Photo: Julius Reque via Where.ca’s Flickr pool
Ottawa has a reputation for hosting the best Canada Day party in the country, and this year’s celebrations do nothing to dispel those sentiments. Check out free performances by Feist, Simple Plan and Roch Voisine (to name a few); look to the skies over Jacques Cartier Park to see the SkyHawks perform a daring parachute demo; learn the ropes (literally) with a lasso demonstration at Major’s Hill Park, get up close and personal with the Grey Cup in Jacques Cartier Park; or just wander around downtown and revel in the high-energy atmosphere. As usual, the day’s festivities are capped off with a spectacular fireworks display at night.
Friday, June 29
The Italian Contemporary Film Festival got under way earlier this week at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, with screenings of excellent modern-day movies from one of Europe’s cinematic powerhouses. Highlights for today include The Vanishing of Patò and the Canadian premiere of Il Gioiellino.
Don’t let the cute puppets fool you into bringing the kids to see subversive musical Avenue Q. This very adult parody of Sesame Street is now playing at Lower Ossington Theatre, and tells the story of a college grad ready to take on life in the Big Apple. Also tonight at the LOT is your final chance to see Top Gun! The Musical (yes, it’s based on the Tom Cruise-as-a-fighter-pilot film).
Saturday, June 30
AfroJack, Duck Sauce, Steve Lawlor and Major Lazer headline the Digital Dreams Music Festival, which touts itself as the first electronic musical festival of its kind ever hosted in Toronto. Four stages spread across the eastern portion of the Ontario Place grounds are sure to be bumping all weekend.
ulture aficionados can also hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands for the inaugural New Traditions: Island Music and Art Festival. The family-friendly event includes non-stop indie music performances, dance workshops, fresh food, art installations and more.
Aboriginal History Month concludes today with festivities at Yonge-Dundas Square. The welcoming ceremonies start at noon, and live music—by groups including headliners Digging Roots—soundtracks the entire day. Native arts and craft vendors also set up shop, and tasty native-inspired fare is available, too.
Sunday, July 1
Another year, another successful Pride Week in Toronto. Today’s ever-popular rainbow-coloured Pride Parade marks the end of the party, so head down to Yonge Street (between Bloor and Gerrard streets) at 2 p.m. to celebrate with Torontonians of all stripes. The fun continues with a post-march picnic at Allan Gardens, featuring music, games, snacks and even more dancing.
Experience the world in Toronto’s own backyard as the multicultural CHIN Picnic returns for another year at Exhibition Place. The event runs from Saturday through Monday; Sunday’s highlights include Chinese entertainer Raymond Wong, the “Mr. Chin” fitness contest and Filipino entertainer Rico Puno. And let’s not forget the food!
Of course, it’s also Canada Day today! We rounded up many of the celebrations and special events in a previous post, but thought it appropriate to mention one more: Spadina Museum looks back to the 60th anniversary of Canada’s creation with a 1920s-style party. Bring your best period costumes, learn how to dance the Charleston, and enjoy old-fashioned fun and games on the grounds of this historic mansion. You can even try your hand at making ice cream!
Sunday, July 1 marks our country’s 145th birthday. It’s easy to celebrate the nation’s diversity and heritage in Toronto, thanks to a number of excellent events and outdoor activities! (more…)
Catch Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti perform with the NAC Orchestra, as the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival comes to a close this weekend. Botti, who has sold more than three million records worldwide, has performed with iconic artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, and many more.
The Unisong Canadian Choir Festival has featured over 5000 singers and 191 groups throughout its 16-year run. Presented by the Arts Bureau for the Continent, Unisong brings choristers together from across Canada during the five-day event.
Nine artists will showcase contemporary pieces in “Local Flora,” an exhibit opening this weekend at SAW Gallery. The artists, all of whom are from the Ottawa and Outaouais region, will display works in painting, photography, sculpture and video-based installation that explore how nature is interpreted through artistic expression.
Escapade Music Festival promises to be bigger, better, and louder than ever. The two-day lineup includes live performances across three stages by artists Avicii, Eric Prydz, Afrojack, Alesso, Sander van Doorn, and many more. Partygoers will enjoy the weekend-long show at the new venue at Ottawa Stadium. (more…)
Celebrate an icon of the Muskoka lakes—this weekend marks the 125th anniversary of North America’s oldest operating steamship, the RMS Segwun. The festivities begin with a parade from Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake Park to Muskoka Wharf on Friday at 1 p.m., followed by free Kawartha Dairy ice cream, face painting, live performances and a fly-past by the Snowbirds. Saturday features an all-day barbecue, more live music, a fishing tournament and one-hour Segwun cruises by donation.
You might want to skip lunch on Thursday, as Flavours of Muskoka is certain to satisfy all your cravings. From 6 to 9 p.m. at The Rosseau, this annual “amazing graze” offers foodies and oenophiles a chance to sample the region’s culinary bounty as prepared by more than 40 chefs, brewers and winemakers. Best of all, proceeds help support Kaleidoscope Arts in Education programs for children.
