The Civic Holiday weekend signals many annual Toronto events each summer. Some of us salute John Graves Simcoe as we head for Simcoe Day events in Toronto on the first Monday of August. Let’s start with specific events at several Toronto museums, and then note the return of major festivals.
The links to official web sites are near the end of this article.
"Tall Ships in Toronto at Harbourfront" image by Numinosity (Gary J Wood)
Three Museums in Toronto Celebrate the 2014 Civic Holiday
All of the museums in Toronto host some great events at a very low cost. Often these are geared for families with children. Here are three Civic Holiday events at Toronto museums.
Simcoe Day 2014 at Gibson House
Gibson House honours Simcoe Day on Mon. Aug. 4, 2014, from noon to 3pm. The festivities include games, home-made ice cream, and children’s craft activities… but only if the child brings an adult along.
Gibson House is at 5172 Yonge St., where Park Home Ave. and Empress Ave. cross Yonge St. It’s north of Sheppard and just north from the North York Centre station on the #1 Yonge subway line. Obviously, the TTC is the better way to get there, on their holiday/Sunday schedule and family pass fares. Admission to Gibson House is pay what you can for Simcoe Day 2014.
2014 Simcoe Day at the Spadina Museum
The Spadina Museum will also note Simcoe Day on Monday, but for a bit longer. From noon through 5pm, they will repeat a half-hour themed tour to “meet the Austins”.
Regular admission is under $10/person. 285 Spadina Road is around the corner from Casa Loma, north of Davenport and south of St. Clair West. It’s a bit of a walk to St. Clair, as I remember from running the Goodlife Toronto Marathon along this street; but it’s a steep walk to Davenport.
Montgomery’s Inn for a Civic Holiday Play
Montgomery’s Inn presents Romeo and Juliet al fresco from Friday through Sunday, Aug. 1-3, 2014 at 7pm. Pay what you can and BYO (bring your own) lawn chair. Enjoy Shakespeare’s timeless play about the star-crossed lovers “under the stars”.
Montgomery’s Inn is at 4709 Dundas St. W., just east of Islington and surprisingly close to Montgomery Road. Coincidence? I think not!
Island Soul at Harbourfront Centre for the 2014 Civic Holiday
If memory serves, Harbourfront Centre has presented both Island Soul and the Festival Kompa Zouk for several years during the Civic Holiday weekend. Certainly these are on tap from Aug. 1-3.
Island Soul includes soca with Ballet Creole’s Spirit of Carnaval opening for Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah at the WestJet Stage on Friday Aug. 1 at 8pm. Tickets for this event are $20 and up.
The Dance Caribe Performing Company performs for free on Saturday Aug. 2 on the Redpath Stage, but only for half an hour starting at 9pm.
The family can participate in the Oware Games at Harbourfront for free! The dates are Aug. 2 (3-5pm) and Aug. 4 (1-4pm) at Zone 5. (Oware, Warri or Ware is a “pit and pebble” game, most popular in Ghana).
On Sunday Aug. 3, Festival Kompa Zouk Ontario presents drumming with Tamsir Seck of Senegal [Free: noon-12:30pm only Sunday]; as well as a visual arts display “connected through the root of Haitian creativity”. Free Aug. 1-4, 2014 (7-11pm Fri.; noon-8pm Sat. & Sun.; noon-6pm on Monday, Simcoe Day or the Ontario Civic Holiday).
In fact, the Harbourfront events calendar lists a lot more free events for this Civic Holiday weekend.
Harbourfront’s official address is 235 Queen’s Quay West. The above venues are close to that spot. For those of us who like a little walk, the easiest route is to walk south-west from Union Station. Currently road construction challenges anyone trying to drive there; and the TTC will be a bit slow too. Cyclists should consider taking the Martin Goodman Trail.
The Caribbean Carnival is the Annual Summer Event in Toronto
At least, my guess is that the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival attracts the most tourists as well as the most residents. Plus, the assorted events last for about a month. Let’s focus on the least expensive activities for Carnival during the Simcoe Day weekend in Toronto.
[Added Aug. 1, 2014]: Public Service Announcement: “How to Drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton” before you get stuck in traffic on that detour! Let’s return to our regularly scheduled article, already in progress.
The Grand Parade, the most spectacular highlight for the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, struts on Saturday Aug. 2. The organizers schedule “9am to 6pm”, but my impression is that it will start on Caribbean time. You can pay a lot to attend inside the CNE grounds where the parade begins. However, the organizers claim that it is both “free” and “ticketed”. To see the parade for free, I’d go to Jameson and Lakeshore Blvd, then head east until the crowd thickens or I’m asked to pay admission. Bring your canteen; cash for food and drink; and protect yourself from sunburn.
On Sunday Aug. 3, head for the Toronto Islands for Carnival Island. Besides the ferry fare, the lowest admission price is $20 for adults and $10 for children. The festivities should begin around noon. Expect music… a lot of music.
The Civic Holiday at Yonge-Dundas Square
Yonge-Dundas Square hosted these two 1-day events last year during the Civic Holiday, so they count as “free annual events in Toronto”.
On Friday Aug. 1, from 8-10pm, KC Roberts & The Live Revolution will perform “vintage music (funk, jazz, rock)”.
On Saturday Aug. 2, Voices of the Nations presents Christian music and worship from a variety of cultures. They do feature African, Asian, Caribbean and Latino influences. The event should run from noon-10pm but Yonge-Dundas Square didn’t admit it; I had to check the Voices web site.
Both events are free; so is “fountain day” on Monday. Yonge-Dundas Square is named for its intersection; use the #1 (Yonge) subway or the Dundas streetcar to get there.
TD Irie Music Festival in Toronto
Another Toronto Civic Holiday tradition is the TD Irie Music Festival, taking place from Aug. 1-4 at Nathan Phillips Square.
Friday features soca from 7pm. On Saturday, new artists take the stage from 3pm, and reggae from 8:30pm. On Sunday, it’s mainly dance from 3:30pm, until Etana the Strong One performs from 8:30pm. On Monday, the TD Irie Music Festival closes with a tribute show at 7:30pm.
The TD Irie Music Festival also pops up in Mississauga’s Celebration Square on Aug. 23-24.
Links to Official Web Sites for these 2014 Civic Holiday Festivals
Here’s my list of references. Note that some will be updated from year to year.
May I present my three unofficial backlinks to the 2013 Simcoe Day festivals and events. Some of them are outside Toronto, such as the annual Simcoe Day fireworks in Niagara Falls.
Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?
You can find more annual events for your vacation in Toronto Ontario; or for local residents wanting things to do in Toronto this weekend.
My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, and provides ideas for fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto. I especially like to cover summer attractions and special events in Toronto Canada; but especially for Canadian holidays.
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