If you are planning a wedding in Toronto for the peak summer season, not only will you pay a premium for your venue but there are a number of downtown events and festivals that will impact your guest experience (or even your booking experience). These aren’t small events by any stretch. These are city-wide events that will close off major streets, bring in thousands of people downtown and cause inconvenience to your travelling guests. Below is a list of Toronto events to be aware of when planning your summer wedding.
It’s not that you can’t hold your wedding on these weekends, but if you are interested in booking a venue that is impacted or nearby, be warned! It will mean increased traffic, premium rates at hotels and possibly blocked off dates at key venues.
Doors Open Toronto – last weekend of May.
Impacted venues: Various
Unique or historic buildings may not be available for this weekend, as they may be open to the public. Venues are selected annually and differ every year though, so the same venue may not participate in Doors Open one year to the next.
Luminato – first two weekends of June.
Impacted venues: Malaparte, Distillery District, AGO and ROM may be affected.
This arts festival draws in big crowds of people, though scattered amongst various venues. The major area of concentration is usually in the Distillery District, so if you are holding your wedding at any of their venues, it may pose some parking or traffic issues. It could make for some really cool photos though!
Pride Parade – Last Sunday of June
Impacted venues: Venues that are off of or passing Yonge, the main street for the route (Carlu, U of T, ROM, etc)
This annual parade is sure to cause some problems with wedding venues, as it takes place on a big stretch of Yonge Street, from Bloor to Dundas. If your wedding ceremony is on that Sunday afternoon, good luck to you. If your wedding is held on the Saturday before, note that street closures usually start to get set up the night before.
Caribana Parade – First Saturday of August
Impacted venues: Exhibition place (Liberty Grand and Direct Energy Centre)
This vibrant parade starts from Exhibition Place and runs down Lakeshore Avenue West to Parkside Drive. Though most of the parade will be done in the afternoon, if you are hosting a ceremony onsite at the Exhibition grounds anywhere, note that it may cause some issues for guests.
Pan Am – July 10-27
Para Pan Am Games – Aug 7-15
Impacted venues: U of T (both), Distillery District (both) or Exhibition Place (Pan Am only)
The venues mentioned above won’t have availability during the games, however anywhere downtown near the facilities might be pretty bad considering the extra traffic to and from the many downtown facilities. The giant Athletes Village on the east end of the city will probably be a big hub of activity and tourists. Be warned!
TIFF – first two weekends of September
Impacted venues: Malaparte and surrounding hotels
Expect major traffic jams in this area if you will be hosting your wedding during the surrounding days of TIFF. Hotels in the area will either be unavailable or will be at premium rates.
Canadian National Exhibition – third weekend of Aug to Labour day weekend
Impacted venues: Exhibition Place (Liberty Grand and Direct Energy Centre)
This big fair draws huge crowds on the weekend (especially the long weekend), so if you have any guests travelling to and from the area on the highways, expect increased traffic.
Rebecca Chan is a Toronto event designer and event planner. If you have a brand activation, media launch event, design project, trade show or a special event, connect with her today to see how we can collaborate on your next project.