If you’re not able to make it to Flavours of Muskoka, there’s another way to support Kaleidoscope Arts in Education—the group’s annual Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival rolls into Minett, with all kinds of family-friendly activities on Saturday at Clevelands House and Sunday at The Rosseau.
The weekend also offers the chance to pick up some lovely items for your home and cottage—or gifts for friends and family who might be hosting you—as the Bala Craft and Gift Fair sets up shop Saturday and Sunday at the Bala Community Centre. If you prefer vintage to contemporary wares, you’re in luck! The Bala Antique Show shares space with the craft fair.
Have a rip-roarin’, bronco-bustin’ good time at the Burk’s Falls Rodeo rustles up some old west excitement on Saturday and Sunday. This Ontario Rodeo Association–sanctioned event features bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and much more.
Wear your red and white all Sunday long—it’s Canada Day, and communities throughout the region are offering all sorts of patriotic fun. Parry Sound, in particular, offers a full day of fun with a pancake breakfast, entertainment and fireworks at the town dock. Or if you find yourself in Huntsville, head over to Muskoka Heritage Place for its strawberry social, then watch the evening fireworks display over Hunter’s Bay.
Yes, it’s only June, but what better time to stock up on patriotic gear for upcoming Canada Day (Jul. 1)? Lacoste takes top prize for its fun approach to making the national flag a year-round wearable polo (pictured). The Bay celebrates the Great White North with maple leaf–emblazoned Team Canada Olympic apparel—serving double loyal duty as the 2012 London Olympics begin Jul. 27. And Roots channels its northern heritage with beaver insignia galore.—Jennifer Patterson
In honour of Canada’s 144th birthday, we’ve rounded up an assortment of activities that get you in on the action, whether you’re looking for one day, or a whole weekend, of fun. Happy Canada Day!
Friday, July 1
Everyone knows downtown is the place to be if you want to be in the thick of things, and everyone should experience Canada Day on the Hill at least once. Today, some of the highlights include the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, the noon show, featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus musical acts from across the country, and an evening show with plenty of live entertainment. Major’s Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park are good places to take the family, with activities that include a VIA miniature train, kite flying, an outdoor sculpture gallery, an international village, a Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, dance classes, fireworks, and — we can’t even believe we’re saying this — so much more!
Located right downtown, the National Arts Centre will be hosting an array of activities that are fun for the whole fam. If you need a breather from carousing on Parliament Hill, head here for some free fun that includes storytelling, breakdance performances by Culture Shock, music by the NAC Orchestra and 250 choiristers, plus entertainment by the Ottawa Stilt Union.
Earning a visit on the Royal Tour, you know the Canadian War Museum has serious cred. While Wills and Kate will stop by here on July 2 for a private function for veterans, there’s plenty of fun programming to be had on Canada Day for the country’s grand fete. Activities include military marches and highland tunes with the museum’s “wandering piper,” temporary tank tattoos for the kids, lectures about battlefield medicine, and more. Even better? For today only admission is free.
The National Gallery of Canada sure knows how to throw a party: Local ogranization Fresh Beat will be pumping up the jams on the plaza with techno and house music in the outdoor amphitheatre. This day of electronic music will feature well-known DJs from the region, such as Akash, Yan Larouche, Dr. Phil, Martin Diotte, Chris Falardeau, Jason Jesse, and Steve Martin. Also on site will be a barbecue and gelato, plus it’s the perfect place to grab a prime seat for the fireworks show at 10pm. (more…)
If there was ever a year to head to the capital to celebrate Canada Day this July 1, this is it! Not only is there a jam-packed line-up of entertainment (Sam Roberts and Great Big Sea being two names of note), but also the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be taking part in the noon show on Parliament Hill as part of their first official overseas trip as newlyweds. Other activities happening throughout the day at Major’s Hill Park and Jacques Cartier Park include dance performances, a slam-dunk show, kite-flying, and a DJ party, topped off with the spectacular fireworks show at night. So don your red and white clothes, paint a maple leaf on your face (whether you’re Canadian or not), and get ready to wish Canada a big, royal 144th birthday.
The Canada Day long weekend brings much excitement to the Muskoka region!
1. Friday, July 1 offers sure cause for celebration in Huntsville, which hosts a bevy of Canada Day activities from morning to night. Among the attractions, Muskoka Heritage Place hosts a strawberry social beginning at 10 a.m. And don’t miss the fireworks display over Hunters Bay, starting at dusk.
2. Also on July 1 (and running to July 3) is the annual Bala Antique and Nostalgia Show, which takes place at Bala Arena. More than 40 vendors set up shop at this event, with everything from vintage country furniture to estate jewellery and collectibles. (more…)