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Canada’s leading contemporary outdoor and online art fair

TOAF will take place July 12 – 14, 2024.

Artist FAQs

General

In-Person Fair FAQs

Online Fair FAQs


General

Key Dates – What’s coming up next?

April 4 Jury results + participation/booth payments open
April 17Participation/booth fee payment deadline
April 23Your TOAF Booth Number + Higgins Tent & Equipment Rental Form sent to artists
April 28Artist Spotlight Packages on Sale (first-come, first-serve) 
May 7Booth Camp: Building an Online Presence for TOAF63
May 9Artist Roster Goes Live + Jurors Announced
May 11Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals Tier One Price Deadline
May 11Booth Camp: TOAF63 Nathan Phillips Square Survival Guide
May 27Overnight Artwork Storage will be on sale via email at 12:00 PM
May 31Final day to cancel participation with full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. No refunds given for cancellations received after this date.
May 31Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals Early Bird Price Deadline
June 21Hotel room booking deadline (Book ASAP, available first-come, first-served)
June 19TOAF profile/artwork upload deadline
June 28Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals Regular Price Deadline
July 9FINAL Deadline for Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals
July 12Online Fair Opens – Artwork sales begin on TOAF.ca
July 12 – 1463rd Toronto Outdoor Art Fair at Nathan Phillips Square
July TBCFinal day to update artworks, sales continue online until March 31, 2025

Resources for Artists

Artwork Rules

Can I sell prints, merchandise or reproductions of my work on the TOAF online platform?

No, you can only showcase original works at Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. All works must be hand-made by the artist and general merchandise is not allowed. Read our Reproduction Policy for details and reach out to us directly with any questions. Each artist has signed and agreed to it as part of their participation in the Fair. 

Can I sell work that is different from the work I was juried in for?

They do not have to be the exact same pieces, but artworks sold at TOAF must be consistent (in terms of medium, subject matter and style) with the artworks that the jury accepted you for. The expectation is that you should only be exhibiting works relevant to the category you are applying in (i.e. if your 3D Works application was accepted, you could not sell paintings at the Fair. If you applied in two categories and were only accepted in one, you must only showcase works in the category you were accepted for). 

Can I bring my own signage with me? What other signage rules are there?

  • Be sure to review your booth signage for accuracy. Review the spelling of your name, booth number and city are correct by June 1, 2024
  • Pick up your TOAF booth sign at Artist Registration on Friday morning. Hang it at the front of your booth in the upper left corner.
  • NO studio names are allowed on your TOAF signage, only names of individual artists.
  • Ensure that your Artist Directory profile is your actual name and not your studio name – you can change this by logging in and clicking ‘Update Profile.’
  • TOAF signage must remain up all weekend so the public and volunteers can find you by booth number. DO NOT take it down until Sunday after 5:00 PM. 
  • TOAF signage must be at the front of your booth (not inside or at the back)
  • You can bring additional signage (with your studio name if you wish) but it must be inside of your booth – not at the front with your TOAF signage.
  • Throw your zip ties used to put up your signage in the garbage at the end of the Fair, not on the ground.

Am I allowed to bring and sell artist cards and/or prints in my booth?

Only original works of art are accepted into the Fair, all works must be hand-made by the artist and general merchandise is not allowed. Please review our Reproduction Policy thoroughly, as no exceptions will be made on-site. Each artist has signed and agreed to it as part of participating in the Fair.


In-Person Fair FAQs

Cancellation & Refund Policy

You can cancel your participation before May 31, 2024, and receive a refund of your booth fee, minus a $50 administration fee. You must notify us of your cancellation by email to be eligible for a refund. Cancellations received after May 31, 2024, will not receive a refund under any circumstance.

You acknowledge, understand entirely, and fully agree that TOAF and their site hosts, the City of Toronto/ Nathan Phillips Square affiliates and associates, may need to make changes to the event site footprint with or without notifying you, leading up to, during setup and/or during the live event after you set up. These changes may result in your booth display location being moved to another area of the site. For full terms and conditions, see the Liability and Abandonment Agreement.

