Toronto Festivals & Special Events

Happy Place | Harbourfront Centre

Happy Place has arrived and it's just what we needed on a grey and drizzly November morning. This bright and beautiful art exhibit is my favourite type... you can touch everything as much as you like. The massive installations from seven-foot stilettos to the world's largest indoor confetti dome is room after room of colour and joy. Everyone is smiling and taking fun pics and it's really just what creator Jared Paul envisioned... a place to walk in where you are surrounded by all things happy.





Toronto is the third stop for Happy Place after Los Angeles and Chicago and runs until January 1st 2019 at the Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto. Check out @wearehappyplace on Twitter and Instagram for updates and promo codes. Kids four and under are free of charge. Rosie :)


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Manolo Blahnik Exhibit: The Art of Shoes | Bata Shoe Museum

One of my fave Carrie moments on Sex and the City is her delight when she finds what she thought was an "urban shoe legend" -the Manolo Mary Janes- in the fashion cupboard at Vogue. Carrie's love of Manolos and the spectacular styling on that show made me fall in love with the artistry that is a Manolo Blahnik shoe. The Art of Shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum is a shoe-lover's dream; an ethereal exhibit of Manolos that will have you wanting to commit museum theft. Here are some shots of my faves:


Nearly cracked the glass here... guess that's why they only display one...



Inspired by nature:



Manolo Blahnik designed the shoes for Sophia Coppola's movie Marie Antoinette:


Timeless sandals...



The Art of Shoes runs until January 6th, 2019 at the Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto. Rosie :)

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The Art of Banksy Exhibition

There is still time to see this terrific exhibit which was even better than I was expecting. The Art of Banksy had it's North American premiere here in Toronto and was extended a couple of times this summer because it was incredibly popular. I loved it. It wraps up September 16th and then off to other cities. It takes about an hour and a half to get through and I would love to see it again. Here are some of my fave pieces.





You can purchase tickets at Follow the Twitter feed @banksyexhibit because you can often find a promo code for discounts. Rosie :)

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Invictus Games 2017

What an incredible week! Toronto embraced the Invictus Games with open arms and anyone who made it out to an event was blown away by the strength and spirit of the competitors. We attended a wheelchair rugby game between Canada and Australia and it was amazing... the competitors, men and women, were incredible to watch in action. Check out this passing for the try of the game for Canada:

My favourite moment at the closing ceremony on Saturday night was when Prince Harry came out after the star-studded concert and said to the competitors- "you said you wanted Bruce Springsteen- and I got him for you!" You could tell he was so proud to have organized an artist that everyone had wanted. The concert featured Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Coeur di Pirate, Bryan Adams, Bachman and Turner... it was awesome. The highlight was when Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams performed together, doing one of each other's songs... "Badlands" and "Cuts Like a Knife." What a sensational jam. Here's a bit of Bruce performing "Dancing in the Dark":

The Invictus Games will be held in Sydney, Australia in 2018. Rosie :)

"Time and time again, competitors from around the world tell me that sport has saved them; that the Invictus Games have given them a new lease on life; and that to represent their country again with fellow comrades is something they could only have dreamt of while lying in hospital." -- Prince Harry

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Images From The City: TIFF 2016

Ruth Wilson and Bob Balaban took the stage with the cast of the "The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House" after the film's debut at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema during TIFF 2016. Director Oz Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins) is pictured on the right, fielding questions from the packed house during the Q&A led by TIFF programmer Colin Geddes. It was a perfect TIFF Vanguard film; weird and puzzling and really, really creepy.


Send your image from the city to or tweet it to @rosieferg. Rosie :)

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Images From The City | IHeartRadio MMVAs

It was a stunning warm night in downtown Toronto for the MMVAs. 299 Queen Street West hosted a spectacular set and the hottest artists. Here's Macklemore rehearsing before taking the stage.

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Images From The City | Canadian Music Week

Cape Breton band Port Cities warm up at Canadian Music Week 2016.



