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Victoria Day 2013 fireworks & events across Toronto

The sky above Toronto will be lit up on Monday night as the city celebrates Victoria Day with fireworks and there are plenty of activities to do all long weekend long.

CityNews meteorologist Adam Stiles said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the forecast but warned Monday could be a wet one.

Canada has been celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday since 1845, the year the May long weekend became a holiday. It became a legal day off after the monarch’s death in 1901.

The original rules stated Victoria Day would be celebrated annually on May 24, regardless of what day that was, unless it was a Sunday – and then the observance would be moved to the 25.

That changed with an amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952, when the government declared Victoria Day would come on the Monday preceding May 25. It’s been there ever since.

And if you’re thinking have having your own homegrown celebration, think again: Toronto bylaws prohibit the setting off or selling fireworks in any city park.

Fireworks displays:

Ashbridges Bay Park (Coxwell Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard, Toronto)
Monday May 20 at 10 p.m.
The city will show off more than 2,000 fireworks, complete with a spectacular finale.
Click here for more.

Canada’s Wonderland (Major MacKenzie Drive and Highway 400, Vaughan)
Sunday May 19 at approximately 10 p.m. Weather permitting.
The show features over 4000 explosions, all set to a soundtrack.
Click here for more.

Dundas Driving Park (King Street West and Sydenham Street, Dundas)
Sunday May 19 at 9:30 p.m.
Rain date: Monday May 20, 2012 at 9:30 p.m.
Click here for more.

Blue Mountain (Grey Road and Mountain Road, Collingwood)
Saturday May 18 at 9:30 p.m.
Click here for more.

Victoria Day events:

Canadian Youth Circus at Harbourfront Centre (at the foot of Simcoe Street)
Circus performers, including acrobats, daredevils and clowns will demonstrate and young spectators will get the chance to try some tricks too as part of the Toronto International Circus Festival. Free. Saturday-Monday. Shows at 11:30 a.m. daily. Click here for more.

Toronto Zoo (2000 Meadowvale Rd.)
One of the most anticipated exhibits in decades opens at the Zoo with this weekend, with the arrival of two giant pandas from China. Er Shun and Da Mao will remain in the city for five years before heading to Calgary. Opens Saturday. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. $18-$28. Click here for more.

Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)
Explore 7.5 acres of farmland – including ponds, gardens and woods – check out the animals and speak with a farmer. Note: this is not a petting zoo. Saturday-Monday. 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Free.  Click here for more.

Far Enough Farm (Toronto Island)
This is a petting zoo. Check out horses, donkeys, pigs, peacocks, rabbits and many more at Toronto’s Centre Island. Go while you can – the farm is slated to be closed in June. Free. Click here for more.

High Park Zoo (High Park Parkside Road entrance)
The mini-zoo has lamas, buffalos, bisons, deer and other animals – plus, it’s surrounded by one  Toronto’s largest parks. Saturday-Monday. 7 a.m. –dusk. Free.  Click here for more.

Fort York (100 Garrison Rd. near Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard)
Visit the birthplace of Toronto and check out family-friendly activities like soldier’s drill and demonstrations of Georgian-era cooking techniques. Monday. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Adults $7.96, children $3.76, youth $4.87, seniors $3.81(plus tax). Ages 3 and under free.

A slightly older crowd can check out a walking tour of the historic district. It starts at the canteen and traces the early British military plans for the development and defence of the small colonial capital. Monday. 1 p.m. Free. Click here for more.

Montgomery’s Inn (4709 Dundas St W, near Islington Avenue, in Etobicoke)
Take in a Victoria Day tea and tour at the museum – the afternoon service is “fit for a Queen.” The cost includes a tour of the museum. Monday. 1 a.m. – 4 pm. $10. All ages welcome. Click here for more.

Outside Toronto:

Food Truck Eats (Peller Estates Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Sample food from 20 different vendors at one of the largest food truck events in North America. It all takes place at the beautiful Peller Estates Winery – and yes, wine pairings are available. Saturday (1 p.m. – 6 p.m. ) and Sunday (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.).  $15. Click here for more.

Portarama Family Festival (Patterson Park, Township of Tay)
The family-friendly long weekend kicks off with a youth dance on Friday night and continues with face-painting,  a bike-decoration competition and a parade.  There are also fireworks on Saturday night and bingo and karaoke for the older crowd. Friday-Sunday. $5. Click here for more.

Adventure Park (Horseshoe Resort, Barrie)
Get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline course, follow it up with a climbing wall race, and then speed downhill on mountain bikes as Horseshoe Resort opens its Adventure Park for the summer season.  Alternatively, slow it down with a round of mini-golf. Saturday and Sunday. Day passes $19-$25. Click here for more.

What’s open & closed on Victoria Day

Closed:

•    LCBO and beer stores
•    Government offices
•    Libraries & schools
•    Banks will be closed
•    No garbage pick-up
•    No mail delivery

Open:

•    TTC will run on a holiday schedule
•    GO Transit will run on a Sunday schedule
•    Eaton Centre, Square One, Vaughan Mills, Cookstown Outlet Mall, Bramalea City Centre and Pacific Mall
•    Tourist sites: Toronto Zoo (the panda exhibit opens on Saturday), ROM, Ontario Science Centre and many more