Official Canada Day Fireworks Displays in Toronto

It’s time to learn where to find the official Canada Day fireworks displays in Toronto for 2015. Every year on July 1st, Canadians celebrate this national holiday with fireworks or other displays of patriotism.

"Map for Stan Wadlow Park in Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map for Stan Wadlow Park in Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

A Free Fireworks Display Closes Canada Day at Mel Lastman Square in North York

For north Toronto, Mel Lastman Square is the place for free fireworks display to finish off Canada Day celebrations.

The evening starts at 5pm with the Zero Gravity Circus, as well as face painting for the children. Free music, from a capella doo-wop through Jamaican blues and jazz to salsa provide the entertainment until fireworks at about 10:15pm.

The North York station on the #1 Yonge subway line is the obvious way to get there.

See “Special Events in Toronto on Canada Day” for more details.

Free Fireworks on Canada Day at Ashbridges Bay

I watch the free Canada Day fireworks display from Woodbine Park, just north of Ashbridges Bay. This saves a few steps across Lake Shore Blvd East at Coxwell Ave., and there’s great lines of sight to watch the fireworks burst above the trees.

In fact, Q107 hosts its Canada Day Picnic at Woodbine Park, starting at noon. They promise “food, fun and good tunes”. And you’re in the right spot for the closing fireworks just to the south.

Ashbridges Bay Park is on the south side of Lake Shore. Follow the crowds along the paved trail south, to get up close and personal with the fireworks display.

The usual start time is about 9:30pm. Get there early! It’s always sad to see the cars slowly crawling down Coxwell. Roads get closed since drivers would be distracted by the booms and sparks; and parking spots fill up long before sunset.

The TTC provides extra bus service along Coxwell Ave. for the evening, to connect north to the #2 Bloor/Danforth subway line. Or take the 501 Queen streetcar east/west. Cycling along the Martin Goodman Trail is a fine option, but be sure to have your lights for your return home; and pack plenty of patience until the pedestrians disperse.

See the “Beaches Living Guide Event Listings” for details about both the Ashbridges Bay fireworks and the Stan Wadlow Park celebrations.

I took some photographs of the free “Canada Day Fireworks in Toronto at Ashbridges Bay” on July 1, 2015. Here is one.

"Canada Day Fireworks in Toronto at Ashbridges Bay #1" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Canada Day Fireworks in Toronto at Ashbridges Bay #1” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Fireworks Finishes the East York Canada Day Celebrations at Stan Wadlow Park

The Canada Day celebrations at Stan Wadlow Park in East York is a local gem that starts at noon .

Stan Wadlow Park is at 888 Cosburn Ave., east from Woodbine Ave. It’s south of O’Connor Drive but well north of Danforth Ave. Take the 91 Woodbine (North) bus from the #2 Bloor-Danforth subway line.

My wife and I took photos of “Canada Day at the East York Parade and Stan Wadlow Park“, although we did not stay for the fireworks in the park. Here is just one image by my wife, showing the more “local” nature of some of the marching groups.

"EMS Dogs and EMS Workers in the Canada Day Parade" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“EMS Dogs and EMS Workers in the Canada Day Parade” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Free Fireworks Display at Various Toronto Parks

(Added June 30, 2015). 680 News reports a number of fireworks displays that I had missed. Let’s tackle these in alphabetical order.

Amesbury Park (Lawrence Ave. W., just west of Keele) offers a strongman competition, plus other activities. Last year, they started with tea at 10am, children’s activities from 11am, and began their musical entertainment around 2pm. Fireworks at 10pm (or 9:45pm, last year) complete the day.

Finish digesting your BBQ’d ribs at Centennial Park (off Eglinton West, west of Renforth) by watching fireworks at about 10pm.

Downsview Park (near Keele and Sheppard) with its fireworks display on Canada Day at about 10pm.

Lion’s Park (2125 Lawrence Ave. W., between Scarlett and Weston) begins celebrating Canada Day at 5pm. The fireworks display should begin around 10pm.

Milliken Park (McCowan just south of Steeles) launches fireworks “at dusk” to finish Scarborough’s Canada Day celebrations. (You could start with pancakes in Thompson Memorial Park).

Pay for your Fireworks Display at Canada’s Wonderland on Canada Day

If you’ve made a day of the holiday at Canada’s Wonderland, stick around for the fireworks at Wonder Mountain. That show starts around 10pm.

Canada’s Wonderland explains more at “Fireworks at Canada’s Wonderland”.

Harbourfront Fireworks are for the Early Birds

(Added June 29, 2015). I almost forgot that Harbourfront hosts a free fireworks display one night early, on June 30th. Their 20-minute show will start around 10pm (or so… possibly starting as late as 10:40pm according to a 680 News report).

Harbourfront Centre is at 235 Queens Quay West. Take the 509 Harbourfront or 510 Spadina streetcars from the Union Station stop on the #1 Yonge/University subway, or cycle along the Martin Goodman Trail with its newly-reopened Queen’s Quay section.

Harbourfront Centre has a bit more information on its Canada Day at Harbourfront page.

