After two years of mostly virtual celebrations to mark Canada Day, in-person festivities are back across the Greater Toronto Area.
From fireworks to parades and concerts, there should be plenty of options for those looking to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday.
And if you are headed to the cottage for the long weekend you can look forward to some of the lowest gas prices since May.
Here is what you need to know.
It is going to be scorcher with Environment Canada forecasting a daytime high of 30 C, though the humidex will make it feel like 35. The weather agency says that Toronto should get a mix of sun and cloud for most of Canada Day; ; however there is a 60 per cent chance of thunderstorms in the evening. it is unclear if this will have an impact on the Canada Day fireworks.
What is open and closed?
Most tourist attractions will be open, as will several shopping malls, including the Eaton Centre. But the St. Lawrence Market will be closed, along with the vast majority of grocery stores. Here is the full list.
There will be several road closures in effect to accomodate Canada Day events, including a portion of Yonge Street near Mel Lastman Square. Cosburn Avenue will also be blocked from Greenwood to Woodbine avenues from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday due to the East York Canada Day parade. Here is the full list of closures.
There are dozens of fireworks displays planned across the GTA. In Toronto, the always-popular fireworks at Ashbridges Bay Park, near Woodbine Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard, will be set off starting at 10 p.m. Friday. The city has also organized fireworks displays for North York’s Downsview Park and Mel Lastman Square. Fireworks at Stan Wadlow Park have been rescheduled to Saturday, July 2 and fireworks at Milliken Park have been cancelled. All fireworks displays start at 10 p.m.
Meanwhile, police are promising to have extra resources in place leading up to fireworks displays across the city, as they seek to avoid a repeat of the violence that unfolded at Woodbine Beach over the Victoria Day long weekend.
The city will also have a number of cameras set up at parks and additional bylaw enforcement officers on hand.
“I can tell you that the police have learned from those kinds of experiences,” Mayor John Tory said of the Victoria Day weekend violence during an interview with CP24 this week. “They will operationalize their own plan to make sure people are kept safe. I think certainly the chief has my full support in making sure that anybody who's engaged in that kind of act is brought to justice and dealt with because it is just not something that is acceptable in a city like this or anywhere.”
East York’s annual Canada Day parade will begin at Dieppe Park at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, before moving east along Cosburn Avenue to Woodbine Avenue before ending at Stan Wadlow Park. The celebration will then continue at the park from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., culminating with a fireworks display.
The city’s main Canada Day celebrations are planned for both Mel Lastman Square in North York and Thompson Memorial Park in Scarborough. The festivities at Mel Lastman Square run from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. and will include live music, dance performances, family-friendly activities and food vendors. The celebration at Thomson Memorial Park runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and activities include a pancake breakfast, a sound stage with a DJ, bouncy castles and face painting. Here are all the details.
Free things to do
Fort York Historic Site and Scarborough Museum will be open on Canada Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free following the city’s decision to switch to an admission free model for all 10 of its history museums in May.
Riverdale Farm will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the High Park Zoo will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Roads within High Park will be closed to vehicular traffic throughout the Canada Day long weekend.
The city’s StrollTO program offers free self-guided walking itineraries in more than 140 neighbourhoods across the city. The city says that each itinerary will highlight points of interest that are “culturally and historically significant with a spotlight on Indigenous placemaking and equity-deserving groups.” The itineraries can be accessed through this link.
All 55 of the city’s outdoor swimming pools officially began their summer schedule on Thursday and will be in operation on Canada Day. Lifeguard supervision will also be available at the city’s beaches from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The TTC will be operating on a holiday schedule for Canada Day while GO Transit will be adhering to its Saturday schedule. The TTC will, however, be increasing service on the 22 Coxwell, 92 Woodbine South and 501 Queen routes to accommodate those travelling to and from Ashbridges Bay Park for the Canada Day fireworks display. On Friday morning commuters in the east end should know that the 70 O’Connor, 87 Cosburn, 91 Woodbine and 93 Parkview Hills buses will be diverting between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the East York Canada Day parade.
Toronto Public Health will be holding several pop-up vaccine clinics on Canada Day for those not fully up to date with their vaccinations.
The locations are as follows:
- High Park Canada Day Festival, 1873 Bloor St. W. (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- East York Canada Day Festival at Stan Wadlow Park, 373 Cedarvale Ave. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Canada Day Celebrations at Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St. (2 p.m. to 7 p.m.)