Things to do in Toronto and Vaughan for Victoria Day

May 19, 2016

Canada is the only country in the world to celebrate Victoria Day, and the ‘May Two-Four’ long weekend is as distinctively Canadian as maple syrup. It’s a time to spend with friends and family and marks the unofficial arrival of summer. So get ready for some fun in the sun with these celebratory events in and around Toronto.

Victoria Day Fireworks Displays

The classic Victoria Day event is Toronto’s fireworks show. Enjoy the first long weekend of the warm season with a spectacular 14 minute display at Ashbridges Bay Park. TTC service will be increased to get the whole family there and back with ease. Woodbine beach provides the most stunning vantage point to take in the brilliant lights with a panoramic view. Folding chairs are a cinch to carry, and a simple spread of snacks and sparkling beverages creates the perfect atmosphere to your evening. Rain or shine, at Ashbridges Bay Park this Monday May 23rd at 9:45 PM, the dazzling display of pyrotechnics will feature over 2,000 fireworks and is guaranteed to have a spectacular finale.

A Day at Canada’s Wonderland

Canada’s Wonderland is the essential destination for the whole family this long weekend. Not only will they host a fireworks extravaganza Sunday at 10 PM that promises a unique design with an original sound track and over 6,000 colourful explosions–but the show includes park admission.  Spend your day enjoying over 200 awesome rides, coasters and attractions. The kids can spend all day being Drop-Zoned until the sky lights up with an action-packed display over Wonder Mountain. At Wonderland there awaits more than just roller coasters–there’s exquisite dining to be had and plenty of shops to peruse. The Park’s resident Chef Dilup is a global culinary King and the Team Captain for world Renowned Trillium Chefs Canada. Indulge in some shopping near the front gate at the ultimate girls shop, featuring all the popular fashion brands–and don’t forget the family’s souvenir ride photo to cherish that thrilling moment!

Jubilee Queen Victoria Day Cruise

Grab your best boating wear and keep things classy with a cruise on the Jubilee Queen. The ship offers a Monday day-time cruise with a lunch buffet that is perfect for the whole family. The day cruise features clear picturesque views of Toronto Islands and the raw natural scenery of Toronto Island Parklands. Boarding starts at 11:30 AM with a noon departure and a 2:30 PM dock time. On Sunday, Jubilee Queen Cruises will offer a sunset dinner cruise with a million-dollar view. There’s no better way to watch the fireworks than on the night-time version of this attraction. The evening runs from 7 to 11 PM and costs $72 per person. Boasting spectacular views of Toronto’s waterfront–being right on the water is the prime locale to take in the firework displays.

Fort York Historic Sites

Visit the birthplace of Toronto and learn a little more about Toronto’s storied past at Fort York. Built in 1813 upon the site of the 1797 original, Historic Fort York was the site of the Battle of York, when American forces invaded what is now Toronto. The family can learn about old-fashioned English country dancing and take guided tours throughout the fort by uniformed guards. Children can participate in exciting soldier’s drills and other-era activities. For parents, get the unique chance to take in demonstrations of 19th-century cooking techniques in one of the city’s oldest kitchens. This year, May 2-4 weekend at Fort York is the perfect place to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday and brush up on your history while you’re at it.

McMicheal Art Gallery & Hike at Kortright Centre

From the iconic Group of Seven painters to contemporary First Nations sculptors, and beyond, The McMichael Art Gallery offers a day of culture for your family’s Victoria Day weekend. Peruse the gallery’s permanent collection of Canadian artists who’ve shaped our country’s artistic landscape. The log and fieldstone gallery features expansive floor to ceiling windows with views of the densely wooded Humber forest–echoing the forest land settings that inspired the famed Group of Seven works. A network of outdoor pathways lead you and your family through the newly installed sculpture garden. Continue on your outdoor explorations among the Kortright Conservation Centre’s beautiful trails. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk for breathtaking views of forest and meadowlands and even catch a lucky glimpse at the local wildlife at one of the many lookout points. Admiring nature’s transforming flora and fauna is the ideal way to celebrate the change of season.  

Victoria Day truly is a unique Canadian tradition as much a part of the Canadian national fibre as Canada Day–and an older celebration. The calendar states that Queen Victoria’s May birthday is in the spring, but for most of us this three-day Victoria Day weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer fun!