What about Canada Day 2015 in the GTA?

Canada Day Fireworks and Festivals in the GTA for 2015” is another article altogether.

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Was Queens Quay Ready for her 2015 Opening?

Was Queens Quay truly ready for her 2015 opening in anticipation of the PanAm Games? Was the street ready for this significant one-time Toronto event? Here are my impressions from running along the Martin Goodman Trail on the eastern half of Queen’s Quay on June 19, 2015. I think of this as a bit of a public service announcement: here are some things to watch for, and to watch out for!

"Queens Quay Lacks a Trail or Sidewalk near Lower Sherbourn in June 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Queens Quay Lacks a Trail or Sidewalk near Lower Sherbourn in June 2015” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Just at the Eastern end of Queens Quay

The construction area next to the Martin Goodman Trail still affects the corner of Queen’s Quay and Lake Shore Blvd East. The trail diverts onto the sidewalk at that point, although both cyclists and pedestrians can move along nicely. Officially, cyclists should take their lane on the street along that eastern portion of Queens Quay.

I did not take a photo of this construction, because it stretches eastward between Lake Shore Blvd and the Martin Goodman Trail. I did not want to count it as a Queens Quay problem.

A Promising Start

I took my first photograph (top of page) on Queen’s Quay near Lower Sherbourne, where a trench has kept at least one lane blocked for months. It was spectacular to see all the automobile lanes were open.

But why are pedestrians walking in the bicycle lane on the south side of Queen’s Quay? Where are the sidewalk and the Martin Goodman Trail? Why should a flashing arrow warn westbound cars about something in the north lane?

"The Martin Goodman Trail interrupted on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Martin Goodman Trail interrupted on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

There’s the reason: this non-road area is still under construction, although all the car lanes are now open. Note that the sidewalk and bicycle trail are still cut off.

Warning Paint on the Martin Goodman Trail

"Blue Intersection Warning on the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Blue Intersection Warning on the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

A bit further west, we find the sidewalks and Martin Goodman Trail in reasonable condition. The blue area, along with the stenciled white maple leaves, warn cyclists that they are approaching a driveway (or intersection?). I would need to spend more time with the fairly official guide to the Revitalized Queens Quay to be sure.

This section looks pretty good and works well.

Are Pedestrians Confused about Sidewalks and Bike Paths?

"Pedestrians off the sidewalk and on the Martin Goodman Trail bike path" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Pedestrians off the sidewalk and on the Martin Goodman Trail bike path” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Further west, a section of the Martin Goodman Trail has not yet been completely paved and marked. Note how pedestrians are walking on the bike path, although the sidewalk is available.

I must confess that I ran on the edge of the bike path from time to time, rather than staying on the sidewalk. The sidewalk was quite crowded with people walking east from Yonge Street toward the Redpath Waterfront Festival at Sugar Beach. I did not photograph that “crowd”, but for a couple of stretches, it did affect where I could run.

By the way, that’s a slightly elevated boardwalk to the south of the sidewalk. I ran on it when heading home, but it’s only a short strip in front of a few buildings.

Two Queens Quay Puzzles in One Photo

"An Orphan Section of the Martin Goodman bike path on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“An Orphan Section of the Martin Goodman bike path on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Probably I am not the only person confused by this orphaned stretch of bike path for the Martin Goodman Trail. The two people walking west, in the upper right of this picture, may have been on a car lane. Or maybe not.

At any rate, this little stretch of bicycle lane left me very puzzled.

(Updated June 22, 2015): A photo and explanation in today’s Toronto Star leads me to believe that the area in the foreground of the photo is a mixing zone, where cyclists may encounter cars from a driveway. The Hume’s TorStar article, “New Queens Quay a redesign for everyone“,  showed a pedestrian/cyclist mixing zone. The bollards help keep cars off the bike path. Hopefully it will be self-evident to cyclists and everyone else on Queen’s Quay.

(Updated June 22, 2015): Hume’s article quotes Dutch landscape architect, Adriaan Geuze, explaining that “Every block had to be negotiated”. Hume reported that some property owners declined to participate in this project. That may explain why I found the Queen’s Quay makeover to be incomplete: perhaps this is as good as it will get, because all the work is done where the willing parties had agreed to it.

However, my general impression was that it’s a very pretty section of Queen’s Quay.

A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay

"A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay in 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay in 2015” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Here’s the blue ribbon being waved by volunteers, before the official opening of Queens Quay in 2015.

In “Queens Quay Officially Re-Opens“, 680 News reporter Nicole Bauman stated the ribbon was 650 metres long. I would have believed it to be much longer; it seemed to stretch on forever.

Here, the Martin Goodman Trail bike path has its proper lane markings. A slight gutter separates it from the granite sidewalk, although it’s certainly possible for people to walk in that gutter.

You can’t see it in this photograph, but the TTC streetcar right-of-way is just behind me. While taking these photos, I saw a couple of men walking beside the tracks, as though it were a sidewalk. Just as I drew breath to shout at them, the approaching streetcar rang its bell. The men dodged south, out of harm’s way.

