close up on pulled pork sandwich being held by person in blue pattern shirt

6 ways to celebrate community in May

Welcome spring with these fun-filled festivals, art exhibits and food tours near you

I love May. We all seem to suddenly wake up, rubbing our bleary eyes as we stumble outdoors and into the warm spring sunlight. I’m always stunned by how big the neighbourhood kids have become. I’ll say things to my husband like, “Wasn’t that kid just eating sand in our backyard last year?” as we watch a six-foot tall boy stroll past our front door.

But it’s not just the neighbourhood kids who are suddenly resurfacing this spring; the whole community is coming alive! And there’s no shortage of fun, affordable ways to celebrate and enjoy everything that makes the GTA such a great place to live, from tree planting and world tours to youth art exhibits and neighbourhood festivals. I’ve rounded up six of my favourite community events for May—take your pick or try them all!

Land / Water / Sky Photography Exhibit

The Scarborough Museum Youth Collective has collaborated with local Indigenous artist Catherine Tammaro to create original photography that explores the connection between the young artists and the land, water and sky. Tour the exhibit, and then spend some time exploring the museum to learn more about Scarborough’s early history. (Hint: It has very little to do with the Barenaked Ladies.)

Dates: April 1, 2018 – August 30, 2018

Where: Scarborough Museum

Price: Pay what you can

Youth Week Toronto

Youth Week Toronto celebrates everything about our young people that should make us excited (and optimistic!) about the future. From a summit where youth present their ideas on entrepreneurship, mental health and violence in the community to events featuring music, dance, sports, cooking, spoken word poetry and everything in between—it’s definitely worth checking out with the young people in your life.

Dates: May 1 – May 7, 2018

Where: Various locations across the GTA.

Price: Free

Baskets of tomatoes peppers and cucumbers from Kensington Market produce vendor

Kensington Krawl Food Tour

Feeling peckish? Branch out from your regular haunts and join the Kensington Krawl Food Tour on a journey of tasty treats in one of Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhoods. You’ll also walk away a little smarter after not only meeting local chefs and food makers, but also learning about the cultures that have shaped the history of the neighbourhood. Nom! Nom!

Dates: Every Wednesday, beginning May 2 through September 5, 2018

Where: Jimmy’s Coffee

Price: $65. Advance ticket purchase recommended.

York Region Community Tree Planting

Grab any teenagers looking for volunteer hours, get them to ditch their phones and head up to East Gwillimbury to help with Forests Ontario’s 2018 Community Tree Plant. This family-friendly event is the perfect warm-up to getting into your own backyard garden while helping to create a greener community for all to enjoy. Trees, shovels, gloves and refreshments are provided. (It all goes down rain or shine, so be sure to dress for the weather.)

Dates: May 5, 2018

Where: Regional Municipality of York—Water and Waste Water Treatment Hub 2, 5866 Doane Road

Price: Free, but register in advance.

two people painting children's faces at a table before grassy planter

Spring into Parkdale Festival and Night Market

This festival has it all, so plan to spend the day. It features kids’ activities like face painting and crafts, as well as a community area where you can learn about local groups doing good work in the Parkdale neighbourhood. With more than 10,000 square feet set aside for food vendors, patio seating and a DJ, you don’t have to worry about bringing a lunch (or dinner!).

Dates: May 12, 2018

Where: Parkdale, Queen Street West from Roncesvalles Avenue to Dufferin Street

Price: Free

Group of women wearing range of traditional costumes smiling and waving before a number of flags

Carassauga Festival of Cultures

From Poland and Portugal to Korea and Kyrgyzstan, Carassauga Festival of Cultures is the largest multicultural festival in Ontario. This three-day, family-friendly extravaganza includes unlimited access to more than 32 pavilions where you can explore country-specific food and entertainment. Your passport even gets you free rides between all ten locations on either the Carassauga shuttle or MiWay buses.

Dates: May 25 – May 27, 2018

Where: Various cultural and community centres in Mississauga

Price: $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Is there something happening in your community that you’d like to see featured? Let me know by dropping me a line at locallove@uwgt.org and including COMMUNITY in the subject line.