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ALL ABOUT THAT JAZZ

Canada’s largest free jazz festival will deliver a spectacular range of rhythms sure to heat up the streets of Toronto’s east end.

Mark your calendars: The mercury is slated to rise in July in The Beaches (also known as “The Beach”), a neighbourhood just 15 minutes east of downtown.
That’s when the Beaches International Jazz Festival will kick off its annual free open-air event, and ignite the dog days of summer with an eclectic offering of jazz and blues. Other musical varieties include funk, big band, Latin and reggae.
In its early days, the festival’s humble mission was to promote local jazz talent, an approach that helped launch the careers of many a Canadian artist. Yet, with the success of each passing year, and an ever-growing and diverse audience, the Beaches Jazz Festival has since seen its lineup expand to include some of the most promising talent across both North America and the world.
Now the BIJF is an internationally recognized jazz festival, and attracts some of the genre’s biggest headliners. Past performers include: Strombone Shorty, Brian Hughes, Jane Bunnett, Jesse Cook, Ingrid Jensan and Molly Johnson, among countless others.
This year, some 100 singers and musicians are expected to grace the BIJF stages, concentrated in Woodbine Park. Several festival-related activities—like StreetFest, Marketplace and the Taste of Jazz—will also occur a block away on Queen Street East, a 3km stretch populated with trendy cafés and outdoor patios, boutique shops and restaurants, as well as a charming, beachside boardwalk.
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the family-friendly festival regularly welcomes some 800,000 spectators over the course of the event.
The Beaches International Jazz Festival will runs throughout much of July. For details and this year’s line-up, visit beachesjazz.com

ARTS & CULTURE