What to Expect

What hours am I expected to be at my booth?

The public hours of the Fair are:
Friday July 12, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday July 13, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday July 14, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

You are expected to be on-site and available during these times.

Artists must register (pick up lanyard and signage) at the information hub on Friday morning and be present and fully set up at your booth by 10:00 AM EST on each day of the Fair. Artist sales must end according to the Fair hours. Three consecutive days on the square can be tough. Rope in your friends and family members to help you over the weekend and to give you a chance to take a break.

What happens if it rains?

The Fair takes place rain or shine. Make sure that you keep an eye on the weather forecast and prepare yourself accordingly. For more tips on how to protect your work in case of rain, see the Artist Handbook.

How do I process payments for artwork sales in person?

Cashless transactions are highly encouraged. It is the artists’ responsibility to manage transactions at Nathan Phillips Square. Look into payment processing like Square or Stripe.

Does TOAF take a commission for in-person artwork sales at Nathan Phillips Square?

No, artists processing payments via their own payment processing systems or card readers in-person at Nathan Phillips Square do not have to provide any commission to TOAF. Only artwork listed in your TOAF online profile and sold via the TOAF checkout will have an administrative fee deducted from your payout. 

Tents & Displays

What is included in my booth fee?

Booth fee covers your raw exhibit space (e.g. physical footprint on the square). Tents, display equipment and other supplies are not included unless you are a part of our special programming (OCAD Career Launchers, Community Booths, StreetARToronto etc.) All artists must bring or rent a white 10’x10’ pop up tent for their display area.

I do not own a tent. Can I rent one?

Yes. Every year, our exclusive third-party supplier Higgins Event Rentals, provides discounted rentals for tents and equipment. A basic tent rental package including a 10×10′ tent and furniture ranges from $330 – $415. Price varies by date of purchase. The earlier you rent, the more you will save on rentals. NEW! Renting from Higgins has gone digital! Order your tent and other equipments from here. Learn more from the Higgins online ordering guide

May 31Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals Early Bird Price Deadline
June 28Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals Regular Price Deadline
July 9FINAL Deadline for Higgins Tent & Equipment Rentals

Are tents waterproof?

Pop-up tents are water resistant but not waterproof. Make sure that you bring a protective tarp (preferably white) or heavy plastic sheeting to protect your work and to avoid damage in the event of rain. Pool noodles or hula hoops work great when inserted into the corners of your tent, to keep the roof tight and allow rain to slide right off instead of pooling and causing damage.

What types of displays am I allowed to use?

You are responsible for renting, or bringing your own, 10’x10′ white tent, display fencing, tables, chairs, and rubber weights (25lbs per leg). If you are renting the heavy duty booth fencing (3 sides) you do not need to rent additional weights.

Custom-built displays are not permitted, and they will be removed from the site and no refund will be issued to you. The only exceptions are stand-alone jewellery display cases and sculptors, ceramicists and glass artists using plinth displays. If you are unsure, get approval from the TOAF logistics team by submitting the Weight Approval Form.

Can I bring my own weights?

Only the rubber Higgins Event Rental weights are approved. Any other weights must be approved by the TOAF Logistics Team by submitting the Weight Approval Form no later than June 17th.

Please note that all bring-your-own weights have to be re-approved each year. This includes those that have approved in the past. You must get them approved on a yearly basis as City of Toronto and TOAF rules change frequently. Sandbags, water jugs, cinder blocks, bricks etc. are not permitted under any circumstance.

How do I hang my art? 

If you are renting a tent from Higgins Event Rentals, they rent out 8’ x 2’ black grid panels that are hung in a popup tent, maximum 3 per wall (9 per booth total) for light art such as jewellery, small prints, etc.