Send your image from the city to or tweet it to @rosieferg. Rosie :)

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King City Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival

It was a beautiful day for this delicious event in King City's Memorial Park with a great selection of gourmet food trucks, local breweries and an amazing schedule of live music. $15 gets you entry into the event with access to food, beer and live music plus three drink tokens. If you aren't a drinker and just want to go and enjoy the music, $5 gets you access to the event grounds. Kids under 12 are free. We started with pulled pork from Smokinstein Food Truck.


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Vendemmia Wine Festival | Woodbridge

"La vendemmia" is a very special time of year in Italy. It refers to the fall grape harvest. This is a time of year that is difficult to predict because it can't really be scheduled. It happens with the grapes are at the peak of their ripeness, and ready to be picked for wine. The Vendemmia Wine Festival in Woodbridge is a wonderful celebration in August at the Veneto Centre. Delicious food and the best "uva per vino" are available for purchase- the grapes for making wine.


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Rancho Relaxo Food Truck at Lakeshore Mardi Gras

We had fish tacos from the Rancho Relaxo Food Truck at Lakeshore Mardi Gras this weekend. We also saw 54-40 perform a live show under the stars. Both the tacos and the band were amazing. Love summer. Rosie :)




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SheDot Comedy Festival: Special Offer

SheDot-web_200ht.jpgMy favourite people are the ones who can really make me laugh, and some of the most intentionally funny people I know are women. One of those super funny women is Martha O'Neill, a veteran of Toronto's comedy scene. She had the very clever idea to corrall lots of amazing female comedians into one festival right here in Toronto. The SheDot Comedy Festival is Toronto's first and only female comedy festival and takes place May 1st to 4th. The main venue is comedy hot spot Comedy Bar on Bloor, and right now you can get a three-day pass for only $17. The pass lets you choose six of twelve different shows featuring performers such as Keesha Brownie, Allison Dore and Wanda Carroll. It also gives you a discount off admission to the inaugural SheDot Gala at the Opera House on May 4th, hosted by the fabulous Trish Stratus. Rosie :)

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First Annual Toronto Bourbon Week

I discovered bourbon and bitters when we got really into Mad Men and wanted to drink Old Fashioneds with Don and Roger. Bourbon has become a lot more popular and today marks the first day of the inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week. There are seven events at seven different locations, each with its own theme and bourbon selection to try. The seven days of bourbon runs from September 27 to October 3rd; some events are general admission and some require tickets which you can buy online. Rosie :)


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Canada's Baking & Sweets Show 2013

Friends of mine who are really into baking love this event. Canada's Baking & Sweets Show takes place September 27th to 29th at the Toronto Congress Centre. There are dozens of exhibitors showcasing the latest in baking and dessert trends, and cool things to see like enormous handmade gingerbread houses. This year, the theme is "Alice in Wonderland" so I bet there will be some extremely creative confections. There are a bunch of celebrity chefs who will be appearing: Anna Olson, Brian Emmett and the Cupcake Girls will be there on Friday September 27th at 7pm. For more information on show exhibits, the hands-on class schedule or to buy tickets online (save $2 on admission) visit the Canada's Baking & Sweets Show website. Rosie :)




InspiraTO's Playwriting Contest

Do you want to write a play? What about starting with a really good ten-minute one? If you would like to see your work come to life on stage, you should take a crack at the InspiraTO playwriting contest. Canada's largest ten-minute play festival is entering it's ninth season and is looking for talent. It takes place May 29 to June 7, 2014 at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. The deadline to submit your work is December 18th, 2013 and there are no submission fees. Click here for more details. Rosie :)


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CNE 2013: Mac & Cheesery at the Food Building

Sadly deprived of the cronut burger due to some pesky bacterial toxins, we had to find something equally decadent for our CNE 2013 meal. No problem; Mac & Cheesery would do just fine. I could eat macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches every single day. But I never do, so a double bacon grilled cheese sandwich, classic baked mac and cheese and deep fried mac and cheese curds was obviously an awesome dinner.



