May 19 marks the unofficial but much-anticipated kick off to summer for most Canadians, as we celebrate Victoria Day. The first occasion took place on May 24, 1845, and marked the 35th birthday of Queen Victoria. Now the so-called May 2-4 long weekend occurs on the third Monday in May each year. A tribute to the British empire’s longest reigning monarch—a monument of her on the throne—can be found at Queen’s Park (at Wellesley Street West and Queen’s Park Circle). The park itself was even named after her.
LIGHT UP THE SKY
On Monday night, catch a spectacular fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay Park, starting around 9:45 p.m., rain or shine. Or make a day north of the city at Canada’s Wonderland; the family-friendly amusement park has a pyrotechnics display choreographed to music on Sunday evening (May 18), weather permitting.
PINKIES IN THE AIR
Partake in a Victorian-era tradition with afternoon tea. The Fairmont Royal York’s Library Bar, the Russian Red Tea Room at the Windsor Arms and Victoria’s Restaurant at the King Edward Hotel all serve variations on the regal affair that includes finger sandwiches, scones with devon cream, petit fours and, of course, a warm cup of tea. —Linda Luong