TORONTO, Monday, May 29, 2023 – Spanning three days from Friday June 9- Sunday June 11, summer’s favourite festival, Do West Fest, formerly known as Dundas West Fest is back. The newly expanded 16-block summer street festival is bigger than ever and this year’s festival will be held alongside ACAPO’s annual Portugal Day parade on June 10. The festival is Toronto’s official start to summer and is celebrating its 10th anniversary with free musical performances, art installations, participation of local businesses, artisan vendors and more.
The interactive festival is a popular draw for families and individuals alike. Presented by Little Portugal Toronto BIA, the 2023 edition has two additional blocks added and will be taking over Dundas Street from Shaw to Lansdowne. Do West Fest’s exciting programming includes live musical acts on three separate stages, buskers, art installations and hundreds of local Portuguese and other independent businesses for a weekend of music, art, food, fun and community.
“We are thrilled to bring Do West Fest back with even more attractions than last year,” says Tracy Jenkins (she/her) at Little Portugal Toronto BIA. “In addition to this year’s Festival, the Portugal Day parade on Saturday will give Torontonians yet another reason to visit our dynamic neighborhood. ”
Over 500,000 attendees are expected this year and festival programming will include tasty eats from vendors like Liko’s Hawaiian Barbecue, PowWow Cafe and Pancho’s Bakery, eye-catching art from MOCA Toronto and Flanzella and, of course, shopping! Check out more than 50 vendors at Hippie Market Life, featuring vintage and handmade goods, or browse for some deals at Uncle Terry’s World Famous Bargain Blowout.
Some of the musical performances include:
- Samba Reggae All-Stars featuring Crã Rosa: Bahian-born vocalist for the hugely-popular Brazilian group Timbalada, Crã Rosa, will be joined by Mestre Pato, Cibelle Iglesias, Jerusa Leão, Meteus Vidal and Carlos Cardozo as well as percussionists Claudia Casteblanco and Biba Púčiková. This performance is part of the Second Annual International Toronto Samba Reggae Festival.
- Danae Olano: Contemporary Cuban jazz piano master, Danae Olano is carving her own musical path while exploring the legacy of the giants of jazz music. She has recorded and toured internationally with Jane Bunnett & Maqueque and performs regularly with Best World Music Juno Award winners OKAN and salsa star Marta Elena.
- TICA with Cotee Harper: A new electro-acoustic project by vocalist and flamenco dancer, Tamar Ilana and multi-instrumentalist producer, Demetri Petsalakis that transforms acoustic roots vibes and global classics into an exhilarating fusion of live-looped vocals, dance beats, electric oud, keys and synths — all, of course, with the distinctive flair of flamenco! They’ll be joined by the electro-acoustic improviser Patrick O’Reilly and Indigenous contemporary collaborative and fancy shawl dancer Cotee Harpe.
- Soukustek and Miss Blandine: Canada’s premier champeta project joins forces with Congolese Canadian vocalist for the first time to explore the connections between the music of the Congo and the continued influence that it has had on the music of Colombia since the 1970s. Seamlessly blending the rhythms and sounds of guitars that arrived in Colombia from Africa with the flavors of the Colombian Caribbean.
- Havana Ventu: This powerhouse Cuban salsa group has quickly become a Lula Friday night favorite. Led by percussionist Magdelys Savigne and featuring an all-star Cuban lineup including Marta Elena,Pablosky Rosales, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Frank Martinez and Roberto Riveron, Havana Ventu performs a high energy mix of classics and Savigne’s original compositions.
- Colectivo Chabocho : Formed in 2017 in the city of Xalapa, Mexico, Colectivo Chabocho fuses Mexican cumbia, hiphop, funk and disco to create a unique pan-Latin fusion. Chaboco is set to release a series of groove-driven, cumbia-fusion originals as singles this summer.
Festival hours are Friday June 9 from 6-11 pm, Saturday June 10 from 11 am – 11 pm and Sunday June 11 from 11 am – 6 pm. The Portugal Day Parade begins on Saturday June 10 at 9 am on Dundas Street. Bring your human or fur children to join in on the fun and, as always, the festival is rain or shine so come prepared! For more updates visit dowestfest.ca and @dowestfest on Instagram.
About the Name Change
As many of you know- light has been shed on the fact that the namesake for our beloved Dundas Street (Henry Dundas) was an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of slavery by 15 years. He also aided in the continued subjugation of Indigenous peoples in Canada in his role as British Home Secretary. In July 2021, Toronto City Council voted 17-7 in favour of a motion to rename the street, along with subway stations, a library, Yonge-Dundas Square, and a number of parks. Although the city is still in the process of deciding the new street name, we feel it is exceptionally important to accurately display our values by removing ‘Dundas’ from the BIA and festival names promptly.