Toronto Winter Solstice Festival – Music, Costumes and Fire!
If you’re in Toronto on December 21, make sure you head to Kensington Market to join the Winter Solstice Festival and solstice parade. It’s been a Toronto tradition for 28 years.
The Solstice Festival and parade is the ideal break from the commercial frenzy and a chance to celebrate the return to longer days with fire, music and festivities.
It’s fun for everyone – we’ve followed the parade many times, sometimes by ourselves, other times with friends and young children. Bring a lantern or a noisemaker, grab a coffee or hot chocolate, and you’re set.
The Anarchist Heart of Toronto
Kensington Market is Toronto’s downtown free-thinking, left-wing, anarchist heart. The market has taken in waves of immigrants for over 100 years. At one time it was the Jewish Market where you could have a chicken slaughtered while you wait. Now it’s a United Nations of butchers, fruit and vegetable markets, cheese mongers, restaurateurs, vintage clothing shops, musicians, actors, students, pagans and activists.
Follow the Solstice Parade to the End for the Big Fire
It’s only natural that Kensington is home to the Winter Solstice Festival and solstice parade with its carnival-style boho horn bands, drummers and percussionists, giant animal and fairyland costumes and most of all, fire. Fire swallowers, flamethrowers, fire jugglers and finally the big sacrificial fire in the park.
Last year, the ouroboros, the snake that eats its tail was set alight. It represents the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction, life and death in one big circle. It’s a different surprise every year so be ready for this year’s flaming fun!
Join In the Solstice Festival Fun – Here are the Details
Go to the Red Pepper Spectacle Arts site to confirm details. On December 21, at 6:30 P.M., meet in Kensington Market at the corner of Oxford and Augusta. The nearest main intersection is College and Spadina. Take either the College or Spadina streetcars and walk into the market from there.
The parade departs at 7:00 P.M. Don’t be late!
Buy a Lantern For the Parade
You can buy lanterns with candles on the steps of St. Stephen’s Community House, at 91 Bellevue Avenue between 5:00 and 6:30 P.M. Get your lantern, have something to eat and then get ready to parade.
Thinking of Airbnb?
If you’re coming to Toronto for the holidays, Airbnb offers a great choice of accommodations in and around the city. If it’s your first time renting Airbnb, click here to get the equivalent of $50 CDN off your first booking.
Looking for a Hotel in Toronto?
Toronto has a wonderful selection of hotels, from intimate boutique hotels, to quirky “art hotels” and of course all of the most popular chains. Some of them are on the lake with a view of the islands. Others are tucked away in one of Toronto’s many distinct neighbourhoods. You’ll find the best and most recent rates on Toronto hotels here.
We’re Fans of Lonely Planet Guides
If you’re visiting Toronto, or the rest of Canada, start with the Lonely Planet Canada guide to find your way around. It’s available in paper and digital for handy reference. We have our Lonely Planet guides on an iPad. Handy!
Tours and Activities in and Around Toronto and Niagara Falls
There is SO much to do in Toronto, you could spend years here and never get through it. Here’s a selection of Toronto area tours and activities, with direct links to purchasing advance tickets so you don’t have to stand in line.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you click on them and book, we receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. This helps with the cost of operating this site.
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