Summer in Toronto means one thing: festivals. From food and music to arts and culture, the city comes alive with celebrations that take advantage of the season’s sunny weather. 

Some of the most significant events of the season take place at Exhibition Place, a 192-acre site that is Canada’s premier destination for events and entertainment.

Exhibition Place’s CEO, Don Boyle, shares with us some insider tips on how to make the most of this season’s high-octane excitement.

Step out of your comfort zone

“The summer festivals at Exhibition Place offer something for everyone—from the thrills of high-speed races at the Honda Indy to a vibrant celebration of diverse cultures at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival or the thrills of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).

My advice would be to step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new: whether it’s tuning in to the sounds of Ice Cube, Third Eye Blind, and T-Pain live at Toronto’s Festival of Beer or trying out experimental food at the annual CNE.”

Tip: The Chelsea Hotel is the official hotel partner of the CNE, so be sure to check out their offers

Explore all day, sleep all night  

“Exhibition Place is a 192-acre site. The scale of it is amazing, and there are some great hidden gems you can easily see while you’re visiting.

We have Hotel X on site, which offers luxe lodgings and incredible sunsets with panoramic views of the city. I like to cap off a great day with drinks and snacks on one of their patios, Valerie and Roses Cocina.

If you’re coming in for the day, we’re accessible by GO Train, TTC and Bikeshare Toronto. Come prepared to hit your step goal in walking shoes, as we have lots of space to explore while you’re here!”

Discover hidden gems

"Sometimes, when I want to take a pause from the excitement, I find myself wandering to the southwest part of our site to (literally) stop and smell the roses in our gardens, take in the waterfront views and explore the interesting monuments.

E.B. Cox’s Garden of the Greek Gods features sculptures of Greek mythology—from heroic Hercules to menacing Medusa. Another favourite is Scadding Cabin—Toronto’s oldest surviving building.”

Attend fun (and free) events  

“Locals from our surrounding neighbourhoods like Liberty Village, Fort York, Harbourfront, Parkdale and Trinity Bellwoods stop in throughout the year for our community events.

Check out Yoga at ExPlace and Music in the Park—a free Centennial Park series featuring a diverse lineup of emerging and established Toronto musicians.

Bring your friends and family, grab a picnic blanket and enjoy a night of great music under the stars!”