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EVENT: Celebrate Canada Day with RibFest, maple beer & fireworks

It’s not often you get to celebrate a 145th birthday and there are plenty of options ranging from traditional fireworks to a massive barbecue to a July 1 party done 1860s-style for Canucks of all ages to show their love for the true north strong and free on Canada Day this year.

Fireworks will light up the sky at Ashbridges Bay and Downsview parks and at Canada’s Wonderland, as well as other spots.

For a complete list of fireworks locations as well as what’s open and closed over the holiday weekend, click here.

Many Canucks like to fire up the grill on the anniversary of Confederation, but the annual Toronto RibFest Food and Music Festival in Etobicoke is the perfect place to go for those who don’t want to stand over the barbecue. Award-winning ribs will be offered up at Centennial Park on the Canada Day long weekend where there’ll also be rides for the kids and two stages of live music.

“The food is unbelievable — the best barbecue masters in the world,” Ribfest spokesman Terance Brouse said. The event is one of the biggest Canada Day celebrations in the province with organizers expecting a record 200,000 people this year.

When it comes to rib festivals in and around the GTA “this is the big one,” Brouse said. “The timing, the size, the scope — everything about it … you’re gonna go and you’re going to have great food and a great time.”

And for history buffs wanting a Dominion Day experience from the 1800s, Black Creek Pioneer Village is offering music, tours and samples of the quintessential Canuck beverage — maple beer!

Here’s a look at what’s happening on Canada Day:

Mel Lastman Square

The Canada Day party kicks off at 8 p.m. and includes live acts and fireworks choreographed to music.

Dance troupes will take the stage, singer Saidah Baba Talibah will perform and fireworks will cap off the evening at 10:15 p.m.

5100 Yonge St. (north of Sheppard)

Click here for more information.

Ashbridges Bay Park fireworks

Fireworks will light up the sky starting at 9:30 p.m. at Ashbridges Bay Park, near Lake Shore Boulevard and Coxwell Avenue area. Free.

Downsview Park fireworks

A half-hour fireworks show starts at dusk.

35 Carl Hall Rd. (Sheppard Avenue and Keele Street). Free.

Click here for more information.

Canada’s Wonderland

The massive theme park puts on a fireworks show starting at 10 p.m. and is included in the price of admission.

9580 Jane St., Vaughan (Highway 400 and Major Mackenzie Drive West).

Click here for more information.

Toronto RibFest Food & Music Festival at Centennial Park

The annual celebration of barbecued meats runs from June 29 to July 2 at Etobicoke’s Centennial Park, near Eglinton and Renforth. As always, there’ll be award-winning ribs being served up by 16 different vendors. Bloomin’ onions, funnel cake, fries, cotton candy and fresh-squeezed lemonade can also be had.

Bands will take over two stages over the three days.

The Canada Day event — the largest in the country after the party on Parliament Hill — also offers a shaded kids’ area with face painting, music and magic shows. There’s also a midway and a haunted house. Representatives from the Toronto Zoo will also be there with some animal friends.

There will also be a citizenship festival and a fireworks show happens on July 1 at 10 p.m.
Admission is free, but organizers are asking for donations. All proceeds will go to agencies that fight child hunger.

Click here for more information.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Ever imagine what Canada’s first-ever birthday was like? You can travel back in time for a Dominion Day celebration at Black Creek Pioneer Village where historic buildings will be festooned with bunting and Red Ensign flags.

Forty people will also be sworn in as Canadian citizens and Canucks, old and new alike, can share a ride on a horse-drawn wagon.

There will also be musical performances from Pearls of Time, as well as games and crafts for the kids.

And what’s more Canadian than beer? Kick the Canuck factor up a notch with some maple. Grownups can sample and buy maple beer made at the historic onsite brewery.

Adult admission $15, kids (five-15) $11. Kids under four are free. Click here for more information.

Blue Jays

Celebrate July 1 by showing support for the Toronto Blue Jays when they play the Los Angeles Angels at Rogers Centre. The game starts at 3 p.m.

There’ll also be a street festival before the game outside the Rogers Centre.

Click here for ticket information.

CHIN Picnic

The 46th edition of the popular picnic takes over the Canadian National Exhibition grounds June 30, July 1 and July 2. It features a shopping bazaar, midway rides, live music and the highly-anticipated Mr. and Ms. CHIN bikini competition. The party starts at 11 a .m. each day. Admission is free.

Click here for more information.

Watch the video looking at last year’s event:

Canada Day cruise

Mariposa Cruises is offering its annual Canada Day harbour dinner cruise. The event usually sells out quickly.

Boarding is at 7 p.m. and the cruise lasts until 11:30 p.m. and includes a buffet-style dinner. Tickets are $82.95 for adults and $39.95 for kids 12 and under.

Click here for more information.

Queen’s Park

The lawn outside the legislature will be transformed for a day of family fun, including performances highlighting the diversity of Canadian culture, games and rides for kids and other activities.

Runs from noon-5 p.m. Free.

110 Wellesley St. W.

Click here for more information.

Canada Day at Mississauga’s Celebration Square

Call Me Maybe pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen headlines the free party at Celebration Square, across from Square One shopping mall, on July 1. Dragonette will also hit the stage.

Aside from the music, there’ll be plenty of fun for kids, including Puss in Boots live, rock climbing, a circus show and stilt walkers.

And the evening will be capped off with a fireworks display.

The fun starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 10:30 p.m.

Click here for more details.

Digital Dreams Music Festival

Some of the world’s top DJs will be showcasing their talents at Echo Beach, at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Ontario Place Drive, June 30 and July 1.

Kaskade, Afrojack and London Elektricity are among the artists set to hit four stages.

Click here for more information.

Toronto Jazz Festival

Musicians will be playing venues around the city on July 1, the final day of the Toronto Jazz Festival.

Some events are free. Click here for more information.

Brampton Canada Day party at Powerade Centre

Legendary Canadian band April Wine headlines the festivities in Brampton this year at the Powerade Centre on Kennedy Road. The wrestling spectacle TigerFest will also be performing.

There will be games, midway rides and fireworks at the end of the night.

The party is free and runs from noon until 10 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Vaughan Celebrates! Canada Day

1980s new wave group Platinum Blonde headlines the party at Mackenzie Glen District Park in Maple.  Canadian R&B star JRDN will also hit the stage.

The free event runs from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Richmond Hill Canada Day party

The annual celebration happens at Green Park. Details are still being firmed up but visitors can expect perennial favourites including fireworks, a beer garden, food pavilion and local artists. Admission is free.

Click here for more details.

Markham’s Canada Day party

The town will host a citizenship ceremony, fireworks and other activities at Milne Dam Conservation Park. Admission is free.

Click here for more information.

City of Barrie’s Canada Day party

Local dance groups will be showing off their stuff at the daylong party on the city’s waterfront at Heritage Park. There will be a special kids’ zone set up with bouncy castles, face painting and games.

The party starts at 1 p.m. and ends with a fireworks show over Kempenfelt Bay at 10 p.m.

Click here for more details.

View Canada Day events 2012 in a larger map

Here’s a look at Canada Days past in the GTA: