Downtown Yonge BIA leads at Scotiabank Buskerfest for Epilepsy

Dianne Weinrib —

The 2015 Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy presented by Scotiabank and in partnership with the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA), returns to Yonge Street from Queen Street to College Street and surrounding areas from Aug. 27-30.Downtown-Yonge-Logo-FI

Last year over 1.5 million spectators enjoyed daredevil stunts, fire manipulations, acrobatics, aerial acts, music, magic, comedy, contortion, dance, balloon creations, mime and some acts that defied description. With an incredible line-up of world-class street artists from around the globe, this year’s BuskerFest promises to be even bigger and better.

Whether it’s trampoline-wall climbing, light-bending, full-body mirror costumes, cupcake juggling, giant roaming dinosaurs, Guinness Record-holding Yo-Yo champions or a magician who stumped Penn & Teller, there is something incredible for everyone to see at Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy.


The festival features MORE THAN BUSKERS, with special services and events, including Busker Soiree and Family Fun Zone.

Thursday, August 13 @ 6:30 p.m. – New this year, Busker Soiree kicks off Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy. Join NBA Basketball star Tristan Thompson for this exclusive soiree in support of Epilepsy Toronto. Designed by Glen Peloso & Jamie Alexander, the event will be held at the exquisite Aperture Room (340 Yonge Street) in the heart of historic Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood, and feature the incomparable cuisine of Oliver & Bonacini, advance performances from the upcoming Toronto International BuskerFest and Canada’s own Queen of R&B, Jully Black.
Thursday, August 27 @ 12 p.m. – The Festival Media Launch features special performances to delight and astound the crowd, beginning at noon at Yonge-Dundas Square. Acts by Alakazam (Australia), the USA Breakdancers (USA), and Witty Look (Japan). Also watch for Saurus sightings, as the giant 18′ creatures from the Netherlands make their first appearance back on Canadian soil.
For the second year in a row, Yonge-Dundas Square will be home to Scotiabank Stage, where each act will do a benefit performance with all proceeds going to Epilepsy Toronto, helping people with epilepsy live better lives. In 2014, BuskerFest raised $250,000 and Epilepsy Toronto is hoping donations exceed that this year. Back this year, there will be two benefit group shows: the Friday Night Fire Show featuring Dream State Circus, Zap Circus, Pyromancer and more, August 28 at 9:30 p.m.; and a Sunday Grand Finale show on August 30 at 7 p.m. (hosted by beatbox phenomenon Scott Jackson), where the winner of this year’s Metro People’s Choice award will be announced.
Sunday, August 30 @ 10 a.m. – Toronto’s first-ever epilepsy walk takes place on the final day of BuskerFest, starting from the parking lot of Epilepsy Toronto, 468 Queen Street East (at Queen and Sackville). Participants will meet as a group to enjoy a pancake breakfast, refreshments, purple face painting, balloon twisting (from BuskerFest balloon artists, the Twisted Ones) and a fun celebration before embarking on Toronto’s inaugural epilepsy walk ending at Yonge-Dundas Square, where Toronto’s premiere rock choir, newchoir (featuring 50-70 singers), will perform on the benefit stage. To donate to Epilepsy Toronto’s Team, click here. To register, e-mail: or call 416.964.9095 with your name, address, phone and email and T-shirt size.
Children can also enjoy the new Family Fun Zone, located on Elm Street. The zone will feature special performances, face painting, balloon-twisting, free workshops in the Scotiabank Tent (including beatboxing with 2nd ranked female beatboxer in the world Sparx and yo-yoing with 4-time Guinness world record holder Yo-Yo Guy), a bouncy castle, climbing wall, a giant Plinko Game and more family fun! Among the fantastic acts are unicycle virtuosos Witty Look (Japan), Toronto’s charming Kiki the Clown and beatboxers Scott Jackson and Sparx, who team up once a day for a special duo performance.
Epilepsy Toronto is working to ensure all visitors enjoy the festival with ease. At the BuskerAccess Tent, located in Yonge-Dundas Square (near the festival Info Tent), visitors with disabilities are provided with assistance such as an escort to one of the accessible stages by accessibility volunteers wearing an identifiable accessibility symbol on their shirts. Non-verbal performances of Dan Marques’ Funnykito Show (Brazil), Lulu’s World (Italy) and Mute (Thailand) will take place daily throughout the festival (all in their North American debuts!). Additionally, on Friday, August 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the benefit performances on the Scotiabank Stage in Yonge-Dundas Square will be accompanied by ASL interpretation.
The Downtown Yonge BIA supports a free bike valet program for key events — including Toronto International BuskerFest for Epilepsy. Guests can drop off their bike, receive a ticket stub and pick it up when they leave. The valet is located on the south side of Dundas Street West, between Yonge Street and Bay Street. Just look for the Downtown Yonge BIA flag and the Cycle Toronto tent.