15 Things to do over Victoria Day Weekend in Toronto
Toronto is anything but boring. No matter the time or day, there is always something happening at different corners of the city, be it festivals, concerts or social gatherings. With the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, there will be even more activities that you can choose from. Make the most of your holiday by going out with friends and family, basking in the spring air, and enjoying all that Toronto has to offer.
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
When: May 1-31
Where: Various galleries across Toronto including the AGO, ROM, Metro Hall, CONTACT Gallery
As one of the largest photography events in the world and cultural experiences in Canada, this annual festival is not to be missed. In honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial, this year’s theme, Focus on Canada, features exhibits that capture the various Canadian landscapes and depicts how the nation is seen through different perspectives. Installations can be found at different locations throughout the city.
Rib & Craft Beer Fest
When: May 18-21
Where: Yonge & Dundas Square
Cost: Admission is free, food & beverage is extra
What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer and BBQ season then by having a festival dedicated to ribs and beer? The best rib teams in Canada will be participating along with top craft breweries from across Ontario, so you can expect endless good eats. And with live music, line dancing and cooking lessons, and other activities available, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Culinary Ontario Festival
When: May 19-22
Where: Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Blvd. West
Cost: Admission is free, food & beverage are extra
In celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary, this festival will showcase Ontario’s diverse culinary culture. In addition to the classic vendor carts selling goodies, there will be a farmer’s market featuring locally prepared foods, a convoy of food trucks, a sample zone where you can gorge on free samples, and a bar where you can wash it all down.
ADULT. and Special Guest Void Vision
When: May 20
Where: Velvet Underground, 508 Queen Street West
You can head over to the club to have a good time and listen to the latest hip beats featuring ADULT. and Void Vision on Saturday night. If you’re not too familiar with this genre of music, this may be a good opportunity to get acquainted.
Spring Sessions of Toronto’s Festival of Beer
When: May 20-21
Where: Fort York, 250 Fort York Boulevard
This festival is perfect for all the beer enthusiasts in Toronto. The Festival of Beer is returning for its fourth year at the iconic historic site Fort York: Garrison Common. You’ll be able to grab a pint, enjoy live music, eat BBQ and have a grand time enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Artfest at the Distillery
When: May 20-22
Where: Distillery District, 55 Mill Street
If you head over to the Distillery District during the long weekend, you’ll find it packed with local artisans showcasing their creations and a huge crowd perusing the goods. Whether you’re looking for a painting, a sculpture or something quirky to display in your living room, you be able to find that and more by visiting Artfest. Even if you’re not looking to buy something, you can still appreciate the talent and creativity of Toronto-bred artists.
When: May 20-22
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West
While it’s not exactly Cirque de Soleil, you can still expect to see some spectacular circus acts at Harbourfront during the long weekend. You can bet that these performances will entertain your family, leaving them gasping in awe, doubling over with laughter, or even joining in the fun.
Lobster Clam Jam
When: May 20-21 12pm-9pm
Where: Cabana Pool Bar, 11 Polson Street
Despite the name, you’ll find a lot more than just shellfish at this popular outdoor food festival. This affordable, family-oriented event offers guests the chance to taste the creations from numerous local chefs and restaurants. There will DJs to pump out some hot jams, plus over 20 restaurants and multiple bars on site.
A Night at the Movies
When: May 20
Where: Calvin Presbyterian Church, 26 Delisle Avenue
No cinematic masterpiece is without a great soundtrack to match. The Great Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra will be celebrating the music written for the screen. The program features a set of tunes from award-winning films like “Star Wars,” Lord of the Rings,” and “The Princess Bride.”
Waterfront Artisan Market
When: May 20 to October 7
Where: HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay West
Support local businesses, artisans and chefs by checking out the annual open-air market. With over 70 vendors, you’ll be able to find things from custom wood watches to Spanish extra virgin olive oil to silver jewellery. There will also be food vendors selling mouth-watering goodies like roasted corn, artisan coffee and Mexican street food.
Victoria Day Fireworks
When: May 22
Where: Ashbridges Bay Park, 1675 Lake Shore Blvd. E.
End the long weekend with a bang by attending an eye-ogling pyrotechnic spectacle at Ashbridges Bay Park. The annual show, which runs from 8:30pm to midnight, features over 2000 fireworks with a grand finale that will have you “ooohing” and “ahhhing” throughout the entire night.
Trinity Bellwoods Bed In
When: May 21
Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen Street West
Ever since John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched a one night Bed In at the King Edward Hotel in 1969, Torontonians have carried on their tradition by gathering at Trinity Bellwoods Park to share their spirit of their Bed In. There will be various live performances and yoga sessions throughout the day. The opening ceremony begins at 10:30am.
When: May 22
Where: Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St E, Toronto
Woodbine Park will be the party hub on Victoria Day, where a massive concert and picnic highlighting electronic music will take place. Bring a blanket, some friends, comfortable shoes and get ready to dance and party the night away. Musicians performing include Ben Klock, Eats Everything, Red Axes and more.
Toronto Foam Festival
When: May 22
Where: Orchid Entertainment Complex, 82 Peter Street
A party just isn’t a party unless there are huge foam cannons that will spray you from head to toe, sound systems blasting upbeat tunes, and a spectacular laser light show. There will also be a professional photographer to capture this moment with you and your friends. On Victoria Day, party it up and let loose at one of the wildest bashes of the year.
When: May 22
Where: The Rivoli, 334 Queen Street West
The ALTdotCOMedy Lounge has been one of Toronto’s favourites for taking in local comedy. You can enjoy a night of laughter by attending a live stand-up comedy show Monday night. Performers include Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll, Paul Ash, Natalie Norman and more. Plus, each ticket purchase comes with a complimentary ticket to an upcoming show.
Did we miss any of the best Victoria Day events in Toronto? Share them with us in the comment section.
Featured Image: Lori Blondeau’s Public Installation Asiniy Iskwew at Ryerson Image Centre, Instagram/@contactphoto
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Lisa is a journalism student at Carleton University and an aspiring travel writer. When she’s not struggling with writer’s block, she loves hitting up the hottest foodie spots around the city and taking photos of everything.