For heavy art such as photographs, sculptures, framed pieces, large canvases, etc., we recommend the Booth Fencing which is 6’ high x 10’ long fencing panels that stand in your tent (3 sides for the 2 tent walls and 1 back wall). Please note that Higgins does not provide wire, hooks or clips to hang your art onto the grid walls or booth fencing.

Example of Grid Panels

Example of Booth Fencing

Does my tent have walls? 

When you order a popup tent, it comes complete with 4 side walls. It is the vendor’s responsibility to let Higgins know on Friday morning before the Fair start if you are having difficulty with your walls so we may help you on-site. Important note: If you order BOOTH FENCING, it is the same size as the tent, therefore the tent walls will not zip up, but you can use the Velcro straps on the walls to enclose your booth. Watch the video ‘How to Zip Up Tent Walls Tutorial’. The tent walls may not be zipped up for you if there are poor weather conditions Thursday night or Friday morning. Please allow extra time to set up your tent walls if there is poor weather.

What do I do if I’m missing something at my booth or need to order something on-site additional? 

Higgins will have representatives on Friday morning from vendor load in until Fair start if you are missing something that was ordered, or need to order anything additional. Higgins will have a limited supply of tents, grid walls, booth fencing, tent weights, tables, and chairs which are booked on a first come first serve basis.

Out of Town Artists – Hotel Info

A special block rate is available for artists at the Doubletree by Hilton – located just 3 minutes from Nathan Phillips Square. Address: 108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, (416) 977-5000.

Limited in quantity, first-come, first-served. Prices: $309+ tax per night for a room, starting from July 11 – July 15. Final deadline to take advantage of this pricing is June 21, 2024. 

To book a hotel room, artists can call directly and use the group code “91D” to get the same rates as the ones in the link. Book Online here.

International Artists

We welcome artists from all over the world. If you are applying from outside of Canada, it is your responsibility to get the appropriate paperwork and understand the COVID restrictions to enter Canada to sell your works.

The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair does not provide invitations to artists for Visa applications. All travel, accommodations, shipping and customs expenses are your responsibility. We recommend working with a licensed customs broker to import your work into Canada. International artists are encouraged to apply Exclusively Online. Please do not contact us for letters of invitation.

Insurance

Artists are responsible for securing adequate insurance coverage protecting themselves and all exhibit material from damage, theft and injury for the duration of the show including setup and tear down. For details, review the Liability & Abandonment Agreement. You may choose to reach out to TOAF’s trusted insurance provider for a quote and coverage:

Jeffrey Minicucci, Unity Insurance
416.781.5638, [email protected]

Parking & Load In

Is there parking at Nathan Phillips Square?

Vehicles are not allowed on Nathan Phillips Square. There will be laybys available on Bay Street and Queens Street for artwork drop off only, not parking.

Unattended vehicles will be ticketed by a parking control officer onsite. Volunteers will be available to watch your artworks while you go and park your car.

TOAF arranges a 4-day parking pass with in and out privileges for the Nathan Phillips Square underground Green P parking (2024 rate $54 inclusive of taxes). 

If you plan on parking at Nathan Phillips Square for the duration of the event, submit your payment here to get your parking pass. Passes are first-come, first-served. The maximum height of this parking lot is 6’2″. If your vehicle is taller than this, you will need to find alternative oversize parking. 

You can pick up your Parking Pass at Nathan Phillips Square on the evening of Thursday, July 11, or the morning of Friday, July 12.


Check out the Nathan Phillip Square Parking Map here. Find the important reminder and the pick-up and instruction details (coming soon).

Oversize Parking (6’2″ and up)

NameAddressCostWalking Distance to Nathan Phillips Square
IMPARK Parking63 Centre Ave., 416-369-1801$30 max (6 AM – 6 PM)6 minutes
Toronto Bus Terminal130 Elizabeth St.$3.5 (30 Minutes)5 minutes

Security

Is there security on Nathan Phillips Square?

