10 Family Fun Ideas for the Civic Holiday Long Weekend
Friday Jul 15th, 2022
The long weekend is a great opportunity to spend time together and bond as a family. With all the amazing festivals, theater, local destinations, family attractions, and special events in Toronto and the GTA, you’ll have no problem keeping busy and having tons of fun.
Luckily, most of the weekend fun is free, so you won’t even have to blow your budget. To make it easy, we put together a list of 10 great ways to spend the long weekend with your family.
1. SEE SOME LIVE MUSIC
There are tons of great free festivals happening over the long weekend, so it’s super easy to enjoy live performances. Choose from locations, or personal musical preferences, and head out!
Island Soul – FREE
Island Soul festival is celebrating and exploring the Caribbean, with music, art, dancing, film, great food, and fun family activities.
July 29–Aug 1
TD IRIE Music Festival – FREE
Enjoy this family-friendly festival at Nathan Phillip Square in celebration of African Canadian culture. IRIE Music Festival has awesome reggae music, art, dance, literature, and delicious tropical food and drinks.
African Music Extravaganza – FREE
Head to Yonge-Dundas Square with friends and family to help celebrate African music, dance, and food at the African Music Extravaganza!
Singing Ambassadors on Toronto’s Waterfront – FREE
Thursday through Monday until September 5, you can enjoy impromptu a cappella renditions of classic summer hits along the waterfront thanks to the Singing Ambassadors.
2. WATCH A MOVIE
Now that summer is in full swing, there is more time for leisure activities, like watching a movie. There are some great film screenings around Toronto that you won’t want to miss, including FREE family-friendly outdoor movies. Also on this weekend:
3. ATTEND A BASEBALL GAME
The kids will be over the moon to see the Blue Jays up close, especially if they get to participate in Jr. Jays Saturdays, a special event where kids can run the bases and enjoy other fun activities during the game. This Saturday (July 30) the Jays are up against the Baltimore Orioles.
4. EAT SOME AWESOME FOOD
All of the festivals will have interesting food to taste, but there are also food specific events that are perfect for the whole family.
Toronto Food Truck Festival – FREE
Woodbine Park is hosting the Toronto Food Truck Festival this weekend. There will be tons of amazing farm fresh food, more than 30 food trucks, eating challenges, live music, and more.
Scarborough Ribfest – FREE
Head to Thomson Memorial Park for Scarborough Ribfest this weekend. There will be tons of family fun, including midway rides, karaoke, crafts, and entertainment. Aside from delicious ribs, there will also be hot dogs, corn on the cob, french fries, and more!
Waterfront Artisan Market
While there will also be unique art and hand-crafted goods to browse, the food is one of the main reasons to visit the Waterfront Artisan Market. With freshly made donuts, lemonade, and hot pastrami, you’ll want to eat your way through this open-air market.
July 30–Aug 1
*For more local markets, check out our Toronto Farmers’ Market Guide.
Ice Cream Carnival
The Ice Cream Carnival is a family event celebrating summer. Head to Westfield Heritage Village to enjoy old-fashioned food, games, music, and fun. See how hand-cranked ice cream is made before having a taste!
July 31–Aug 1
5. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR 4-LEGGED FRIENDS
Here are a few events especially for animal lovers.
DogLoversDays – FREE
Bring your dog to this pet-friendly festival and let Fido have a day of fun. At DogLoversDays dogs get to play ball, enjoy a pamper zone, visit a healer, enjoy agility and speed tracks, and more!
WoofJocks Canine All-Stars – FREE
Head to Purina PawsWay to enjoy this awesome dog show. Professional dog trainers and their talented dogs will show off with tricks, obedience drills, games, musical freestyling, and more. WoofJocks Canine All-Stars is an educational and entertaining event for the whole family!
July 30–Aug 1
Tiger Awareness Weekend
This weekend is Tiger Awareness Weekend at the Toronto Zoo, where you can support the conservation efforts for endangered tigers, learn more about tigers, enjoy kid-friendly activities, and see a special tiger training demonstration.
HorseCapades at the CNE – FREE
Welcome to the magical world of horses. The CNE is hosting HorseCapades, where you can learn about horse grooming and shoeing, enjoy wagon rides, pet horses, participate in pony rides, and have fun watching trick-riding, racing, and other awesome horse shows.
July 31–Aug 18
6. GET CRAFTY
Many of the festivals and events around the GTA this weekend also have fun arts and crafts projects for kids to enjoy. Keep busy and bring home some great art.
HarbourKIDS – FREE
Kids of all ages can get hands-on at Harbourfront Centre this weekend. The crafts at HarbourKids are Caribbean-themed as part of Island Soul festival.
July 30–Aug 1
7. ENJOY SOME THEATRE
While the array of kids’ theater in the GTA might not be specifically for the long weekend, it’s as good a time as any to enjoy a live performance.
Alice in Wonderland at the Shaw Festival
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at the Stratford Festival
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical at Ed Mirvish Theatre
Superdude and Doctor Rude at The Second City
Peter and The Starcatcher at Lower Ossington Theatre
Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well at High Park – FREE
8. GO FOR A SWIM
When the summer heat is turned way up, the only way to cool down is to go for a refreshing dip. Luckily, there are tons of kid-friendly pools, lakes, and wading pools in the GTA to splash around in.
Head to one of these 6 Blue Flag beaches, or an outdoor swimming pool if sand isn’t your thing. If you’ve got big kids, they’ll have a blast at one of the water parks or wave pools in the GTA; however, if you’ve got little fishes who can’t handle the deep end, you can always head to one of Toronto’s splash pads and wading pools.
9. TAKE A TRIP
Long weekends are a great time to hit the open road and have a family adventure. If you’re looking to leave the city in your dust, try one of these awesome family road trip itineraries. If you only have the day to get away, here are 10 day trips to take from Toronto.
If your kids are desperate to roast some marshmallows and sing songs by the fire, you could also head to one of the great camping spots near Toronto and spend the night sleeping under the stars.
10. PLAN A STAYCATION
There are so many awesome things going on in Toronto and the GTA this weekend, so it’s more than okay to just stay home. This is a good chance to plan a staycation and pretend you are a tourist by checking some items off your must-do list of family attractions in Toronto.