About

Canada's leading contemporary outdoor art fair has been happening every second weekend in July since 1961, rain or shine, in the heart of downtown Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square.

Over 360 emerging and established contemporary visual artists and makers, working in an array of disciplines, come together to showcase and sell their work directly to the public. The artist is always present at Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

130,000 art lovers and collectors flock to Toronto every year to discover new works and new talents for free in a vibrant and welcoming environment. Collectively our visitors spend over 2 million dollars* on buying art, contributing to the economic prosperity of our participating artists and the cultural vibrancy of our city. Learn more about our mission and our transformative work in our Impact Report (2018).

We are known for hosting many nationally and internationally acclaimed Canadian artists under our iconic white tents at the early years of their careers including, Barbara Astman, David Blackwood, Edward Burtynsky, Ken Danby, Rob Gonsalves, Harlan House, Joanne Tod, and Jennifer Stead to name a few. Hear what artists say about us.

We are inclusive, accessible and radically welcoming to all artists and art enthusiasts.

Together with our committed and generous community of donors, we celebrate artistic excellence and our artists’ entrepreneurial spirit by presenting $40,000 cash and in-kind awards, an unprecedented and unique awards program in North American art fairs.

Learn more about TOAF's Free Public Programs:

Art Talks and Tours

In collaboration with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and other programming partners, TOAF creates compelling, dynamic and engaging art talks and tours that offer insights into artists' works, art collecting and contemporary art topics.

Family Fun

We engage young art lovers and their families in high quality art-making activities and discussions through Power Kids workshops, a young art collectors program and fun art talks just for kids.

Installations and Nested Exhibitions

Since 2011, TOAF has showcased contemporary installations, and site-specific work by acclaimed local artists. We select works that are exciting, dynamic and well-crafted to encourage the public’s engagement with an expanded vision of contemporary art.



Performances

In addition to providing hundreds of contemporary visual artists and makers a space to showcase their works and wares, TOAF also presents free site-specific dance pieces (or appropriated existing performances) for the cascading stage at Nathan Phillips Square. By offering these performances and tapping into the dance and music communities, TOAF audiences are able to expand their experiences of contemporary art.

Student Zone

We nurture the next generation of artists through partnerships with leading art schools and programs in the city such as OCAD U Career Launchers Program, Sheridan College, and the University of Toronto Scarborough. Our buzz-worthy Student Zone is a cultural treasure in the city with a loyal following and has sparked the discovery of fresh talents in thousands of art lovers since our inception. 

Art Encounters

At Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, we have established a rich tradition of launching successful careers and providing a highly accessible venue for artists and the public to meet face-to-face. For the past 58 years, we have aimed to remove barriers to the arts from the perspective of cost, approachability and by welcoming diverse artists and audiences.

“What I appreciated most about TOAF was the workshop that happened before the start of the Fair. The organizers really made an effort to help teach new artists how to present their work in their booths and gave really helpful marketing tips... The people who participate in running this Fair seem genuinely passionate about it, and that made the whole experience so positive. The Fair also connected me with other artists and with supportive people who helped launch my career as a professional artist.”

- Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart

We offer professional development opportunities to our artists to contribute to their business skills. And, we deepen the joy of engaging with arts for our visitors through our diverse educational programs, featured exhibitions, young collectors initiatives, children’s art workshops, installations, performances, arts tours and talks.

We believe art, our innate human expression, should be un-walled, accessible and inclusive.
We believe artistic excellence should be nurtured and rewarded.
We believe investing in the creative economy of the city is part of our civic responsibility.
We believe investing in art is investing in one’s quality of everyday life.

The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair is a charitable nonprofit organization.

Download our 2019 Annual Report