The Toronto International BuskerFest Has It All
Planning a trip in the future to the great city of Toronto, Ontario? Let me give you a couple insider tips that will make your time in the city more enjoyable! Toronto is the most populated city in Canada. Twenty-five million tourists visit this city every year. There are so many things to see and do during your time here. The CN Tower, Science Centre and, Canada’s Wonderland are a few crowd favourites. But when you get tired of spending money on the usual tourist attractions that the city has to offer, make sure you take in some of the more community oriented festivals occurring.
Every year at the end of summer, Scotiabank puts on an all ages event called the Toronto International Buskerfest. With a pay what you can donation to Epilepsy as the entry fee, this event gathers hundreds of buskers from all over the globe to perform their special acts. Acts can include a variety of talents including magic, comedy, musicians and, flame throwing. You may think that you’ve seen all these acts before but, the hosts have carefully curated new and old performances with the suggestions of previous years’ festival goers. Every year one busker group or solo act receives the votes of the people agreeing that this act was truly remarkable. This is the best way for the festival to continue growing and gathering more talent that we all love to see.
Must See Acts
FlameOz is one of the must-see acts that hails from Byron Bay, Australia. They have an extremely well executed fire throwing and neon light display show. They are comprised of three athletic built males and one female acrobat with incredible stage presence. Their performance relies heavily on spinning flame around their bodies on batons, to great bass heavy music. The act is between 45 mins to an hour and it keeps your attention the entire time.
If fire is not your cup of tea, the great thing about the BuskerFest is that you can view a different act just by walking a few steps to the next stage. Maybe take in the act Cirque NoProblem, this married couple from Israel have fine tuned their acrobatic routine to include audience participation, comedy and great content. I felt sometimes that the stage I viewed them at did not have the most sufficient lighting but they did a fabulous job with what they had been given. Their finishing trick was perfectly timed to a song that had the crowd giggling away.
The organizers have put in loads of effort into making this weekend run smoothly. You will find large schedules throughout the grounds of times to see each act and which stage they will be performing. You are also able to find printable versions on the website for the event, which will help if you have a specific set of acts that you are interested in.
Woodbine Park Toronto, Canada
Every stage is numbered throughout Woodbine Park, so finding certain acts is not a challenge. There are Washroom facilities present on the grounds which especially helps with younger children in attendance. Perfomers tend to allow a few minutes before the start of their show to have the children sit down in front for a good view, so there is not much need to rush between acts.
On top of unique performance acts, you will have quite a few opportunities to try out culinary talents as well. The past year the festival has had a change in venue, going from the bustling downtown core of Toronto to a park in “The Beaches,” in hopes that it can give way to more food and artisan stalls. For the first time I was able to get a proper vegetarian curry with cauliflower steak from a local food truck, huge bonus for me! For the picky amongst us you will find the usual assortment of carnival food throughout the park.
I have been to both the old location in Downtown Toronto and the new location of Woodbine Park. I am still undecided as to which I prefer more as I felt that the downtown street performance vibe was incredibly buzzy and fun. The biggest downfall being that the stage layout was all determined by having open space on side streets to fit not only stages but thousands of people. The new location allows much more traffic at each stage. The atmosphere in my opinion has taken a slight hit however. I think the main reason for this is that not as many know of its whereabouts since the move.
Nevertheless, you can still find many of the interactive stilt-walkers and ride on musical contraptions for the younger crowd, that we have known and enjoyed.
Planning Your Day
I advise arriving to the venue at around noon. Discuss with your group which acts you would all like to see, and create your own viewing schedule so you never miss an important act. At the hottest part of the day, go grab your yummy food truck grub that you’ve been eyeing up and lounge in the shaded area to the side of the park. There have also been beer-gardens for the of age visitors in the past to help cool off. Remember to leave the light show and flame acts for the evening when you receive the ultimate viewing experience, and do not worry if you missed an act without a heavy presence of light, all of the stages have been set up with lighting so you will always be able to see the show.
There really is something for everyone to enjoy at this International BuskerFest and the price could not be better. You have a chance to have a great day or entire weekend, and with a couple dollars as a donation you can help the Epilepsy foundation with their biggest fundraiser of the year. Who wouldn’t want to support that? As for paying the acts; In the traditional busking way only give what you feel the acts deserve.