walk a bit to reach Harbourfront Centre, because road construction makes the 509 Harbourfront streetcar a bus route.

Free Horsecapades at the CNE in Toronto

It’s so rare to get into the Canadian National Exhibition for free events, that the Horsecapades (horse escapades) deserves mention. This annual event is running July 27 through Aug. 14, 2014 for two shows. Enter the Horse Palace on the CNE grounds at 11am for the 11:30 show; there’s another at 1pm. These shows introduce your youngsters to horses. And when else can you get into the CNE for free?

The Taste of the Danforth in Toronto

Taste of the Danforth started Friday Aug. 8 and continues through Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. They offer free entertainment, visual distractions, people-watching and sell an incredible assortment of food from their grills on the sidewalk. Personally I enjoy seeing how many non-Greek cuisines they offer in what is proudly known as Greektown.

Reddit’s Toronto group offered some sage advice: Please don’t try to walk a small dog through the Taste of the Danforth. The street is very crowded, and people really can’t see small animals. Come to think of it, if I had a small child, he’d be on my shoulders rather than walking by my side. That way, he’d be able to see; and would not get trampled.

Approach Taste of the Danforth by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s favourite mode of transit: subway. Take the #2 (Bloor-Danforth) subway and use the Pape, Chester or Broadview stations. My wife and I usually exit at Broadview, and then head east. Once the party peters out, the next subway station beckons. (Remember that Danforth Ave. is closed along this stretch, and it’s never easy to find a parking spot in the residential areas north or south of it. Leave your car at home).

Links to Official Web Sites for these Annual Summer Toronto Events

Here are my sources for these summer events in Toronto. Please note that their contents should change from year to year.

Looking for More Annual Events in Toronto Canada?

You can find even more annual events for your stay-at-home vacation in Toronto Ontario.

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting. I look for fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto. I especially like to cover summer attractions and special events in Toronto Canada; but especially for Canadian holidays.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other web sites. That’s why DeHaan Services also highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading how to tiptoe past the Taste of the Danforth to other annual summer events in Toronto.


How to Drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton

This weekend’s great question for every American tourist heading for the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto is, “How to drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton”? The Toronto-bound side of the Burlington Skyway Bridge was damaged on July 31, 2014. But you want to play mas at Caribana (as it used to be known). How can you get from Niagara Falls to Toronto without that bridge?

"Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Driving to Toronto via Hamilton

Whether you crossed the US/Canada border at Buffalo, New York; at Niagara Falls; or the I190/405 crossing south of Lewiston and Queenston: you’re planning to drive the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to Toronto, Ontario. The obvious route takes you across the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

A dump truck crashed into the Toronto-bound Burlington Skyway Bridge on Thursday. It’s closed. The red ‘X’ and dot marks the spot.

What are your alternative routes to get to Toronto for the Caribbean Carnival or any of the other 2014 Civic Holiday festivals in Toronto?

"Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge" image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge” image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

You Won’t Get a Lift from the Lift Bridge

The obvious route is to take the Burlington Lift Bridge. You can’t tell the difference in routes from the above map; the bridges are very close to each other.

All in favour will say:

  • This is the shortest alternate route.
  • The detours are clearly marked. Just follow everyone else.

Those opposed will argue:

  • There is a massive backup of vehicles trying to cross the lift bridge.
  • Beach Blvd has fewer lanes and a lower speed limit than the QEW, any 400-series highway, or any provincial (2-digit) highway.
  • The lift bridge lifts out of service every hour or so, to allow ships in and out of Hamilton Harbour.
  • The most obvious detour will have the most tourists, so it will be more crowded and congested than the others.
"Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Drive through Hamilton to Avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge

The next shortest routes go through the city of Hamilton to avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

Please note that the milermeter / gmap-pedometer web site supports runners and cyclists to plan routes. It seems smart enough to avoid some restricted access highways, if it can find a longer alternative route. If I spent the time to map each alternative for drivers, the bridge would be repaired and open for business before this public service announcement would be online.

Exit from the QEW to Hwy 20, the Centennial Parkway; or to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Or, if you miss those exits, take the very obvious Burlington St. East exit and stay on Burlington St.

Burlington eventually takes you to Bay St. Turn south (left), then east (right) onto Cannon St. West. Merge onto York Blvd to drive around Burlington Bay. Eventually you should find ramps to Hwy 403.

If you exited the QEW earlier, onto Red Hill Valley Parkway, you would be swept onto the Lincoln M Alexander Parkway (”the Linc”) and then toward Hwy 403 without those bothersome inner-city Hamilton streets.

Had you taken Hwy 20 south, you should take minor highway 8, Queenston Road, east. You could then leap onto Red Hill Valley Parkway south to “the Linc”, or continue east. Hwy 8 jiggles a bit to become Main St. and King St.; they later recombine. If you get a glimpse at MacMaster University, you’ve missed the on-ramp to Hwy 403. Sorry.

The advantages of Hamilton Routes include:

  • You may find food or shelter on your journey.
  • More routes means fewer tourists per route.
  • The parkway routes should be fairly quick, especially compared to the actual city streets.

The only real disadvantage is that each route is longer than the lift bridge detour. But none of these roads are closed on an hourly basis to let commercial shipping cross.

Heading to Toronto after Hamilton

Once you’re past Hamilton on Hwy 403, it will merge with the QEW, right where you would have been if you had been able to drive over the Burlington Skyway Bridge. To do this, you must avoid Hwy 407, the toll highway, which takes you north to Hwy 401.

Looking for More Festivals in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events and festivals in Toronto Ontario, through my web site. I track many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, listing many fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship with the Caribbean Carnival, tourist agencies nor highway departments. I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and my Fitness and Weight Control blog. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Did this article help you drive to Toronto by avoiding the Burlington Skyway Bridge in Hamilton? Let me know by clicking one of the “Like” buttons in the left margin or sharing with your friends. Thanks for reading, and have a good trip.

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