Nathan Phillips Square is a public square open 24 hours a day. We hire roaming overnight security guards as well as roaming guards and Paid Duty Officers during the day, but they cannot, and will not secure the area. Because of this, it is mandatory to remove all art and valuables from your tent each night or purchase overnight storage. In case of security concern please call City Hall security at (416) 392-7149, and then report incidents to TOAF staff at the Information Booth. In case of an emergency, call 911.

Can I leave my work in my tent overnight?

NO. As a rule, do not leave your work, any valuables or loose objects in your tent overnight. Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and the City of Toronto are not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items during the Fair. We are not responsible for securing your work left overnight. Overnight storage is for artwork only, not supplies and furniture. Overnight Artwork Storage will be on sale via email in May. Limited availability and first-come, first-served.

Can I leave my plinths and/or display cases in my tent overnight?

You can leave plinths or displays set-up in your tent overnight at your own risk, but we highly recommend that you secure them in your tent space to prevent theft or damage. Display cases that contain small easily transported items, such as jewelry, and tools should be emptied. For more helpful advice see our Artist Resources page and attend Booth Camp.


Online Fair FAQs

Artwork Upload

How can I get started for the online Fair?

  1. Read the Terms & Conditions and Reproduction Policy page carefully. Make sure you understand the rules
  2. Watch the video tutorial or read the instructions on how to update your profile and gallery of artworks
  3. Attend the Booth Camps
  4. Join the TOAF Facebook group
  5. Review the Artist Resources webpage
  6. Make sure your TOAF profile and online gallery are ready by mid-June (the artworks will not be available for sale until the online Fair is live on July 12th)
  7. Artworks can only be sold via TOAF check out, you do not need to create your own Plooto or Shopify account

When does my online profile need to be ready?

Your artwork gallery needs to be ready by mid-June.

The sooner your artworks are ready, the better. There are many eyes on the website way before the event. As soon as we announce the artist roster on May 9th, we have thousands of visitors coming to the website to build their wish lists and browse who they would like to purchase from. The more ready your profile and selection of artwork are, the better your exposure and chance of sales will be. We also have curators who will be building curated collections that will be featured in the TOAF Newsletter and on social media – if your artworks are uploaded and ready, they will be able to choose from those artworks.

What is Alt-Text? How do I write good alt-text?

Alternative (Alt) Text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. It can be useful to people with certain visual, sensory processing and/or learning disabilities. It won’t appear on your artist gallery page, but it is read aloud to users using screen reader software. It also displays in place of the image in browsers if the image file hasn’t loaded, or when the user has chosen not to view images.

The best format for alt text provides a basic visual description of the image. If you can close your eyes, have someone read the alt-text to you, and imagine a reasonably accurate version of the image, you’re on the right track. More tips on how to write a good alt-text here. Maximum 125 characters.

What is an artwork tag and how do I use them?

Artwork tags apply subject matters that relate to your artwork in the artwork search menu, making it easier for buyers to find your artwork. Don’t tag your artworks with subjects that aren’t relevant to that particular piece. Your tags should focus on the main subject matter and concept of the artwork only.

Subject Definitions

Still Life: a painting, drawing or photography of a deliberate styled arrangement of objects, typically including fruit and flowers and objects contrasting with these in texture, such as bowls and glassware.

Canadian: Depictions of scenes, landscapes, cityscapes or objects originating from the geographical area of contemporary Canada.

Toronto: The artwork visually represents Toronto, (cityscapes, landscapes icons etc.)

How many artworks can I put in my gallery for sale?

You can have only 10 artworks for sale at a time. If one is sold, it can be replaced with a new artwork during the 8 days of the Fair only (online only artists). Do not upload more than 10 artworks at a time. Only 10 artworks will be published for sale at one time regardless, so having more pieces uploaded that are unavailable is confusing to the buyer who may wish to purchase the work but can’t. Delete any extra pieces ASAP or TOAF will delete and publish pieces at our discretion.

Does my work have to be for sale or can I show pieces that have already been sold for reference?

