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Home / Events / Toronto Harbourfront Centre 50th Anniversary Summer Events Guide: Celebrating Culture, Arts, and Community

Toronto Harbourfront Centre 50th Anniversary Summer Events Guide: Celebrating Culture, Arts, and Community


Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this summer, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre will become a bustling hub of activity, offering a myriad of events and activities for locals and tourists alike. Situated along the sparkling shores of Toronto Harbour, this cultural hotspot transforms into a playground of arts, music, food, and family-friendly fun during the warm months. From Dancing on the Square and Free Flicks Tuesdays to Taste of Harbourfront and the Unity Festival, Harbourfront Centre has something to offer everyone. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the must-see events and attractions this summer:

Music and Performance

Back by popular demand One of Harbourfont Centre’s beloved summer programs is back in time for the0th anniversary celebration, and it has a new venue! 

Dancing on the Square

Summer events at Harbourfront Centre

Dancing on the Square will allow you to enjoy a short performance in various dance styles on Wednesday evenings. From salsa and Bollywood to electrifying beats and rhythms of Africa, you will find it in their new Public Square. Each presentation is followed by a chance to learn the steps with a professional instructor.

Some of the acts performing include: Odawa Wiingushk on July 10, Sals night on July 17, Bollywood Broken Dance on July 24, Contemporary with Hanna Kiel Augiut 7, and Tap with Ripple Effect on August 14. Come down to Harbourfront and immerse yourself in the irresistible rhythm of the music! No experience necessary – everyone welcome.

Weather permitting* on Wednesdays from July 10 – August 28FREE 

Visit harbourfrontcentre.com for the complete lineup.

Additionally. throughout the summer season, the Harbourfront Centre hosts a diverse range of musical performances and live entertainment. From jazz and classical music concerts to contemporary dance performances and theatre productions, there’s always something exciting happening on the outdoor stages and indoor venues. Music festivals celebrating various genres often take centre stage, attracting music lovers from all over the city.

Free Flicks Tuesdays all summer long – 8:30 pm

Free Flicks at Harbourfront this summer

As Harbourfront Centre celebrates their 50th anniversary, one of the city’s favourite summer traditions is back! That’s right Free Flicks Tuesday’s is back for the summer and it all gets started on June 25, 2024! Harbourfront Centre is hosting ten free outdoor film screenings all summer by the lake, from popular films to favourite old-school classics. Films featured include: Grease July 9, Le Mozart Noir July 16, Clueless July 23, The Mighty Quinn July 30, The Last Dragon – August 6, Forrest Gump August 13, Double Happiness August 20, and Barbie August 27.

FREE Toronto Music Garden performances

Harbourfront Centre summer concert series

Thursdays, 7pm and Sundays, 4pm

FREE Summer Music in the Garden is an intimate live music experience by the waterfront, occurring most Thursdays and Sundays all summer. This summer there will be 18 free performances by JUNO Award-winning Canadian musicians, artists performing at Summer Music in the Garden come from across Canada and internationally.

Weather permitting. Harbourfront Centre welcomes alternative folk duo Hailey Gillis and Andrew Penner on July 4, followed by the National Youth Orchestra on Sunday July 7. Next week, it’s Tarolinbak Persian Trio, July 11and ayres and ballads with Ménestrel on July 14. The Toronto Chinese Orchestra Players and Duo Holtz close out the month. In August look for: Opa Yella to get things started with folk music from Tehran to Casablanca on Aug. 1; Payadora will perform tango and diaspora on Aug. 4, the Moneka Arabic Jazz band will perfrom Arabic Maqam African grooves, jazz, funk and reggae on August 8.

Visit harbourfrontcentre.com for performance schedule and more detailed info about all of the talented artists performing in the Toronto Music Garden this summer!

Visual Arts and Exhibitions

Art aficionados will delight in the visual arts exhibitions and installations that dot the Harbourfront Centre’s grounds and galleries. Local and international artists showcase their works, spanning traditional paintings to modern multimedia installations. Many exhibitions are interactive, allowing visitors to engage directly with the art and gain insights into the creative process.

