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City Summer: Celebrate Canada Day 2011 with fireworks, food and fun

GTA Canada Day Fireworks Toronto and the GTA will be awash in red and white this holiday weekend, as we celebrate Canada Day.

While many people pack up the car for the pilgrimage to cottage country, there are plenty of great events — from concerts to fireworks and fine dining — for those planning on staying close to home to commemorate Canada’s 144th birthday.

What’s happening in Toronto this weekend (video)

The 45th annual CHIN picnic begins (video)

For a map of Canada Day fireworks displays locations, scroll down.

TORONTO

Tragically Hip Concert at Downsview Park:

Some of Canada’s best home-grown talent will take the stage at Downsview Park this Canada Day. The Tragically Hip, Broken Social Scene, Hey Rosetta! and Buck 65 will play to a sold-out crowd of some 28,000 fans. U.S. alt-rockers Weezer are also on the bill.

The gates open for ticket holders at 2:30 p.m. at 75 Carl Hall Rd.

Buck 65 will be the first artist to perform at 3:45 p.m.; Hey Rosetta! at 4:45 p.m.; Broken Social Scene at 6 p.m.; Weezer at 7:30 p.m.; and The Tragically Hip will close the show at 9 p.m.

With nearly 30,000 people expected to jam Downsview Park, officials are busy preparing all the necessities.

“We’ve got one porta-potty for every hundred people. We’ve got two thousand linear feet of food vendors and 150 waitresses — the biggest bar in the city that day…We’ll have 120 security personnel and 50 to 60 of Toronto’s finest on hand,”  Bob Sinclair, Vice President of Operations for Downsview Park told CityNews.ca

Downsview Park will also be hosting a free community breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by a citizenship ceremony at noon, where 144 people will become new Canadians.

Red, White and Vinyl Festival:

How do great tunes, capped off with a spectacular firework show sound? The Red, White and Vinyl Festival at Woodbine Park in the Beach starts at noon and musical performers include Alannah Miles, Andy Kim, Lighthouse, and Disco Dance Party.

A fireworks display will begin at 10 p.m. from Ashbridges Bay.  

Concert and Fireworks at Mel Lastman Square:

The festivities get underway at 8 p.m. at North York’s Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St.) The free event features performances by Ray Robinson and King Sunshine with a fireworks show beginning at 10:15 p.m.

Ontario Place:

Ontario Place will once again host its annual Canada Day fireworks show. The pyrotechnics begin at 10:30 p.m., admittance is free.

Yonge-Dundas Square:

The fifth annual Multicultural Canada Day Celebration takes over Yonge-Dundas Square. The free event gets underway at noon, with the singing of “O Canada,” followed by a First Nations dance performance and featuring many other international dance groups until 9 p.m.

You can also show off your best bhangra, with a Bollywood dance party at 7 p.m.

TD Toronto Jazz Festival:

The TD Toronto Jazz Festival continues througout the weekend, wrapping up July 3. The  line-up boasts such artists as Shad, The Roots, Bootsy Collins and Nikki Yanofsky. Many shows are free.

Toronto Ribfest:

If you’d like to celebrate Canada’s birthday by indulging in some of the best eats and meats the country has to offer, you’re in luck. The Toronto Ribfest runs from June 30-July 3, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Etobicoke’s Centennial Park. The event features not only the finest ribs around, but three days of live musical performers and even a haunted house and face painting for the kids. Parking and admission are free, but a $2 donation to the Toronto Food Initiative is appreciated.

There will be a fireworks show beginning at 10 p.m.

CHIN Picnic:

Now in its 45th year, the CHIN Picnic is back once again. The event runs Friday to Sunday, and features live music, midway rides, a shopping bazaar, dance competition, circus performers and of course, the famous Mr. and Mrs. CHIN competition.  Festivities begin at 11 a.m. each day at Exhibition Place, and admission is free.

Harbourfront Canada Day Festival:

Celebrate Canada Day by the water, at the Harbourfront Canada Day Festival. The family-friendly free event gets underway at 10:30 a.m. Featured events include giant games of Connect Four, Twister and chess, a strawberry shortcake bake-off, and an “O Canada” competition.

Canada Day At Queen’s Park

Celebrate the Great White North’s birthday with some of the nation’s newest Canucks.

The party at Queen’s Park kicks off with a citizenship ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Then there will be performances for everyone in the family.

Queen’s Park Crescent East will be closed between College and Wellesley, Queen’s Park Crescent West will be closed between College Street and Hoskin Avenue, and Grosvenor Street is closed between Queen’s Park Crescent and Surrey Place.

OUTSIDE OF TORONTO:

Canada Day In Vaughan

A barbecue, face painting, a water park, and a free concert – there’s not much more you could ask for when it comes to a Canada Day celebration.

The party in Vaughan offers all of these things Friday at Mackenzie Glen District Park on Cranston Park Avenue. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and will feature performances by Dia, Danny Fernandes and The Stereos.

East York Canada Day Parade

When you think Canada Day, what comes to mind? Ninja Funk Orchestra, perhaps?

The ensemble will be capping off July 1st celebrations in East York.

The Canada Day parade starts at 9 a.m. at Overlea Boulevard and Thorncliffe Park Drive and winds its way through East York, ending at Stan Wadlow Park, at Woobine Avenue and O’Connor Drive.

Festivities at Stan Wadlow Park kick off at 11 a.m. and end with fireworks after sundown.

Brampton Canada Day Celebration:

Musician Jann Arden performs at the free event, taking place at Brampton’s Powerade Centre.There will be four stages of entertainment, including a family stage and a local indie-music stage as well as a Canada Day Punjabi Mela.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., culminating with a fireworks display set to music.

Bronte Canada Day Fireworks:

There’s sure to be lots of food and fun at the Bronte Canada Day Fireworks celebration. The Lions Club of Oakville Annual Pancake Breakfast will kick off at the Royal Canadian Legion, 79 Jones St. south of Lakeshore at 8 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Daytime festivities at the Bronte Harbour begin at 11:30 a.m., and include musical performances, face painting and a bouncy castle.

The evening entertainment and fireworks will begin at 10:15 p.m. Partiers are advised to take transit due to road closures in the area.

Mississauga Canada Day Celebration:

Some of Canada’s favourite musical acts will be helping to ring in Canada’s 144th birthday in Mississauga. Shawn Desman, Fefe Dobson and These Kids Wear Crowns will be playing at the newly-renovated Mississauga Celebration Square, 201 City Centre Drive. The party gets underway at 1 p.m., and wrap up with fireworks by 10:30 p.m.

Canada Day in Burlington:

There’s sure to be plenty of music and merriment at the city of Burlington’s Canada Day celebration. The fun gets underway at 8:30 a.m., with a 5k run/walk from Spencer Smith Park. The day continues with a number of musical performers, and finally capping off with fireworks at 10 p.m.