Brave the winter: Upcoming Toronto festivals

band playing a concert

With a bevy of festivals quickly approaching, a chilly Canadian winter won’t be a strong enough deterrent to keep Torontonians within the cozy confines of their homes. From genre-specific music festivals to 200 city-wide three-course dinners, locals will have plenty of reasons to brave the cold from now until mid-February. Here’s a sample of Toronto’s ongoing and upcoming winter festivals:

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Long Winter:

What is it? A November-to-March festival dedicated to any and all art forms. Events featuring 250 performers range from dance to sculpture installations.

When? Sat. Dec. 12, then monthly until March. Several off-shoot events throughout the year to be announced.

Where? The Great Hall – 1087 Queen St. W.

Admission: For Dec. 12 show, $11 in advance. Pay what you can at the door.

Performers: Dancers, visual artists, video game designers, comedians, etc. See website for the lineup for every show.

For more info visit: Toronto Long Winter

Solaris Winter Music Festival:

What is it? A two-day music festival featuring electronic and house musicians from all over the globe. Powered by INK Entertainment.

When? Sat. Dec. 26-Sun. the 27

Where? Enercare Centre – 100 Princes’ Blvd.

Admission: $129.50 per ticket.

Travel packages include a two-night hotel stay and admission to the festival. Prices range from $184 to $470 per person (depending on hotel).

Performers: Dec. 26th – Hardwell;Oliver Heldens, Borgeous, KillTheBuzz, Manzone & Strong. Dec. 27th – Steve Angello, Carnage, Fedde le Grand, Wiwek, Mark Oliver

For more info visit: Solaris Music Festival

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Next Stage Theatre Festival:

What is it? Winter edition of the Toronto Fringe Festival featuring the theatrical works of 10 artists. In a nutshell: 12 solid days of indie theatre.

When? Jan. 6th-17th

Where? All shows are staged at The Factory Theatre at 125 Bathurst St. A select few shows will be followed by a discussion at The Hoxton just down the street at 69 Bathurst St.

Admission: Tickets range from $10 to $15.

Four-play package priced at $48, Eight-play package at $90. Both passes subject to $2 order fee.

Performers: Fringe artists acting out the works of 10 playwrights. See website for the synopsis and cast of each play.

For more info, visit: Next Stage Theatre Festival

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Toronto Design Offsite Festival: 

What is it? Toronto’s design equivalent of Fashion Week, Offsite is a non-profit, week-long festival celebrating local and international designers by taking their work from the studio to dozens of venues across the downtown core and into the west end. Since the artwork will be featured in a variety of businesses and storefronts, those attending should map out an itinerary and travel on foot to optimize their experience.

When? Jan. 18th-24th. Certain exhibits are on for one day, others remain for the length of the festival.

Where? Dozens of galleries, stores and window installations all over the downtown and west side of the city.

Admission: Many exhibits are free. Those with a price of admission range between $5 and $20.

Featured artists: Local and international designers.

For more info, visit: Toronto Design Offsite Festival


What is it? The widest spanning culinary event in Toronto. With more than 200 restaurants participating, Winterlicious caters to just about any pallet imaginable. Aside from a three-course prix fixe menu, patrons can also indulge in tastings and pairings, cooking classes and dinner theatre.

When? Jan. 29th-Feb. 11th

Where? 200 restaurants across the city. Details to be announced.

Price: Prices for the three-course prix fixe dinners depend upon the restaurant.

Click here for more info: Winterlicious

Winter folk XIV: 

What is it?: A three-day music festival on the Danforth showcasing 150 artists at just a handful of venues. Aside from live shows, the volunteer-run Winterfolk also puts on special tributes and an awards ceremony, among other events. Like the Offsite Design festival, all venues are literally footsteps apart, so patrons can spare themselves a lengthy commute and get to several shows a night.

When?: Feb. 12th-14th

Where?: Black Swan Tavern – 154 Danforth Ave., Dora Keough Irish Pub – 141 Danforth Ave., Terri O’s – 185 Danforth Ave., Globe Bistro – 124 Danforth Ave.

Performers: Blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots musicians including Brian Gladstone, HOTCHA!, Jack De Keyzer, John Brooks, Mean Mary and more.

For more info visit: Winter folk XIV

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Wavelength 16:

What is it? A non-profit, artist-run festival dedicated to championing up-and-coming independent talent from Toronto. Aside from its winter festival, the Wavelength music initiative also launched Camp Wavelength, a camping and music festival, this past August.

When?: Feb. 12-14th

Where?: The Garrison – 1197 Dundas St. W., Markham House City Building Lab – 610 Markham St.

Admission: For all shows – $12 in advance, $16 at the door.

Performers: Lineup to be announced on January 7th

For more info visit: Wavelength 16

About this article

Posted: Dec 10 2015 1:50 pm
Edition: Toronto
Filed under: Special Reports Arts & Life