Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

You’ve gotta check out the largest vegetarian food festival in North America!

The 29th Annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada over a three-day weekend from Friday to Sunday. I’ve been twice in the past, but this was Justin’s first time attending this huge festival celebrating all things vegan and vegetarian.

It is the largest festival of its kind in all of North America, and we are very lucky to have it right in our own backyard. Justin and I took the Go Train from Port Credit to Union Station in Toronto, and from there we walked for about ten minutes down to Harbourfront Centre by the lake to the festival grounds.

Want to travel more?

Need more travel in your life? In this special free bonus content, we reveal our top tips and personal advice to living a life of travel.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Well, first of all, it is a food fair. That means being surrounded by delicious food everywhere, and everything is vegan!

There are many vendors specializing in local and international cuisine. There’s a giant marketplace filled with representatives of businesses that wanted us to try out their products. Lucky for us, there are tons of free samples. Bring your appetite.

Next, the festival also includes cooking demonstrations, speakers, music, and much more.

And best of all…it’s free!

Everyone is welcome to come out and explore the wonderful world of vegan cuisine. It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world – in 2012, an estimated 40,000 people showed up for the event. It’s very excited to witness so many people interested in the vegan lifestyle.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

We enjoyed a delicious lunch from the restaurant pavilion. There were plenty of tables that had a fantastic view of the lake. As it was a bit too hot in that area from the sun, we chose a shady spot on the hill with the opportunity to hear a collective of drummers performing at the central gazebo.

Justin chose a tempeh bowl from one vendor, and I got a burrito from the Hot Beans stand. Both meals were outstanding.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

VISITING THE VENDORS

Now, there aren’t really any pictures of the marketplace with all of the vendors. That’s because we were way too busy exploring all of the stands and eating all of the tasty free samples. Blogger fail, but stomach win.

I’ll show you some pictures of our haul at the end of this blog post, taken when we got back home.

There were many local bakeries offering yummy vegan baked goods of all kinds, so we loaded up on those. I brought a cooler bag with an ice pack inside, as well as some reusable bags. These came in super handy as some of the things we bought could potentially melt on the way home. Some vendors are kind enough to hold the refrigerated items for you until you’re ready to go home.

There were tables that had lots of pamphlets and information about various animal rights causes and animal sanctuaries. We gathered up a ton of papers and information about all of these charities and causes, and signed a whole bunch of petitions while we were there.

ON THE STAGE

Next, at the main stage, we went to see the amazing Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary speak. He is so inspirational. Gene also did a Q&A session at the end, and he’s a very approachable ambassador for the animals.

He is definitely one of my idols as he has devoted his life to the animals. Gene works towards gaining more humane conditions in factory farms, and spreads the word about the benefits of going vegan to as many people as possible. It is always an absolutely pleasure to hear Gene speak about animals and Farm Sanctuary.

There were also some awards presented by the Toronto Vegetarian Association to the amazing Jo-Anne McArthur for the film, Ghosts in Our Machine and her photography project, We Animals. I highly recommend that you check out her work and the movie. Jo-Anne’s photography brings awareness to the cruel conditions in which many captive animals live, as well as the beautiful places they could potentially live (such as Farm Sanctuary).

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

COOKING DEMOS

After seeing Gene Baur, we went to a cooking demonstration by Roberto Martin, who happens to be Ellen DeGeneres’ personal chef. He was featured on Ellen’s show in the past, and I already owned his cookbook, Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.

Roberto cooked in front of a jam-packed room full of people and created a red beans and rice dish from his cookbook. Everyone got to try a sample of the dish after he was finished making it. Roberto was super funny and entertaining, and we could tell he’s a super nice guy. After his presentation, he chatted with everyone and did a book signing. I brought my cookbook with me and he signed it for us.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

BREAKING WORLD RECORDS

Then, we zipped across the property to a presentation already underway: to see vegan strongman, Patrik Baboumian, break a world record!

Using purely plant-based power, he lifted over 1200 pounds across a stage to show everyone that the strongest man in the world can survive perfectly fine eating plants – no meat or dairy for this guy! He broke the world record and the energy from the audience was incredible. It was really special to be able to witness this event in person.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

OUR HAUL

We walked back to the train station with so many bags of tasty treats, and armed with lots of info about various animal causes. Here’s our haul.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

FEATURED TREATS & MERCH:

  • Baked foods from Tori’s Bakeshop, Sweets from the Earth, Bloomer’s Bakery, Bunner’s Bakery, New Moon Kitchen cookies, pie and marshmallows from Apiecalypse Now
  • Roasted soy bean snacks from the Bean Ladies
  • Peanut butter chocolate bars by Cocoa Camino
  • Peanut butter from Peanut Butter Co
  • Mango shea moisturizer from Eli’s Body Shop
  • A cat shirt from Toronto Cat Rescue

[mapsmarker marker=”41″]

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival | The largest vegetarian food festival in North America | Vegan Food Fest | Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PIN this image to your Pinterest board for future reference.

You might also like:

Have you ever been to a vegetarian or vegan food festival?

3 Responses

  1. vegan miam
    | Reply

    What a fun vegetarian food festival and the weather looked lovely with the view of the lake! I’ve seen a few posts about it last month and we would love to go there someday! The only vegetarian food festival we went to was in Phuket, Thailand, and it lasted 10 days. The baked goods look so good…..yummmmmmm!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It’s funny, we were originally going to go to the festival on the Saturday, but at the last minute, Justin got called into work. But then it ended up raining on the Saturday! So, Sunday ended up being a way better day for it, and we did get to see the awesome speakers and cooking demos on Sunday as well! There were lots of great events going on all weekend so it would have been fun to go all weekend long!

  2. […] you can sample all sorts of tasty morsels. If you haven’t already, you can read all about our visit to the 2013 Toronto Veg Food Fest which I wrote about last year. This year, Justin unfortunately could not attend the festival, so I […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.