The Ashkenaz Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious showcases of Jewish music and culture anywhere in the world. Since 1995, the festival has taken place biennially at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto’s premier venue for the presentation of world and folk culture and for the meeting of diverse communities through the arts. Originally founded as a showcase for Klezmer and Yiddish music and culture, the Ashkenaz Festival has evolved over the years into an eclectic showcase of global Jewish art and culture, encompassing not merely the traditions of eastern Europe, but also Sephardic, Mizrachi and Israeli culture, and all manner of cross-cultural fusion. The Festival is offered 90% free to the public and attracts a multicultural audience of over 60,000 people. Nowhere else in the world does so large and diverse an audience come together to experience Jewish cultural arts. Though strongly focused on music, Ashkenaz is a multidisciplinary festival, including dance, theatre, film, literature and talk, visual arts, and kids/family programs. Ashkenaz usually features over 80 performances and 200+ individual artists, hailing from across Canada and around the world. Over the years, Ashkenaz has presented artists from over 25 countries and 6 continents.
Harbourfront Centre Parking
Parking revenues help to support public programming and activities at Harbourfront Centre. Each time you park at Harbourfront Centre you are helping to contribute to the success of the many year-round events that you enjoy.
There are TWO easily accessible parking lots:
Lot P2 – 225 Queen’s Quay West (Underground)
Lot P3 (Rees Street Parking) 318 Queen’s Quay West (Street Level)
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts Parking
FREE PARKING in the adjacent lot, with 250 parking spaces available.
Temple Sinai Parking
FREE PARKING in the adjacent lot.
Lula Lounge Parking
There is a Green P parking lot at 9 Bonar Place, a 4-minute walk from Lula, just north of College Street between Sheridan and Dufferin. Metered parking is also available on Dundas Street West.
Harbourfront Centre – 235 Queens Quay West
Due to the Queen’s Quay West revitalization project, please follow these directions to make your trips to and from Harbourfront Centre as easy as possible!
BY CAR: Head south on Lower Simcoe Street from Lakeshore Boulevard.
WALKING: TTC to Union Station, Harbourfront is an 8-minute walk South on York Street.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: TTC to Union Station, take the 509 bus from Union.
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts – 10258 Yonge Street
BY CAR: (From Toronto): DVP north merge into Hwy 404; Exit Major MacKenzie Drive, Exit 31 West on Major MacKenzie Drive until Yonge Street; Yonge Street North 3 traffic lights then turn left on Wright Street.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Take the Yonge Line Subway to Finch Station, exit subway and head to the VISA buses. Take Bus 99 (Heading North to Richmond Hill). Get off at Dunlop Street stop, directly across from the theatre.
Temple Sinai – 210 Wilson Avenue
BY CAR: Take Highway 401 to exit 366 (Bathurst Street), and head 4-5 blocks West on Wilson Avenue.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Take TTC Bus Route #7 (Bathurst) to Wilson, and take TTC Bus ROute #96 (Wilson) Westbound to Clyde Avenue.
Lula Lounge – 1585 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1T9
BY CAR: Along the Gardiner Expressway, take the Jameson exit; go north on Jameson to Queen; turn right (East) ont oQueen and continue to Brock; turn left (North) onto Brock to Dundas; turn right on Dundas.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: TTC 505 Dundas Streetcar West, between Brock aand Sheridan, or 29 bus from Dufferin station south to Dundas, walk 1.5 blocks west.
Rainbow Cinemas, Promenade Mall
Rainbow Cinemas, Promenade Mall – 1 Promenade Circle
BY CAR: The Promenade Mall is located at the intersection of Bathurst Street and Centre Street in Thornhill, Ontario. Take Highway 401 to Exit 366 (Bathurst) and head north to Centre Street.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Take the TTC subway to Finch Station, and take York Region Transit (YRT) routes #77 or #88 to reach the Promenade Terminal.
Free Times Cafe
Free Times Cafe – 301 College Street West
BY CAR: The Free Times Cafe is located two blocks west of Spadina at 320 College Street Westin downtown Toronto.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The the TTC subway to Spadina Station, and the 510 replacement bus/streetcar south to College. Walk two blocks West.
World Cafe – in the heart of the Harbourfront site, the World Cafe includes six food options, including kosher food (Sunday/Monday only):
Additional Snack Vendors on Site: Archie’s Mango, Rico’s Churros, One Love Vegetarian Catering, Sunshine Shakes, Limonana.
