As another winter transitions into spring, the occasional snow squall drops in to remind Torontonians they live in The Great White North. Many years have passed since the army was called in to dig out the city. Though much of Canada has mostly forgotten Toronto’s inability to survive a snow storm, Ontarians just up Highway 400 aren’t quite sure if “The 6ix” even experiences winter any more.
Winters vary in intensity, and sometimes it seems Mother Nature skips spring in Toronto, and transitions right into summer. Regardless of the weather, the Greater Toronto Area seems to wake from a long slumber in the spring, and there are many great events to see, and places to go.
If you need help shaking off the winter blahs, here are ten GTA experiences you’ll want to be a part of.
Toronto Blue Jays Home Opener
Most Torontonians would love to watch the Maple Leafs compete in the NHL playoffs each spring, yet fate hasn’t been kind to “The Buds” for many years. Catching the Blue Jays in their season debut in the Rogers Centre gives the city new hope, excitement and optimism. In April, hot dogs taste their juiciest, baseball bats sound their loudest and mini donuts smell their sweetest. OK, Blue Jays, let’s play ball!
Hot Docs Film Festival
Though it lacks the star power of the Toronto International Film Festival in the fall, the Hot Docs Film Festival brings great documentaries to Canada’s largest city. From late April, to early May, reality film makers from around the world descend on Toronto to promote their productions. The Annex region of Toronto plays host to films on topics like:
- Culture & Creativity
- Stories from Around the World
- People and Perspectives
- Ideas and Issues
These topics leave a lot to the imagination, though the films are real, the crowds are real, and rookie filmmakers are hopeful Hot Docs will launch their career skyward. Spring may have sprung, though Torontonians do like to spend time in dark theatres!
Other Toronto spring film festivals include:
- TIFF Kids Film Festival
- Inside Out Film Festival
- Canadian Film Fest
- Human Rights Watch Film Festival
Running and Climbing
For Torontonians and tourists who need to get moving in spring, there are lots of opportunities to get off the couch, and raise your heart rate:
- Good Life Marathon – This challenging run is on May 1st, is a qualifier for the Boston Marathoners and starts in Nathan Phillips Square
- CN Tower Climb – On April 16th, hordes of charitable Torontonians run up 1,776 steps in support of the World Wildlife Fund. Teams and individuals
- Harry Rosen Spring Runoff – Early April brings this run in support of the fight against prostate cancer. 5k and 8k runs for all ages
Just as dogs, bears and cats shed their winter coats in the spring, many Torontonians join these events, or take to the streets to walk, jog, cycle and run right past the gym they joined in January.
A Food Festival for Every Palate
To build enough energy to participate in the fitness challenges above, you need fuel right? Toronto offers a broad spectrum of global cuisine year round, and in the spring there are food festivals including:
- The Raw and Vegan Festival – Or stay home and have a salad
- Curry Fest – Probably best after the CN Tower Climb, not before
- Toronto Life’s Best Restaurants Event – 15 top restaurants, showcasing their wares
- Feast on St. Clair – Get your eat on at multiple purveyors of food
There are a number of events showcasing adult beverages. This is a family blog, so we’ll stick to delicious eats here.
Bursting into Bloom in T-Dot
Every year’s first blooms depend on when Mother Nature is ready to bring flowers to Toronto parks, however when it’s time, you’ll find them exploding into view here:
- Casa Loma
- Toronto Botanical Gardens
- High Park Hillside Gardens
- Spadina Museum
- High Park cherry trees
- Hopefully, your back yard
Torontonians love their gardens, and not just when Frankie Flowers is in town. April showers, some topsoil and some hard work in mid-to late Mays should restore the grey and brown city to match the colours in the vibrant new Toronto sign.
The DVP Isn’t the Only Zoo in Toronto!
Though the Toronto Zoo is famous for its baby pandas, there are many places around the city to spot some of our fine furry friends in the spring:
- High Park Zoo
- Reptilia (what says spring better than lizards?)
- Brooks Farm
- Far Enough Farm
- Riverdale Farm
- Pingle’s Farm Market
If you’ve enjoyed getting out of the city for your maple syrup fix, and plan to spend some quality time in the city, here are some other events you should consider:
- Doors Open Toronto
- Fashion Week
- Toronto Music Week
- Toronto Spring Bike Show
- Toronto Spring Fishing Show
- The Spring Boat, RV, and Motorcycle Shows
If you’re still stuck for ideas on things to do in Toronto this spring, you just haven’t paid attention. The warm weather is on the way, so if you have some time on your hands, do some spring cleaning around your house, or stroll Toronto’s streets and enjoy the rebirth of our city!