It’s Friday, the sun is shining, the roads are clear (!), the hotels are booked, and the long weekend beckons. There’s so much to do, starting tonight at 7:00 pm, one could party all weekend long and then blame the rain Tuesday morning for being unable to make it to work on time.
Simcoe Day holiday begins tonight with Caribana Festival’s Pan Alive at Lamport Stadium. Listen and dance to steelpan bands as they compete for best band. That’ll be your dancing feet warm up for tomorrow, for tomorrow is the all-day-long Caribana Parade where even police officers smile and chat and maybe even do a move or two — or they did in the years I went. Television news was singularly unhelpful in showing the parade route, and even the Caribana site isn’t very specific. So here it is: It starts at the west end of Exhibition Place, fairly close to the Dufferin street gates, and it ends at Sunnyside at approximately 6:00 pm. The old route down University Avenue was better as it was equidistant for those from both the east and the west, but I guess Lakeshore is bigger and less disruptive to downtown traffic. Oh well. Caribana festivities continue on Sunday on Olympic Island. For all the details, visit the CBC site.
Now if all that dancing has you hot and breathing hard, and you just want some peace for a bit, check out the Chinese Lantern Festival at Ontario Place. It runs nightly from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm; it features acts, food, stuff, and movies; and of course it’s the largest lantern presentation in North America.
Then on Simcoe Day — the holiday Monday — as you’re chilling down, learn why we call it Simcoe Day at Fort York. Watch musketry, men and women drilling in period military costume, and the 1:00 pm parade. Fort York is an under-rated jewel of Toronto history, a haven from modern Toronto — if you can just ignore the Gardiner looming over to the south, which actually once you’re fully into what’s going on isn’t too hard to do.
So there you have it, a full weekend of being entertained and joining in the entertainment. Or you could just turn on the barbie, kick back, and put your feet up. This is the best of Toronto! Happy Simcoe Day!