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There is clearly nothing more to say here. The Canadian National Exhibition is on until September 2nd, 2013 and if you go after 5pm from Monday to Thursday, admission is only $5. Rosie :)


Record Store Day 2013 in Toronto

If you like to browse local record stores, Saturday April 20th is definitely the day to do it. It's Record Store Day, which celebrates music, vinyl and independent record shops. It started in the U.S. in 2007 and falls on the third weekend of every April. Stores all over the world now host in-store performances and artists release new music on this day, as well as limited edition records. Here in Toronto, there are plenty of participating shops that will be carrying Record Store Day exclusive and regional releases including Queen West faves Rotate This and Kops Records, Sunrise Records in Cloverdale Mall and my personal favourite Village Vinyl Music Emporium & Cafe in south Etobicoke. Click here to search for stores taking part in your hood. Rosie :)


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InspiraTO Theatre Festival 2013 Auditions

Auditions are currently running for Toronto's 10-minute play festival, InspiraTO. They need over 50 actors for this event which runs from May 30 to June 8, 2013. Click here for the production schedule and to check out the plays. This is an open call for a non-paying, non-union event, and you have to been over 18. Auditions end April 11. Rosie :)

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National Home Show & Canada Blooms 2013

I've owned a home for ten years but have never attended the Home Show. It's been combined with the garden show Canada Blooms which is great; I like looking at all the flowers even more than the hardwood floors and fake grass exhibits. (Although that fake grass is really something.) There is some very luxe stuff for sale at the Home Show, like enormous whirlpools and those freestanding bath tubs you see in rich people's apartments in the movies:

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I liked this big outdoor couch with all the colourful pillows,


and this fire thing I think is just for looking at, not cooking over.


Who at some point hasn't thought, wish I had an elevator? This one is very nice.


On to Canada Blooms, which had some really lovely garden displays. We spent a lot of time at the natural playground, which was creative and a great diversion for little ones. My little man loved jumping on the tree stumps and playing with the water fountain.



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The National Home Show & Canada Blooms are being held at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place until March 24. If you buy your tickets online, you save $3. And parking on the weekdays after 4pm is free. Rosie :)



Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

All afternoon I was distracted from the boring things I had to do because I couldn't wait to see the giant tree at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. This event is free to attend and absolutely beautiful. Go at night, the lights are spectacular.

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The tree is perfect: massive and sparkling. It was donated by Trees Ontario.

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There is free hot chocolate at the entrance, and dozens of vendors selling everything from poutine and mulled wine to apple fritters and roasted nuts. There is a great area for the kids, with a ferris wheel, merry-go-round and pony rides. (You have to buy tickets for the rides.) But even without spending a cent, there is so much to do and see. The caroling performance was so festive!

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The Toronto Christmas Market runs until this Sunday December 16th in the Distillery Historic District (Mill Street and Parliament.) Rosie :)

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Humble & Fred's 250th Podcast Party

Did you know that Humble & Fred have a podcast? They actually have 250 of them, and they recorded that 250th in front of a live and laughing-very-loudly studio audience Thursday night at Redfish Studios. As co-host of the Toronto Mike'd podcast on the Humble & Fred Radio Network, I was lucky enough to attend the event, which was filled with many long-time fans and supporters of these Toronto radio legends. They delighted the crowd with the fun, effortless banter everyone loves them for and it was such an entertaining hour to watch. Here are some pics from the night, starting with the Humble & Fred interns including Phil Hong warming up their voices:


Me & Phil before the show:

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Toronto Mike delivers some well wishes to Humble & Fred:


The studio audience:


Dave Bish and more #100percenters:


Dan Duran joins the desk:


Fan favourite Kelly Cutrara:


Me & Toronto Mike:


Fred & Mike before the show:


Humble Howard & Fred rehearse:


There were some great musical performances and lots of laughs including funny business from Scary Pete and Chicken Shwarma, who my husband was a particularly big fan of in the CFNY days. They are hilarious. To hear the show, visit the Humble & Fred website where you can also check out the Toronto Mike'd podcast. Rosie :)

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Celebrate Yonge at Yonge-Dundas Square

Yonge-Dundas Square is so awesome now compared to when my husband and I went to Ryerson over a decade ago. It certainly had character then, but it really wasn't an area of the city you wanted to take your toddler to run around. Now you can... it's like a mini Times Square, plus it has lots of splashy water fountains for little water lovers.