Food and Drink

No summer event is complete without indulging in delicious food and refreshing drinks. The Harbourfront Centre hosts food festivals that highlight Toronto’s culinary diversity, featuring everything from gourmet food trucks to international cuisines. Visitors can sample a wide array of dishes while enjoying stunning views of the lake! It’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Taste of Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Market July 13-14

Head down to Harbourfront Centre’s new Public Square for an array of culinary delights, artisanal crafts, fresh produce from local farmers and an eclectic lineup of food trucks. Presented in partnership with Street Eats and sponsored by the Food Network and Global News.

Søbr Market

One way to contend with the LCBO strike is by picking up some alcohol-free beverages at Søbr Market’s impressive pop-up shop to enjoy at Harbourfront or on a picnic at the Toronto Islands. Their message: Drinks for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Cold Beans

Oh yes! It’s summertime and the living is easy with coffee, ice cream or a combination of both in an affogato. Enjoy your favourite delights outside at the newly painted pink picnic benches by the bike path. This super fun pop-up is brought to you by Boxcar Social.

Boxcar Social

The enthusiastic folks at Harbourfront Centre call Boxcar Social their “favourite third wave cafe and wine bar.” It has re-opened seven days a week for the summer season! Chill on their lovely patio overlooking the lake and enjoy offerings from their new menu.

The Slip

Catch some cool vibes from their outdoor Concert Stage as you enjoy burgers and drinks by the lake at their hyper dog-friendly 500-seat patio. Did you know they even have a pooch menu?

Cultural Celebrations

Toronto’s multicultural fabric is celebrated throughout the summer at Harbourfront Centre. Visitors can experience cultural performances, traditional dances, and authentic cuisine from around the world, all within the vibrant atmosphere of Harbourfront Centre.

For anyone into hip-hop, Unity Fest is a can’t miss experience on Saturday, July 20. It is a celebration of Toronto’s thriving hip-hop culture.

Unity Fest hip-hop festival
July 20

Canada’s best hip-hop festival is back for its 16th year. With dance battles, street art exhibitions, live performances, DJs, food vendors and more, it’s a community vibe for all ages all day – come through and represent! FREE

Unity Fest Schedule

Interactive Hip Hop Workshops And Exhibits

Sat, Jul 20 • 2:00pm

Take in street art and DJing, watch beatbox and street dance artists perform, then find your style in a workshop.

Breakin’ The Cycle: Breaking Battle

Sat, Jul 20 • 2:00pm

Toronto’s best breakdancers come together to battle on the floor in an epic breaking showdown.

Artist Showcase

Sat, Jul 20 • 5:30pm – 6:30 pm

Unity Fest’s spoken word artists and rappers perform live.

Breakin’ The Cycle: Open-Styles Battle

Sat, Jul 20 • 6:30pm – 9:00 pm

Closing out Unity Fest, Toronto’s top Street Dancers compete one-on-one for the open-styles breaking battle to win prizes and the top spot on the podium!

How to Enjoy Harbourfront Centre Summer Events

Admission to many of the events at Harbourfront Centre is free, although some performances and workshops may require tickets or advance registration. It’s advisable to check the Centre’s official website or social media channels for the latest information on upcoming events, schedules, and any special requirements.

Getting There

Located conveniently close to downtown Toronto, and overlooking the dazzling waters of Toronto Harbour, Harbourfront Centre is easily accessible by public transit, bike, or on foot. Paid parking options are also available for those arriving by car. Plan ahead to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to this vibrant cultural destination.

Final thoughts

Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre summer events offer a unique opportunity to experience the city’s cultural diversity and natural beauty in one stunning location. Whether you’re seeking world-class performances, local culture, delicious food, family-friendly activities, or simply a relaxing day by the water, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Make the most of your summer by exploring all that Harbourfront Centre has to offer—you won’t be disappointed!

Remember to bookmark the Harbourfront Centre’s what’s on calendar and look out for some of Toronto’s favourite waterfront events. Embrace the spirit of summer in Toronto and create unforgettable memories at the Harbourfront Centre this season!

by Terry Lankstead

with notes and photos by Harbourfront Centre

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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