TORONTO Although Toronto has become notorious in the past year for the often-embarrassing antics of Mayor Rob Ford, his bad publicity hasn’t crippled the thriving event and meeting scene.
The city’s diverse nature continues to shape the event landscape with gatherings like the ImagineNative film festival and the Festival of South Asia rising in prominence. This year, Toronto will be the first North American city to host WorldPride, the international festival celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered lifestyles, increasing the significance of the city's annual Pride Week celebration.
The foodie culture holds strong, drawing big crowds and big bucks for culinary-centric events as well as benefits. And intellectual life continues to flourish, as evidenced by the growing influence of the Walrus Gala and the Griffin Poetry Prize Gala and the continued importance of the Book Lovers’ Ball and the Giller Gala.
Torontonians are keenly awaiting the outcome of October’s mayoral election, but they’re definitely not just sitting around holding their collective breath. They’re meeting, parading, raising funds, and raising awareness—as they’ve always done. Here are our picks for the events that annually draw the biggest buzz, crowds, media and donor attention, and important players in their respective fields.
To choose and rank the annual events on this list, we look at several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event's prominence within the communities it intends to serve.