Lakeside Local Patio – Lakeside Local Patio (formerly Splash) is a fully-licensed venue that serves up great food with an impeccable view of the lake and the WestJet Stage.
Lavazza Expression – An authentic Italian cafe experience is now located on the east side of the Harbourfront Centre site.
Mi Lindo Ecuador – Latin cuisine
Jerk Vibes – Caribbean cuisine
White Gold Sweets – Indian cuisine
Other food options close to Harbourfront Centre:
In Queen’s Quay Terminal:
* Bar Milano (Italian)
* Edo Japan (Asian /Japanese)
* La Prep (Shakes/Sandwiches)
* Mr. Souvlaki (Greek)
* Pearl Hardbourfont Restaurant (Chinese)
* Tim Horton’s (Coffee/Pastries)
* Watermark Irish Pub (Pub Fare)
Ashkenaz Festival Official Food and Drink Vendors:
*La Loteria (Mexican) http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/
*The Portobello Burger http://www.
You can find a multitude of excellent products for sale in our Ashkenaz Marketplace in the Bill Boyle ArtPort! Vendors featured there include:
* A-Designs Ornament Co. – www.etsy.com/shop/adesignornamentco
* CARP – A New Vision of Aging – www.carp.ca
* Crepes a GoGo/Limonana – www.drinklimonana.com
* Israel’s, the Judaica Centre – www.israelsjudaica.com
* Jews for Judaism – www.jewsforjudaism.ca
*Model Citizen- http://www.modelcitizentoronto.com/
*Purple Hamsa – http://purplehamsa.com/
*Bnei Baruch – http://www.kabbalah.info/
*Sandleman – http://www.sandalman.com/main.html
*Royal Crown College – http://www.royalcrowncollege.com/
Temperatures will vary between 19-27 degrees Celsius throughout the day (Aug.31, 2016), with a humidity factor making it feel more like 25-34 degrees Celsius. Less than 1mm of precipitation is expected in the next 48 hours.
While on-site at Harbourfront, come visit us at The Festival Hub, our information HQ located in the Boulevard Tent! Here, you can meet Festival artists and staff, follow an on-screen live feed of photos, news, social media, and access unique promotions only offered at the Festival!
Officially, unauthorized audio and video recording of Festival artist performances is prohibited. Unofficially, we do encourage you to document your Festival experience in various ways and to share your photos on social media.
We ask you to please be mindful and respectful of performers and other audience members in various venues, in order not to disrupt anyone else’s experience.
Harbourfront is a public venue, so unless your animal is restricted by law, all are welcome. Service animals are always welcome, unless legal restrictions apply.
There is no camping on the Festival site, but there are a multitude of hotels in the downtown Toronto area that can accommodate your needs.
The majority of Ashkenaz Festival events are totally free! This is only possible because of our incredible supporters and Festival patrons, like you. However, there are some special ticketed presentations that require ticket purchase.
The Ashkenaz Festival is a family-friendly community event. Unless the Festival schedule denotes differently, all presentations and shows are appropriate for every member of the family!
Unless it is purchased from a licensed vendor on site and kept within restricted boundaries, alcohol is not permitted.
Absolutely not! The Ashkenaz Festival is proud to reach a wide array of diverse cultures, ethnicities, and peoples. Many of our performers come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and travel all over the world, and many of them aren’t Jewish themselves! Everyone is welcome to enjoy!
Harbourfront Centre, Temple Sinai, and the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts are completely wheelchair accessible. Rainbow Cinemas (Promenade) is fully accessible with assisted listening devices. Lula Lounge is mostly accessible, but a helping hand may be necessary to reach the washroom facility.
In case of an emergency, go to the Harbourfront Centre info and security desks, located at the north end of the Bill Boyle Artport. You can also go to The Festival Hub in the Boulevard Tent and an Ashkenaz staff person will be pleased to assist you.
Lost and Found can be located at the Harbourfront information desk in the Bill Boyle ArtPort, along with general Harbourfront Centre venue information. Ashkenaz-specific help can be found by visiting the Hub all weekend at the Boulevard Tent.
Lawn chairs and other assisted seating devices are permitted! Feel free to bring anything that may assist your experience along with you to Ashkenaz.
The Ashkenaz Featival will take place rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather conditions, depending on the severity, some performances on the outdoor stages (WestJet, Redpath, Ontario Square) might be affected.