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Hooray for Victoria Day long weekend: what you need to know

CityNews | posted Friday, May 20th, 2016

Cottages are being reopened, the BBQ is being fired up, the backyard swimming pool is getting cleaned out, and planting season takes sprout. Everyone, do your happy dance: Victoria Day, unofficially the first long weekend of summer, is finally upon us.

We have Queen Victoria to thank for the May long weekend, also known as May two-four, as Monday is the day Canada’s honours the late queen’s birthday. The federal statutory holiday is celebrated on the last Monday before May 25. In Canada, it is officially recognized as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, even though she was born in April.

 While some people will be heading to the cottage or another getaway, others will be celebrating the long weekend in town with a barbecue or enjoying the sunshine at an outdoor event. Below is a list of some events to check out. Click here for city-run events.

The weather is expected to be stunning this long weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 20s – perfect for firework shows on Saturday and Sunday.

As always, as you make your plans, consult the list below of what’s open and closed.


What better way to celebrate the long weekend than by watching fireworks at Canada’s Wonderland and at Ashbridges Bay.

The light show at Wonderland starts around 10 p.m. on Sunday, dazzling over Wonder Mountain as music soars in the background. The fireworks show at Ashbridges Bay Park is on Monday, kicking off at 9:45 p.m.


What’s open/closed


  • TTC will run on a holiday schedule
  • GO Transit will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: ROM, CN Tower, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
  • Most malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), The Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills Mall (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Yorkville Village (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Curbside garbage collection is not collected on any Monday, but transfer station drop-off depots will be closed


  • LCBO stores are closed on Monday, but many cottage-area locations may remain open later on Friday and Saturday. Click here to check individual store hours.
  • Beer Store locations will also be closed on Monday butsome stores will open later on Sunday
  • Government offices, municipal buildings, and banks
  • Libraries are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery
  • Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Transit info and road closures

Transit info
GO train service will be reduced on the Lakeshore East and West lines from every 30 minutes to an hour this weekend due to track and station work.

On the west line, some trains will also be cancelled between Aldershot and Oakville, while on the east line, some trains that depart Union and Oshawa trains will be cancelled.

Road work
Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is being reduced to one lane in either direction for watermain replacement and and reconstruction work. The construction is expected to last until Oct. 8.


Artfest at the Distillery
Some of Canada’s top artists will be displaying their wares this weekend, in the picturesque setting of the Distillery District.

The Spring Art and Craft Show is taking place from Saturday through Victoria Day on Monday with paintings, photography, and sculpture available for purchase. For those just browsing, there will be live music and admission is free.

Beasley Bear’s Teddy Bear Picnic
On Toronto Island, a family event, with Beasley the Bear hosting his annual Teddy Bear Picnic at Centreville Theme Park.

Bears featured on a ride at Centreville Theme Park. Photo via facebook.com/CentrevilleThemePark.
Bears featured on a ride at Centreville Theme Park. Photo via facebook.com/CentrevilleThemePark.

Admission is free, with live music, face painting, magic shows, petting zoo and a craft station. Click here to plan your trip.

Rib Fest & BBQ Bash
Meat lovers will be congregating at Yonge-Dundas Square on Friday and Saturday.

Rib Fest and BBQ Bash takes over the space, featuring the best rib teams in Canada grilling up a storm. It’s the first annual event, being held during ‘BBQ Month’ – which happens to be May. Admission is free, but there’s a cost for food, so bring your wallet along with your appetite.

World Fiddle Day
Fort York will be filled with fiddlers on Saturday to mark World Fiddle Day.

A musician holding a fiddle. Photo via Facebook.com/worldfiddledaytoronto.
A musician holding a fiddle. Photo via Facebook.com/worldfiddledaytoronto.

Free concerts start at 12:30 p.m. with some of the country’s most talented musicians. Then at 2:30 p.m. there will be a fiddle jam featuring tunes from all over the world.

Halal Food Fest
A huge food fest is taking place at the International Centre Saturday and Sunday. More than 100 exhibitors will be serving halal food in the annual Halal Food Fest. Tickets are available here.

Trinity Bellwoods bed-in
A very cozy protest takes place Sunday at Trinity-Bellwoods Park downtown.

It’s the third annual Trinity Bellwoods Bed-In, with organizers calling it a day of peace. The gathering starts at 11:30 a.m. with yoga, a potluck lunch and music. You’re asked to bring your blankets, pillows and PJs, to celebrate the day inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.


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