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