A Toronto street festival renowned for filling Bloordale with stunning art installations and live performances is celebrating a milestone anniversary this weekend.
BIG on Bloor Festival will take over 10 blocks along Bloor Street West between Dufferin Street and Lansdowne Avenue on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17. The massive event will feature interactive art experiences, extended patios, multiple music stages, and marketplaces.
“We invite everyone to come and be amazed, to get creative, to move their bodies, create noise, and get lost and found,” said Darren Leu, BIG on Bloor Festival Director in an interview with Daily Hive. “BIG on Bloor is a chance to reconnect with the vibrant community around us, and to be engaged and mindful in the moment.”
Presented by the Bloor Improvement Group, a non-profit coalition of community groups and dedicated members, BIG on Bloor is a rain or shine pedestrian takeover that features visual artists and musical acts, street performances, and plenty of family activities.
This year’s festival theme is “RE: Union”, and according to organizers, the objective is to gather again publicly while also starting a dialogue about what coming together means to everyone.
BIG on Bloor is showcasing an exciting lineup of QTBIPOC performers across several stages, including the main stage at 1141 Bloor Collegiate Institute as well as the Latin World Stage at Emerson.
Music artists to check out this weekend includes AfroBrazilian Batucada band T Dot Batu, Toronto DJ, rapper and producer Myst Milano, and psychedelic rockers Mother Tongues.
Attendees will also enjoy a plethora of street performances, including drag shows, breakdancing, hula hoops and silk demos, Ukrainian cultural presentation, and belly dancing.
A highlight of the festival each year is the immersive art installations and interactive workshops. There will be many opportunities to discover art sites scattered throughout the 10-blocks, with curated projects that reflect the diversity and creativity of the area.
Visual artists to keep an eye out for include Jana Ghalayini with a large-scale outdoor textile installation, DCP Collective giving visitors spray paint and masks to “tag” the environment, and the NFT Goat Collective inviting guests to peer through peepholes and see various digital media on devices contained in a black monolith.
“A series of participatory workshops will also be held both online and in-person,” added Leu. “These multi-disciplinary workshops will invite participants to take part in co-creating community tapestries using projection mapping, clay making, silk screening, and more. People can access these workshops over the BIG on Bloor YouTube channel and access archived videos at the BIG on Bloor website.”
The free annual event will have a big bazaar with more than 50 local and vintage vendors. Plus you’ll want to visit the neighbourhood’s unique shops, bars, and restaurants too.
And you’ll want to make a whole day (or two) of it as BIG on Bloor is packed with activities for all ages. Bring the whole family and invite your friends to visit Earth Echoes’ mini petting zoo, then play giant billiards or bike lane bowling.
Drop by the Play fair and Family zone for face painting, a Nerf zone and the popular “What a Ball”. Then peruse Kid Biz aka the youth market to see budding businesses of local children ranging from lemonade stands to friendship bracelets.
When: July 16 and 17, 2022
Time: 12 pm to 12 am (Saturday), 12 pm to 9 pm (Sunday)
Where: Dufferin Street to Lansdowne Avenue on Bloor