Is Queens Quay Open? Does the Martin Goodman Trail Function?

I did not have time or energy to run the rest of Queen’s Quay. (Updated July 13, 2015): My report on the western end of Queen’s Quay is less than a month tardy, in “Queens Quay West during a TO2015 PanAm Weekend in Toronto“.

Several years of work, and years of planning before that, have gone into improving Queens Quay. It should be a magnet to draw tourists to waterfront amenities, to induce Toronto residents to buy condos, and to welcome recreational athletes to get some exercise near Lake Ontario. Oh yes, and to be a photo op for some PanAm Games events.

While Queen’s Quay is “officially open”, several sections still require attention, especially for the bike path. (Updated June 22, 2015): Or perhaps all the work is done that was permitted by property owners.

I assume there is, or will be, a continuous bicycle path along Queen’s Quay once the work is complete. That’s a tremendous, day-versus-night improvement over the earlier incarnation of this street. At that time, the painted bike lanes simply disappeared from the central stretch of Queens Quay, leaving cyclists to squeeze between every parked motor coach bus and moving automobile.

It’s hard to predict how quickly the majority of people will figure out how to share the space. Certainly pedestrians are likely to wander across the cycling lanes, except for extremely busy periods in the summer.

However, I do rank it as the best and prettiest pedestrian-friendly street that I’ve encountered in Toronto. But was it really ready to be officially open? Will cyclists consider Queens Quay to be ready for PanAm festivities when there are gaps in the Martin Goodman Trail?

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Frugal Fathers Day 2015 in Toronto

What can you do for a frugal Fathers Day in Toronto? Here are some free or inexpensive ideas for the Fathers Day weekend, June 19-21, 2015. And they’re perfectly good summer Toronto events in their own right!

"Map of Woodbine Park, Toronto" (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map of Woodbine Park, Toronto” (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Beach Brew and BBQ for Fathers Day 2015

The Beach Brew and BBQ offers free music, although you need to buy their drinks and food. The theme just shouts, “Fathers Day for the whole family”, doesn’t it? This has become an annual Toronto event for Fathers Day.

The Beach Brew and BBQ runs from Friday June 19 (3-11pm), through Saturday (noon-11pm) to Sunday (noon-8pm). The venue is Woodbine Park, bordered by Lake Shore Blvd East, Coxwell, Eastern Ave., and Northern Dancer Blvd (a residential street west of Woodbine). Take the 22 Coxwell bus south from Coxwell Station on the #2 Bloor-Danforth subway, or the 501 Queen streetcar to Coxwell and walk south a block.

Free NXNE Music at Yonge-Dundas Square for Fathers Day 2015

The NXNE music festival offers free music for all ages at Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, 2015. (I’m not sure whether they plan to charge admission to the shows on Friday night’s schedule). Here’s the 2015 NXNE at Yonge-Dundas Square schedule.

Of course, NXNE sells tickets to many shows at other venues; but this article is about being frugal.

Assuming the subway is running, that’s the best way to get to Yonge and Dundas.

Free Games Weekend at Harbourfront for Fathers Day 2015

Bring your under-9-years-old children to Queen’s Quay for the free Games Weekend events at Harbourfront, both Saturday & Sunday from 11am-6pm.

It’s only for children 8 and under; you have to watch from the sidelines of the outdoor playground. But Queen’s Quay is a charming part of Toronto, so you should be able to find some other things to do once your children are tuckered out.

It’s a reasonable walk south-west from Union Station, and the road construction is starting to clear up along Queen’s Quay.

Frugal Museums in Toronto for Fathers Day 2015

Generally the Toronto museums charge under $10/person, with lower rates for children and seniors. Let’s just note anything out of the ordinary below.

The overall What’s On at Toronto Museums page lists events for all ten City of Toronto museums.

Fort York Offers Free Admission for Fathers Day 2015

I’m pleasantly surprised that Fort York offers free admission for a pair of events featuring aboriginal culture over the Fathers Day weekend.

Fort York hosts an Indigenous Arts Festival from June 18-20. Music, crafts and visual arts are featured. Please refer to the detailed Fort York Indigenous Arts Festival schedule online.

Fort York also holds the Na-Ma-Res pow-wow on June 21. It marks the summer solstice with drumming, various traditional native festival activities, and a crafts sale. Admission is free from noon to 4:30pm.

Fort York is at 250 Fort York Blvd, between Bathurst and Strachan, and just north of the CNE grounds.

Todmorden Mills begins Eco-Art Fest 2015 on Fathers Day

Running from June 20 to Sept. 13, Eco-Art Fest 2015 features art installations plus family-friendly art activities.

Todmorden Mills is in the Don Valley, on Pottery Road off Broadview. Pottery Road is a steep hill for younger kids or older adults to climb back to Broadview, but it’s easily accessible from the Don Valley bike trail.

"Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto" image (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps
“Map of Todmorden Mills, Toronto” image (c) by Mike DeHaan via Google Maps

Looking for More Annual Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the left-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about frugal or free 2015 Fathers Day activities in Toronto.

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