Confession: When I first heard about Luminato three years ago, I thought—for a moment—about canceling plans to go a friend’s wedding to attend the first year of the ridiculously ambitious Toronto arts festival. With literally hundreds of artists slated to participate, I was, to put it mildly, giddy over its utopian vision of arts, community, and urban renewal. It felt big and historic, and I wanted to be there in person for the event’s debut.
Luminato 2009 (June 5 - June 14) looks to be just as electrifying, with a dizzying line-up that includes the world’s largest guitar ensemble, the Canadian Tenors, family dance parties, tastings from top Toronto chefs, public art pranksters, and a closing celebration from Canada’s-own Cirque du Soleil . Most events are free to the public.
And there’s good news if you’re inspired to take off last-minute to Luminato: Tickets are still available; over 30 area hotels are offering special festival packages; and airfares to Toronto are still reasonable (under $200 roundtrip from New York City, for example). Or, try flying into Buffalo, an easy 90-minute drive away. (Check VroomVroomVroom for some of the best car rental rates around.)
I don’t have plans this coming weekend. Maybe this is my year to finally experience Luminato for myself?
Adrien Glover is the online deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.