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Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival 2011

The 23rd annual Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival kicks off with concerts at Woodbine Park, July 15-17, 2011. The festivities continue with a street party running July 21-23, 7pm-11pm nightly along Queen Street East (from Woodbine to Beech), and the closing weekend performances at Kew Gardens, July 23-24, 11:30am-6:30pm. Print full schedule! or

Main Festival Stages

Woodbine Park (July 15-17, 2011)

Multiple outdoor stages feature free concerts.  In addition to the “Woodbine Park Main Stage”, the “New Generation” and “Youth”stages celebrate young upcoming musicians that are having an impact on the jazz and contemporary music scene.   Located at the western edge of the Beach community, Woodbine Park is situated at the corner of Northern Dancer Boulevard and Lake Shore Boulevard East (Northern Dancer is between Coxwell and Woodbine Avenues).

TIPS: If you plan to stay a while – bring sun screen and a hat, a big blanket or folding chairs to rest on and/or rain gear.  Because it’s lakeside, it can get cool at night, so bring a sweater or another blanket or just cosy up to your neighbour. You can also grab a seat in their licensed beer garden!  Food kiosks are scattered throughout the site. Woodbine Park is wheelchair accessible.

KEW Gardens (11am-6pm – July 23-24, 2011)

The OLG Main Stage at Kew Gardens stage is the global “listening post”.  Bands that headline this stage come with a story to share.  It’s a unique opportunity to witness up close and personal, jazz musicians who’ve created a special buzz on the international music scene.

TIPS: You can also grab a seat in the licensed beer garden located within viewing distance of the stage!  Kew Gardens park is wheelchair accessible.  There is a viewing area in the vicinity of the stage for people using wheelchairs or scooters.

Latin Square (July 22-24, 2011)

Where Jazz meets Salsa. An irresistible lakeside combination that bridges jazz sounds with Latin flavours from the Caribbean.  Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia.  It’s a feast for the ears and the feet!  Who says you need to travel to the Tropics to find it!  Located south of Kew Gardens stage, at the foot of Lee Avenue next to the Beach Boardwalk across from Leuty Life Guard Station.

Big Band (July 22-24, 2011)

Launching this season and promising to be an extraordinary treat, the Big Band Stage is a celebration of the 1930s, 40s and 50s Golden Era of Big Bands with all of their Hollywood glamour; gritty romance and mesmerizing instrumentation, arrangements and vocals. The Big Band Stage is located adjacent to the Beach Boardwalk directly across from the Latin Square stage.

StreetFest (7pm-11pm – July 21-23)

StreetFest is a Beaches International Jazz Festival signature event showcasing the finest in Big Band, Swing, Dixieland, Smooth, Post-Bop, Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Funk, R&B and Soul sounds that Toronto has to offer.  Upwards of 50 Canadian bands entertain you along a 2 km stretch of Queen Street East, closed for this occasion.  It’s an annual pilgrimage for close to a million folks who come out on the Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday to groove to the music, swing to the sounds and soak in the street scene and ambience.

Remember during Beaches Jazz Festival StreetFest, on the nights of Thursday July 21stFriday July 22nd, and Saturday July 23rd, 2011, Queen Street E. will be closed from Woodbine Ave. to Beech Ave. from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm nightly. The north / south streets of Waverley Ave., Wineva Ave., and Lee Ave. will remain open throughout the evening.

Beaches Jazz continues to be one of the few remaining mostly free jazz festivals and the leading festival for promoting Canadian musical talent. So come on down to The Beach this weekend and enjoy the sights and sounds. Once again, a portion of the proceeds from this year’s festival will be directed to the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation, which is aiming to raise $60 million for the health care centre’s $211 million comprehensive redevelopment.

*Photo of Dr Draw, courtesy Flickr/jbach


Category: Blog & Local Events

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Sandy beaches, the long winding Boardwalk, picturesque parks and the natural beauty of the Beaches have always drawn people to this east-end neighbourhood.

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