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August long weekend in Toronto: Events, what's open and closed, road closures

A masquerader performs on Lakeshore Boulevard during the Grand Parade at the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Aug. 4, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

When the last long weekend came to an end, you sighed and wondered how quickly the next one would arrive. Well, the August long weekend has arrived, so you can do your happy dance.

And while you are celebrating your day off on Monday, you may also wonder why Civic Day has different names provincially and in different cities in Ontario.

In Toronto, the day is known as Simcoe Day — named in honour of Maj.-Gen. John Graves Simcoe, the founder of York (later known as Toronto) and the first lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada.

Now that you’ve had your brief history lesson, it is time to party. Some revelers will be heading to the cottage or out of town, but if you are staying in town below are some events to check out. Monday is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, so most stores and malls will be be open.

What’s open and closed


  • TTC will run on holiday service
  • GO will run on a Saturday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada’s Wonderland, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo
  • Major malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Dufferin Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Erin Mills Town Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Fairview Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Hillcrest Mall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Scarborough Town Centre 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Sherway Gardens (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Square One (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.),Toronto Premium Outlets (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills Mall (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Yorkdale Shopping Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Select Beer Store locations will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for a list.
  • Several LCBO stores will be open. Click here to search your store.
  • Select grocery stores, call ahead for your local store hours
  • City-run facilities like outdoor pools, splash pads, golf courses, and historic museums
  • Garbage collection: Curbside pickup is not provided on any Monday, but other solid waste collection will be affected. Click here for details.



  • Government offices, municipal buildings and banks
  • All Toronto Public Library branches are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery in several provinces including Ontario

Top events

Grand parade to take over Lake Shore
Colourful costumes, music, dancing, and merriment come together on Saturday for the Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s Grand Parade. The parade starts at 8:30 a.m. at Exhibition Place. Masqueraders and steel pan drums will travel along Lake Shore Boulevard and then make their way back to Exhibition grounds. For those attending the parade, a general admission ticket gets you into Exhibition grounds where you can watch the parade from seats in the bleachers or bring your own folding chair. GO will be offering extra train service on the Milton, Kitchener and Stouffville lines.

Remembering Toronto’s past at Fort York
Back in the early 1790s, John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, wanted to build a garrison on the grounds now known as Fort York. On Monday, go back in time by walking the historic grounds, tour the buildings, visit the working kitchen in the 1815 Officers’ Brick Barracks, and watch artillery and music demonstrations. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No one says no to food trucks
Woodbine Park is the place to be this weekend if you love food trucks and exploring the outdoors. The Toronto Food Truck Festival features the best in food and local entertainment, but also a meeting point for nature lovers. Stroll along the boardwalk in the 28-acre park and check out the wildlife and birds in the area. There is also a water play area and a playground for the children to enjoy. Money raised from the food truck festival goes to the SickKids Foundation. The festival starts on Friday and runs until Monday.

Block party in a laneway
The laneway south of Queen Street West, known as Graffiti Alley, will be the pathway to a free pop-up party, complete with art, wine, music, and games. The party is part of the Laneway Project, which promotes the idea of laneways being vibrant public spaces. The event runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, and admission is free. Go ahead, have fun.

Shakespeare in the park
If you weren’t a fan of reading Shakespeare in high school, you will enjoy seeing the plays unfold on stage. This season’s productions of Shakespeare in High Park include Romeo and Juliet, which is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is on at 8 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices are pay what you can for general seating or $25 for a reserved seat. Performances run until September 2.

Tennis, anyone?
The top players in tennis will be in Toronto and Montreal starting this weekend for the Rogers Cup. Canadian players Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic will be in the spotlight at the men’s competition, which takes place at the Aviva Centre on the York University campus, alongside last year’s champion Alexander Zverev, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. The women’s competition in Montreal will feature Serena Williams, last year’s winner Elina Svitolina, Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, and Angelique Kerber. The competition runs until August 12.

Road closures

Toronto Caribbean Carnival
Lake Shore Boulevard West from Colborne Lodge Drive to Bathurst Street, and Strachan Avenue between Lake Shore and Fleet Street/Manitoba Drive, will be closed from 2 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday. There will be no access to the Gardiner Expressway’s Jameson/Dunn on-ramps and the off-ramp exits will be closed.

Senhor da Pedra Festival
Grace Street from Mansfield Avenue to Dundas Street West will be closed from 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday.