Standing in the middle of the busy street, music is playing loud with people talking louder. You deliberate over the hand written signs, listen to the sizzle and smell the meat spinning over the flaming coals. The BBQ smells delicious. There are people everywhere you turn; kids tugging at their parents to give them money, courting couples sharing the smorgasbord that is available and youths hustling one another at the basketball nets. Your senses are attacked from all angles.
Welcome to the Taste of the Danforth.
The Taste of the Danforth is an annual food festival that runs from August 7-9 on the Danforth area, a popular Greek community in Downtown Toronto. After immediate success from its inception in 1993, this year marked the 22nd anniversary and was bigger and better than ever. Being familiar with the area but having never been to the festival, Vincent Croos and I went along with our cameras and an empty belly to check it out.
The festival sees Danforth Avenue filled with stalls, family themed events and lots of people (1.6 million were anticipated this year). The shops extend and have BBQ’s out front, licenses are obtained and there are enclosed bars in the middle of the street. There is also huge support from Toronto’s sports teams: the Leafs, the Raptors, Argo’s and TFC all have stands offering something fun for adults and kids alike. Multiple stages are set up offering live performances, and buskers can be found in between.
All the storeowners take the opportunity to sell their wares, but it is the restaurants and food stalls that benefit the most, people come to the festival for the food, after all it is called The Taste of the Danforth. The food on offer is predominantly Greek, however there are samples from all over the world.
After a lot of deliberation, Vincent and I chose The Friendly Greek as our stand of choice. The line up was medium size and the food looked tasty at a reasonable price. It was a good choice and gave us our taste of the Danforth. As the night drew in, the music seemed to get louder, the crowd got bigger and the buzz grew. The aroma from all the different foods being prepared on BBQ’s and hot plates is awesome. Being able to see everything being cooked gives a visual treat, and the prices are all quite reasonable too.
Go to The Taste of the Danforth hungry, and patient. It does get very busy but all the food on offer is worth the wait. There are lots of entertainment and plenty of free samples too. This festival has character. The people, the tastes, smells and sounds. It is a great environment to experience.
It is a very busy festival, I would recommend going on the Friday night, as it seems to be a bit quieter, it is still very busy.
Did you go to The Taste of the Danforth festival? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments box below 🙂
Vincent and I are often on adventures, you can follow us here
And remember to follow my journey 🙂