The biggest city in Canada, Toronto is also a hub of cultural activities. This is a cosmopolitan city (almost half the city’s population were born outside Canada), and its days are filled with music, performance and fun.
Toronto has a slew of cultural events lined up every month and some of these are renowned the world over. The Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival is one such event which draws tourists from around the globe. This is an annual festival held in June and July at indoor venues.
The first edition of this festival dates back to 1987. Over the years historic artists like Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and John McLaughlin have all played here. More recently, the 21st Century has seen Madeline Peroux, Susan Tedeschi and Tony Bennet all take the stage.
One of the best things about the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival is its atmosphere, which is both informed and welcoming; connoisseurs and newcomers to jazz will both feel at home here, and both mingle with sociable ease as the Festival induces in everyone a happy state of relaxed openness.
Around the same time as the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, many other colorful festivals and celebrations take place in the city. These include the Fete de la Musique, the Beaches International Jazz Festival, the Caribana, the celebrations during the Pride Week, and the famous theatre festival – the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Such a slew of festivals inevitably attracts quite a large number of tourists to the city around the months of June and July. Luckily for the attending backpacker, finding accommodation is not a problem (this may be the most expensive city in Canada, but there is no dearth of budget hostels in Toronto).
The Canadiana Backpackers Inn is located conveniently at the heart of the entertainment center of Toronto. A welcoming and fun-packed place, it passes every night with a specially prepared event, which makes it home to a mini-festival in its own right. The free pancake breakfast on offer soaks up any extravagant indulgence.
City Guesthouse II is among those Toronto hostels that are located in downtown Toronto. Guests here are offered free internet connection, and are allowed to make local calls without any extra charge.
The New Horizons Boutique Hostel, meanwhile, remains a sure-fire success with backpackers. This eminently hip boutique hostel features a well stocked library, and also provides free internet access to those who stay. Another truly unique feature of this hostel is that the guests can attend church services.
For those who really like to let their hair down, Global Village Backpackers is a good bet. Located in the downtown Toronto area (and so close to the Jazz Festival action), its facilities include a backpacker’s bar known simply as The Village Pub.