The Ontario Civic Holiday: 2012 Simcoe Day Events in Toronto
Toronto celebrates the Ontario Civic Holiday as “Simcoe Day”. Who was Simcoe? What are some of the ways that one could celebrate the Simcoe Day holiday weekend in 2012?
Whether known as Simcoe Day or Civic Holiday, the first Monday in August is a day off work for many Canadians. In 2012, Simcoe Day falls on August 6.
What did John Graves Simcoe do for Ontario?
Born in England in 1752, John Graves Simcoe was the member of the British Parliament to first be appointed as lieutenant-governor of the newly-created province of Upper Canada.
Now known as Ontario, this province was served by Simcoe from late 1791 through 1796. Simcoe had previously led the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution.
Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe set policies and practices for land grants, roads, and civil government.
In 1968, the city of Toronto proclaimed that the provincial “Civic Holiday” of the first Monday of August would be celebrated as “Simcoe Day”.
Simcoe Day 2012 Events in Toronto
Typically, Toronto celebrates Simcoe Day with events starting as early as the Thursday prior to the long weekend.
Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Precedes and Follows Simcoe Day
Perhaps the largest example of celebrating “Simcoe Day Toronto is the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival.
I had already written about the “Junior Toronto Carnival 2012 Has Begun” before mid-July, but revellers will jump up Saturday Aug. 4, 2012 for the grand parade at Exhibition Place.
The final event of the Caribbean Carnival in 2012 is the church service on Sunday Aug. 12 at 4:30pm at St. James Cathedral at King and Church Streets. This event is free to enter.
IRIE Music Festival
Also beginning before Ontario Simcoe Day proper is the IRIE Music Festival, as I had reported in a previous article. The Nathan Phillips Square venue will have free music from Aug. 3-6.
EGO, the Annual Juried Show hosted by Scarborough Arts
(Updated Aug. 6, 2012). Scarborough Arts organizes “EGO: SA Annual Juried Show” at Todmorden Mills on Pottery Road from Aug. 1-12. Regular admission is well under $10 per person. The venue is just one of Toronto’s many civic heritage sites.
See my recent “Scarborough Arts Hosts a Juried Show at Papermill Art Gallery” for a map placing Todmorden Mills in its geographic context, more details, and three alternative art galleries in Toronto.
Spend the Ontario Civic Holiday in Toronto Civic Museums
- Fort York has on-site tours and demonstrations, and will also conduct a tour of the neighbourhood, on Monday Aug. 6.
- Gibson House, near the North York Centre, invites children and their families for ice cream and activities on the Simcoe Day holiday, August 6 2012.
- Montgomery’s Inn presents Shakespeare’s Scottish play, Macbeth, early in the evenings of Aug. 4 and 5, and closes with a matinee on Aug. 6. (Notes to self: How did I miss noticing this show last week when it began its all too brief run? Shouldn’t the name be “MacBeth” rather than “Macbeth”)?
- The Scarborough Museum merely continues its summer weekend “Victorian extravanganzas” for the month of August.
- Todmorden Mills hosts “Simcoe Day in the Valley” on Sunday August 5th, from noon to 4pm. This is an especially historic view of Mrs. Simcoe’s “travels on the Don”. “Castle Frank”, the couple’s cottage, was named for their son.
Please check the above links for details for each museum, and for the specific events they currently feature.
Island Soul at Harbourfront for Simcoe Day Weekend in Toronto
Harbourfront Centre hosts Island Soul, presented by CIBC, on Aug. 3-6. Finally, a true Simcoe Day weekend event! This celebrates the independence of the Jamaica and also Trinidad and Tobago. See the top of page 5 of the PDF document “Harbourfront Centre Listings August 2012“.
Beach, Hike or Bike in Toronto to Celebrate Simcoe Day
Toronto boasts a variety of parks and beaches for walking and sun-bathing; these are likely to be well-used throughout the Simcoe Day weekend.
Bike routes include the Martin Goodman Trail and the path by the Don River. The Beltway, a decommissioned railway line, is another popular venue.
Remember to apply sunscreen; wear appropriate headgear; and be prepared to take TTC home if you get more tired than expected. Take along a bottle of water, too; many trails lack drinking fountains.
Looking for More Annual Toronto Events?
I’ve begun a Squidoo lens that tracks all the annual Toronto events that I find interesting. Have a look in “The DeHaan Lens of Annual Toronto Events” to plan your other weekends, beyond the 2012 civic holiday.
- Proclamation of Simcoe Day 2005 by then-Mayor David Miller on behalf of Toronto City Council.
- John Graves Simcoe.
- Simcoe, John Graves.
Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article about the 2012 Simcoe Day holiday events in Toronto.