A group of people sit around a table laughing Photo credit Brendan Albert, courtesy of Toronto Fringe.

Folk to Fringe, Ontario Summer Festivals Make a Comeback

July 5, 2022

Festivals are making a comeback, and they’re stronger and more joyful than ever! Sunny weather, crowds, and culture combine with these iconic gatherings across the province.

From open air music events to buzzing street fairs, the Ontario Culture Days staff have picked eight festivals to indulge in this July:

A crowd of people wearing headphones and dancing outdoors
Toronto Fringe’s Silent Disco, Photo credit Colleen Yates.

Toronto Fringe Festival

Toronto (Northern Ontario), July 6 – 17, 2022

Welcome to Canada’s largest fringe festival: 12 days, 1,200 artists, 80 companies from around Canada and across the world. At the fringe, you can find something for everyone – the Toronto Fringe even has its own dedicated venue and programming for children (KidsFest shows are on at the St. Vladimir Institute).

You can save on tickets with a multishow pass. And on your walk to your next venue, take the scenic route with our Toronto Public Art ON Culture Guide, which brings you past historic and significant installations and murals across the city.

Mariposa Folk Festival

Orillia, July 8 – 10, 2022

Set in the scenic and bucolic setting of Tudhope Park, enjoy the stories and tunes of over 100 musicians at this family-friendly celebration of song, story, dance and craft. As one of the oldest folk festivals in all of North America (running for over 60 years), there’s a wealth of knowledge to learn at artist talks and workshops on folk music and folk culture.

St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

Prescott, July 9 – 23, 2022

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this outdoor theatre with a passion for the classics is producing four shows this summer, starting with Twelfth Night. Come early for a stroll along the river and marina or through the garden adjacent to the amphitheatre, which features flowers, herbs and shrubbery mentioned in the Bard’s writing. Of note: the amphitheatre has wheelchair-accessible seating.

A person with a guitar singing into a microphone
Photo credit John Shisko Photography, courtesy of Springtide Music Festival.

Springtide Music Festival

Uxbridge, July 21 – 23, 2022

This three-day festival celebrating Canadian music takes you around town to restaurants, bars, shops and the downtown outdoor mainstage. The lineup is packed with over 70 artists from across Ontario, including Alysha Brilla, Boy Golden, Julian Taylor, Danny Michel, and Skye Wallace. And headlining the opening night festivities at The Uxbridge Music Hall is Bedouin Soundclash.

Round out your experience in the region with our ON Culture Guide for Durham Region North, taking you to arts and not-to-miss sites in the area.

A person singing into a microphone on stage in front of a colorful audience
Thunder Bay Festival of Colours. Photo Credit Dan Verntrudo.

Festival of Colours

Thunder Bay, July 17, 2022

Presented in partnership with the Thunder Bay Festival of India, this “world’s happiest transformational event” encourages attendees to cast away bad feelings and worries. The colours, made with corn starch, cosmetic-grade dyes and fragrance, represent unity among all people across race, gender, and background.

Come dance to live Kirtan bands and DJ’s and indulge in yoga classes and Indian cuisine. Open to all ages.

Haliburton Art & Craft Festival

Haliburton, July 22 – 24, 2022

Hosted by the Arts Council of Haliburton Highlands, this open air shopping experience brings together the best of local artists and craftspeople. Clothing, sculpture, paintings, homewares and much more, this juried event will take over Head Lake Park beside the Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre. Admission is by donation.

Ottawa International Buskerfest

Ottawa, July 29 – August 1, 2022

This festival is ready to welcome back 175,00 attendees with live music, circus acts, world-class fire performers and burlesque. In between venues, you’ll be dazzled by strolling performances and delighted by street vendors of Canadian favourites like beavertails.

Our Ottawa ON Culture Guide helps you plan your eats, stays and artistic moments during your weekend stay.

2 ladies holding teacups at a table and wearing fancy clothes
(l to r): Julia Course as the Honourable Gwendolen Fairfax, Gabriella Sundar Singh as Cecily Cardew, Graeme Somerville as Merriman and André Morin as Footman in The Importance of Being Earnest (Shaw Festival, 2022). Photo by David Cooper.

Shaw Festival

Niagara-on-the-Lake, all summer long

In the heart of wine country, when you come to the Shaw, you get more than world-class theatre. In addition to eleven productions, the Shaw has recently launched The Art of Ideas series, where one academic and one artist sit down to reflect on big ideas – think human psychology, morality, or the intersection of ancient mythology and modern media – in a conversation akin to a TEDtalk.

Whether you drive into the region or stay nearby, our ON Culture Guide to the Niagara Region takes the planning out of a weekend getaway, with history walks, arts centres and galleries to enjoy.