A Taste of Scotiabank Buskerfest 2014


Street performances take over downtown Yonge Street at the Scotiabank Buskerfest supporting EPILEPSY Toronto

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer for Toronto, at least in terms of theatre festivals. With the Toronto Fringe Festival, Luminato and Summerworks just to name a few, there have been a lot of live performances bringing the city to life.

Unlike the other festivals, however, Scotiabank Buskerfest brings the performances to the streets of the city, namely Yonge Street between Carlton and Queen, between August 21st (today) and August 24th (Sunday). That’s right – Yonge Street, normally home to thousands of hurried urbanites, will instead be filled with live street performances for the next four days. It’s the biggest festival of its kind in North America, and the entire event is being held in support of EPILEPSY Toronto.

Even if you aren’t familiar with busking (I was a busking virgin before today, I’ll admit!), it’s definitely worth giving Scotiabank Buskerfest a visit or three. With talented performers from Toronto and all over the world, the streets are full of theatre, and you never know what you’ll witness!

Just in my first visit today, I stumbled across:


Dawn Dreams, a gold-painted woman with a crystal ball, and an impressive ability to manipulate and manoeuvre it through the air as part of her street performances.

Les Vitaminés, a pair of comedic acrobats from Quebec whose show includes a variety of forms of physical comedy, which were a big hit with both the kids and the adults in the crowd.

Lorenzo Gianmario Galli, a veritable one-man band, who was playing at least five or six instruments in addition to singing — really well, I might add, and with great energy and humility.

The Chalk Chick, who draws extremely elaborate and intricate works of art on the sidewalk with nothing more than chalk.

Max T. Oz, a magician and sleight-of-hand specialist who’s been part of the festival for over 14 years.

And finally, a fire/torch performer whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch – but he’s located just north of Queen, and went on with his show during a really strong downpour, which I thought was really awesome. If you’re in the area, go check him out.

It’s worth noting that the performers do not follow a specific performance schedule – it’s your job to choose your own path, so to speak, and to see what’s playing as you make your way through the festival. With so many interesting acts around, you’re sure to find something fun at Buskerfest!


Thursday, August 21st 2014 – 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday, August 22nd 2014 – 12:00 pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, August 23rd 2014 – 11:00 am – 11:00pm
Sunday, August 24th 2014 – 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

  • Entrance is free. Voluntary donations to EPILEPSY Toronto will be accepted at the main entrances to the festival. As buskers are paid by passing a hat around following their performances, you may wish to bring cash or change for that purpose.

Photos were provided by Scotiabank Buskerfest