Two men dressed as medieval knights kneel in front of a woman in a queen costume.

Medieval Times | Destination Toronto

Renaissance faires and medieval attractions in Ontario

Two men dressed as medieval knights kneel in front of a woman in a queen costume.

Medieval Times | Destination Toronto

What is a Renaissance faire

A Renaissance faire, or colloquially known as a Ren fair, Ren fest or Ren faire, is an interactive, outdoor event that recreates a medieval or renaissance era village, celebration or setting.  

Strolling around a Ren faire is like being transported to a lively 11th to 17th century village celebration. Fairgrounds may feature live music, dancing and costumed actors re-enacting historical scenes and outdoor pursuits from the time period, such as jousting, swordplay or archery. Performers will stay in character to keep the experience authentic.

And of course, food vendors, including Ren faire traditional turkey legs, arts, crafts and other experiences also add to the revelry.

Renaissance faire outfits and costumes

Ren faire attendees wear myriad outfits inspired by the history and mythology from the Middle Ages or the Renaissance period. You may find people dressed in robes of King Arthur’s court at Camelot, Nordic Viking attire, Shakespearean couture, pirate slops or even fairy garbs.

You’re not required to wear Ren faire outfits to attend, however most loyal followers enjoy wearing costumes to the faire as it adds immeasurably to the immersive experience.

Ren faires also include marketplaces where artisans and vendors sell their wares. You may even find Renaissance or Medieval outfits to buy or the perfect items to accessorize your faire costume.

Renaissance faires in Ontario

Here is a selection of family-friendly Ren faires and medieval events in Ontario.

Salty Dogs Pirate Festival, Goderich

The waterfront town of Goderich is transformed into a pirate shanty town with pirate-themed adventure and activities like sword fights, treasure hunts, cannons and comedy sure to entertain all ages.

Highlights of the event include toe tapping sea shanties and Irish folk music that will keep you moving. Consider bringing a lawn chair for when you need a rest!

A selection of food trucks, food stands and beverages will be available. Note, this event is licenced.

Dates: September 9-10, 2023

Details: Advance ticket sales are available online

Location: 168 West Street, Goderich

Royal Medieval Faire, Waterloo

Enjoy a day filled with family fun and interactive intrigue during one of Canada’s longest running medieval festivals.

Witness valiant knights in battle in the Kingdom of Mearth. Greet the friendly dragons, enjoy festive music and dancing, engaging storytelling, dramatic swordplay and meet the royal couple, King Bertram and Queen Charlotte for a chance to be knighted.

Food and beverage will also be available for purchase.

Date: September 16, 2023

Details: Tickets are only sold in cash at the gate on the day of the event. General admission is $10 for ages 14 and over and $5 for children under 13.

Location: Waterloo Park West, 100 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo

Oxford Renaissance Festival, outside of London

Ontario’s largest Ren fest delivers a full of historical excitement and entertainment for all.

Learn about siege weapons used to storm castles, such as the trebuchet and cannons and get tips on archery from archers. Sample renaissance-inspired fare and witness awesome birds of prey demonstrations. Be part of the thunderous crowd cheering armoured knights charging on horseback in the jousting competition.

In celebration of Halloween, kids are welcome to attend the Oxford Renaissance Festival dressed in their Halloween costumes and will have opportunities to go trick or treating.

Date: October 13-15, 2023

Details: General admission is $16.50, seniors and students $14.95 or weekend pass for $24.99. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate.
Location: Dorchester Fairgrounds, 4774 Hamilton Road, Dorchester

Robin in the Hood Medieval Festival, Elmira

For two full days in early June, Gibson Park in Elmira becomes the 12th century village of Nottingham, England, made famous by the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men.

While the first day is reserved for a kids’ educational program, the public is invited to attend on the second “festival day” to be entertained by knights, jesters and musicians. Enjoy medieval-themed activities and attractions and learn about house heraldry and support your favourite house, including the Robin Hood from Locksley house.

Peruse vendor stalls in the market for unique and novelty retail items, artisan crafts and products and refreshing food and drinks.

Date: Check back for exact 2024 dates

Details: Tickets will be sold in person at the gate

Location: 17 First Street West, Elmira

Wentworth Medieval Faire, outside of Hamilton

Be part of the world of chivalrous knights, beautiful princesses and lords and ladies of the royal courts.

Keep an eye out for the 2024 entertainment roster, which could include everything from belly dancing and comedy to axe-throwing and jousting.

Date: May 25-26, 2024

Details: check back in 2024 for more ticket and admission information.

Location: Ancaster Fairgrounds, 630 Trinity Road South, Jerseyville

The Fergus Medieval Faire, outside of Guelph

King Richard and his bride welcome you to a one-day medieval celebration in the historic downtown of the village of Fergus.

The event features a variety of exciting all-age entertainment. Live actors will be recreating medieval experiences like archery, axe-throwing and Viking battles. Enjoy strolling musicians, live birds of prey demonstrations by a falconer and arms and armour displays.

Be prepared to encounter knights, wraiths, peddlers, iron welders and a town crier. And be sure to book tickets for the Grand Medieval Feast.

Date: July 27, 2024

Details: Admission is free, cost for the Grand Medieval Feast.
Location: Downtown Fergus

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, Toronto

Although not a Ren Faire, Medieval Times is a long-running medieval-themed dinner theatre attraction in downtown Toronto.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll be transported into a dramatic 11th century journey of combat, defeat and triumph. Knights will compete in a mighty tournament showcasing horse, sword and falcon handling skills as you enjoy a four course meal.

Date: Year-round show

Details: Various ticket options and packages are available

Location: 10 Dufferin Street, Toronto

Tips for attending a Ren faire

Here are a few useful and fun tips to keep in mind before you travel back in time:

Learn the lingo!

In addition to costumes, enjoy using Ren fair vocabulary. Some key phrases are:

Greetings = Good morrow

Goodbye = Fare thee well

See you later = See you anon

Please = Prithee

Thank you = Grammercy

Hurray! = Huzzah!

Dress for the weather and stay hydrated

Costumed or not, you’ll be outdoors and walking most of the day, so make sure to prepare for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.

In addition to credit or debit card, bring cash

In case there are no ATMs at events or merchant vendors, have some cash handy.

Last updated: September 21, 2023

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