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It really feels like the heart of the city, with tons of special events like free concerts, free movie nights and the T.O. Tix booth where you can pick up discounted theatre and comedy show tickets. Right now there are temporary patios set up right on Yonge Street between Queen and Gerrard for the Celebrate Yonge event, giving the downtown core even more of a fun party vibe. There are some neat things to check out in the different event areas, including life-sized board games and a bike art gallery. Rosie :)

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BuskerFest 2012 In The St. Lawrence Market

Scotiabank BuskerFest is on right now in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. If you are like me and love a good human statue, get downtown. There is lots of entertainment and the event supports Epilepsy Toronto.

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Like all good festivals, there are dozens of delicious things to eat that are terrible for your body but wonderful for your soul. As badly as I wanted a Blooming Onion, I opted for a Moroccan Spiced Brisket on a Bun by the Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc on Front (that's the restaurant with the hot belly dancers).

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BuskerFest runs until August 26th. Visit for a schedule of performances and the festival mobile app. Rosie :)

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CNE 2012: Bacon Nation at the Food Building

We covered a lot of ground this year at the Ex but our first stop was the Food Building. And our first stop inside the Food Building was Bacon Nation. It's new. Everybody's talking about it. One could say the menu is trying to kill you. I say it's just giving people what they want, like bacon-wrapped deep-fried Mars Bars, Nutella bacon sandwiches and bacon funnel cakes.

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I had to try the deep-fried hotdog wrapped in BACON! I love how it's sprinkled with bacon bits, in case you didn't get the theme. Bacon. Goes. On. EVERYTHING.

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Here are the baconators in action. Love the industrial size tubs of Nutella.

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The Food Building is open every day from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, which runs until September 3rd. Rosie :)

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Images From The City: Dîner en Blanc 2012

Toronto's first annual Dîner en Blanc took place on Thursday night. We now join Paris, New York, Barcelona and other amazing cities around the world as hosts of this chic pop-up picnic. Everyone dresses in white and dines at a secret spot in the city. The location is only revealed the night of the event when you are brought there by your host. This year the venue was the grounds of Fort York.

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Thanks Parteeee GG for this fabulous picture from what looks like a fabulous white night. If you want to dine in white next year, you have to get on the waiting list. (You don't just show up to a foodie flashmob, it requires planning.) Visit the Toronto Dîner en Blanc website to learn more. And if you have an image from the city you'd like to see on the Scoop, send it to Rosie :)

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Lakeshore Mardi Gras in Etobicoke

Today we went to Colonel Samuel Smith Park for the 9th annual Lakeshore Mardi Gras celebration. What fun! There is a great schedule of live music all weekend (tonight at 8:30... Alan Frew of Glass Tiger!) and tons and tons of delicious and naughty things to eat, like ribs, Ribfest-style.


Here's a close-up of the experts in action. Vegetarians, look away.

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There were many other things to eat that you would never even consider consuming anywhere else other than a festival, like fudge, Tiny Tom Donuts and Blend-Your-Own Slushies.

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There are lots of rides for kids and tons of space to watch the live music on the main stage. Colonel Samuel Smith Park is such a nice big park with tons of trees, lots of leafy shade and plenty of green space to spread out a blanket.

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The Lakeshore Mardi Gras runs until Monday August 6th. Click here for the concert schedule. (Did I mention-Alan Frew of Glass Tiger, in one hour? You have time!) Rosie :)


inspiraTO, Canada's Largest Ten Minute Play Festival

When artistic director Dominik Loncar founded inspiraTO, he wanted to see if you could make an awesome play in ten minutes that tells a compelling story. Turns out you can, and people love it. This is the seventh year of the festival, which has produced 82 ten-minute plays and gets over 300 submissions each year. The theme of this year's festival is Vision. The inspiraTO Festival runs from June 1-10 on the mainstage of Toronto's Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street.) To check out show times and buy tickets visit the InspiraTO website. The productions are grouped into one showing of six to eight ten-minute plays, and the first grouping of shows is this Friday June 1st at 8pm. Go, go, go... every minute counts! Rosie :)


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