Celebrating Victoria Day in Toronto

Things to Do for the May Long Weekend

Victoria Day fireworks over Toronto
Katrin Ray Shumakov / Getty Images

Victoria Day is a statutory holiday in Canada and falls on the last Monday before May 25th. This year, the May long weekend is May 19-21, 2018. Most people in Canada consider the Victoria Day weekend the real start of summer. The problem is that it's often still pretty cold for the first long weekend of summer. Still, chances are good the weather will be nice enough to be outside, even if you may need a spring jacket. This is why gardening, camping, patio-lounging, fireworks and other outdoor entertainment are all popular choices over the Victoria Day weekend.

Not only that, there's always a lot going on in the city over this pre-summer long weekend, from fireworks to festivals.

So What's the "May Two-Four"?

If you're new to Ontario you should know this weekend has another name—one which has very little to do with celebrating royal birthdays. A "two-four" is slang for a case of 24 beers, and since the Victoria Day Weekend often ends up including the date May 24th, well, the "May Two-Four" is that weekend where you have an extra day to drink or recover—however you want to look at it.

The Start of Gardening Season

In the hopes that the frost is really over, many people break out the gardening gloves for Victoria Day and get dirty. If you're one of them, visit a nursery to get the plants you need (just don't forget to check their hours, first). Many grocery and department stores also have garden centers open for this weekend.

The Start of Camping Season

If you aren't able to make it out to Algonquin Park or other further campground or provincial park, consider the Glen Rouge Campground in Rouge Park. Toronto's only campground may not be as rustic as heading up north, but it also won't cost you nearly as much in gas.

Victoria Day Fireworks

Here are some of the places where you can usually see fireworks on either the Sunday or Monday of the Victoria Day Weekend. Please note that some of these events are weather-permitting and subject to change from year to year, so it's best to confirm closer to the date.

Fireworks at Canada's Wonderland
The giant theme park just north of Toronto usually offers a fireworks display at approximately 10 pm on the Sunday of Victoria Day Weekend. The show is included with park admission.

Fireworks Display at Ashbridges Bay
Head to Ashbridges Bay Park (south of Lakeshore Road East and Coxwell Avenue) for the annual Victoria Day Monday fireworks. The show usually starts around 9:45 pm and lasts about 15 minutes, but head to the Beaches neighborhood early to explore and get a good seat!

Other Special Events for Victoria Day

  • Jubilee Queen Cruises - Victoria Day Cruise: Previously the Jubilee Queen Cruise's Victoria Day Celebration cruise was timed to coincide with the fireworks from Ontario Place. However, even when there are nor fireworks scheduled, Jubilee usually offers a dinner cruise on Sunday.
  • Junior, Harbourfront Centre’s new international children’s festival: If you've got kids, this new festival for 2018 is happening May 19-25 and includes a whole host of kid and family-friendly events featuring free and ticketed activities like circus, storytelling, music as well as great food.
  • Artfest at the Distillery: Head down to the historic Distillery District for this arts and craft show taking place throughout the Victoria Day weekend for 2018. Stroll the Distillery's cobbled streets and browse jewellery, clothes, art, photography, sculpture, and more.
  • Spring Beerfest TO: Love beer? You might want to think about heading to Spring Beerfest TO at Fort York Garrison Common May 19-20, 2018. There will be lots of beer and food trucks and the event happens rain or shine.

Victoria Day at Toronto's Historic Sites

Toronto's family-friendly historic sites such as Fort York, Colborne Lodge, and Montgomery's Inn celebrate the Queen's birthday with teas, tours and more.

Updated by Jessica Padykula