It is not mandatory to put your artwork for sale on the TOAF platform. You are welcome to show samples of works that have been sold as long as you mark them as ‘not for sale’ when uploading to prevent visitors from buying them. You can instead use this as an opportunity to connect with collectors for commissions. Artworks that are listed as ‘not for sale’ will still count towards your total of 10 pieces.

I am a photographer. Can my work be available to print on demand?

Yes. You can offer print on demand if you’d like to. Just make sure it is clearly written in the artwork description that it is printed on demand, and the approximate timeline for the delivery/creation of the work. You should also note the size that it will be printed in relation to the price of the artwork you have put.

Can I change the order that the artworks are listed in?

Yes, NEW this year, you can change the order that the artworks are listed in, starting from 0, 1, 2, 3…Order 0 will become your thumbnail in the artist directory.

Can I upload more than one image of each artwork?

Yes. In addition to a great documentary-style photo of your work, you can offer multiple views of your work, a zoomed in or close-up photo of detail or texture you’d like to emphasize, as well as a picture of the work in context. Here are some suggestions of wall art visualizer apps that can help you provide a better sense of your artwork look on the wall. (See the Top 10 Wall Art Visualizer Apps list). All pictures should be of the same artwork. Do not showcase multiple artworks in one artwork listing.

If I have more than 1 piece that is the same, do I need to upload it separately?

Yes, you need to upload it separately. If you have a limited edition of an artwork to sell, once it sells, it will be marked as ‘sold’ and unavailable to purchase. You will need to upload a new piece with the same image and description and change the number of editions to the remainder. 

Do I have to delete pieces once they have sold?

No, once a piece has sold on the TOAF platform, it will be marked as ‘sold’ automatically and you do not need to delete it. You can upload a new artwork right away during the 8 days Fair, but allow TOAF 24 hours to publish the artwork for sale and make the buy button active. If you have listed the same artwork for sale somewhere else, you will need to update your TOAF artworks manually to avoid double purchases.

Does my work have to be hang-ready/framed for the Online Fair?

Preferably yes. Whether the work is framed or not, make sure to include this information in the artwork description so the buyer is aware of exactly what they are purchasing.

Taxes

Will additional taxes be charged on top of the artwork price at check out?

No, TOAF does not collect taxes on artworks at check out. We will only charge the amount you indicated when uploading the artwork. If you need taxes to be collected, include that in the price of the artwork when uploading the piece. You must complete the Mandatory Tax & Banking Info form in a timely manner. TOAF does not take responsibility for issuing late payments if you have not provided the correct information required for payout.

Artist Payout

Read the terms.

How does the payment transaction process work?

You do not need to create your own Shopify store. When a buyer purchases an artwork, the money will be transferred to the TOAF account. Your profit of sales (minus 15% commission) will be paid to you by TOAF’s secure payment processing system called Plooto. Cheques for international artists will be made out to the legal name and mailed to the address listed in your TOAF profile. It is your responsibility to ensure that your legal name, banking email and mailing address is up-to-date in the Banking/Tax Form. If you need special assistance with the payout, please email us. After the Fair, artwork sales payouts will only be processed once per month.

TOAF uses a software called Plooto to assist with artist payouts and make the e-transfers more secure. You do not need to sign up for an account on Plooto. In order to receive the payment via e-transfer you input your banking information once, and then all future payments from TOAF only require the security question moving forward. It functions like an Electronic Money Transfer straight to your bank account and allows us to track the transaction from start to finish and track any issues that may come up more quickly.

What if the buyer wants to refund? Can artwork be refunded?

Read the Terms & Conditions.

Can I ask for a detailed payout breakdown?

Yes, detailed payout breakdowns can be issued upon request after the Fair. Email us at [email protected] to request a detailed payout breakdown.

Still have questions?

As always don’t hesitate to reach out to Leah with any questions!

Email [email protected] or call 416.408.2754 (texts welcome).

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