Critical Mass Riders send the message that cars can’t monopolize thoroughfares.
Market street mayhem
You can't do summer in the city without tasting Kensington's Pedestrian Sundays. Here's your chance to take over the streets in a car-free celebration of public space that promises a future where people triumph over autos. July's theme is Off-the-Grid, so look for fossil-fuel-free gizmos and lots of climate justice talk, plus whimsical games, music, street food, an art market and costumed fun. Noon-7 pm. Free. Kensington Market (College and Augusta). pskensington.ca.
Sunday, July 29
Proud, public, parading
Gay, straight or whatever, there's nothing glitzier, funnier or more fantastical than the annual Pride parade, where Toronto noisily trumpets its inclusiveness, mayor or no mayor. This year's International Grand Marshall is Serbian queer rights advocate Goran Miletic - a reminder that beyond the boas and the rainbow bikinis, parade participants and the thousands lining the route are voices for all those still in the closet, and in some countries, jails. The procession kicks off at 2 pm at Bloor and Church and proceeds down Yonge to Gerrard. pridetoronto.com.
Sunday, July 1
Toronto goes all jump-up
It's all about the senses at the annual Caribana parade, when the Caribbean community, after a year of sewing and rehearsing, takes its spectacular show to the streets in the spirit of Carnival. Over a million people flock to Toronto to see the sequined costumes and astonishing props and take in the steel bands, soca and calypso - the high point of a three-day fest of clubbing, picnicking and partying. Watch the parade at the CNE for $25, or join the thousands lining Lake Shore Boulevard for free. 10 am to 6 pm. caribanatoronto.com.
Saturday, August 4
Islanders for African grannies
Even wonder about that cozy little Toronto Island neighbourhood with its pathway streets and unique history? Here's your chance to tour charming homes, hear tales, check out memorabilia and learn about the locals - all in aid of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The walk is hosted by Grannies in Spirit, one of over 220 groups across the country supporting the foundation's Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, which raises money for African grandmas caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Noon-5 pm. $45, under 13 $15. Wards Island Clubhouse. torontoislandhousetour.weebly.com.
Sunday, June 10
Making a pedalling point
If you haven't rolled with a euphoric Critical Mass Ride yet, gear up for a treat. Get your consciousness raised about the marginalization of bikes on T.O. thoroughfares at this high-summer cycling excursion through the downtown with hundreds of bike buddies. While the event gives riders a heady sense of their potential power on the road, observers and motorists get the message, too: the roads need to be shared. 6:30 pm. Free. Spadina and Bloor. wx.toronto.ca.
Friday, June 29
Down to the woods today
It's wild, but it's the city, too. The Rouge Valley System was almost done in by development, but thanks to Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker and others in the 90s, the park is now an urban wilderness jewel. Grab your binoculars and hit the trails with guided walks exploring the wildflowers, birds and butterflies. As you're strolling in the woods, think about the grassroots triumph that saved a forest. 9:30 am, noon and 2 pm. Free. rougepark.com.
Saturday, June 30
In praise of tiny helpers
Here's the buzz: bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles are the pollinating saviours of the human food system, but ecosystem destruction is limiting their numbers and ability to do their job. The Pollinators Festival celebrates these little fertilizers with a day of workshops exploring the secret life of bees, the tragedy of habitat loss, honey tastings, arts and crafts and how-to's on creating a pollination-friendly backyard. 8 am-2 pm. Free. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. evergreen.ca.
Saturday, June 16