Following two years of events subdued by the COVID-19 pandemic, Londoners will be marking this Canada Day with fireworks and festivities.
980 CFPL has compiled a list of some of the events taking place in the city this Friday and throughout the long weekend, including downtown markets, Canada Day picnics and more.
Friday will also see the return of the Turtle Island Healing Walk in the downtown core to honour the Indigenous children who died and suffered abuse in Canada’s residential school system.
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🎆 Fireworks 🎆
Fireworks will be making a triumphant return to London’s Harris Park this Friday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
The free fireworks display, presented by the City of London, will begin at 10 p.m. in the park along the Thames.
Those heading downtown are encouraged to park at one of the municipal lots near Harris Park.
City of London to host return of Canada Day fireworks in Harris Park
It’s not the only fireworks display taking place in the city, however.
Residents in London’s Byron neighbourhood will be treated to a display organized by the Optimist Club of Byron.
The west end Canada Day event gets underway at 5 p.m. at the Byron Optimist Sports Complex on Boler Road with clowns, face painting, music and more. The light show itself will get underway at dusk.
The event is free, but parking at the complex will cost $5, organizers say.
For Londoners looking to set off their own fireworks in the backyard, the city is reminding residents that the current bylaw allows fireworks between dusk and 11 p.m. on Victoria Day and Canada Day only.
The London Fire Department urges residents to follow all fireworks safety precautions.
Downtown night market
To usher in the Canada Day long weekend, Londoners can check out the return of the downtown night market along Dundas Place at the intersection of Dundas and Talbot streets.
The free event, organized by the London Heritage Council, runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, featuring food and drink stands, local breweries and wineries, artisan vendors and live entertainment, including Ukwehuwe Connection, Street Garba, Lion Dancers, DJ Wickham and more.
The event will return the following day for Canada Day, running from noon until 10 p.m., featuring even more live entertainment as well as a kids zone, leading up to the fireworks display in nearby Harris Park.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
In the city’s northeast, Fanshawe Pioneer Village will be marking Canada Day with a free event from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
“This Canada Day, take a step back in time and enjoy heritage music and fun!” the village’s website reads.
“Try our traditional fair games, learn dances of the past, and enjoy live musical performances at the Village!”
The Schotts, PG Tips, and the duo Amy Barten and Stephen Holowitz are the live performers slated to entertain those on hand.
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Picnics on the green
Elsewhere in the city, two Canada Day picnics will be held Friday – one in the city’s north and the other in the west.
One picnic will get underway at Grosvenor Lodge on Western Road around 11 a.m. Friday, running until 2:30 p.m., organized by Heritage London Foundation.
The event will see family friendly activities including crafts, cake, lawn games and live music featuring Alyssa Bart and Ben Heffernan, the event page says.
Attendees are asked to bring a picnic lunch and a blanket or chairs.
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In the west end, a picnic will also get underway at 11 a.m. at Oakridge Optimist Park, running until 2 p.m.
The Oakridge event will feature a toonie community barbecue, live music from Newport Electric and Ken Eastwood, a free swim in the pool from noon until 2 p.m., and more, the event’s Facebook page says.
First responder vehicles, including a firetruck, will also be on hand, according to the page.
Those attending are asked to bring a picnic, blanket and a swimsuit.
Take me out to the ballgame
Ahead of the fireworks in Harris Park, why not take in a ballgame at London’s historic Labatt Park?
The London Majors are set to take on the Barrie Baycats on home turf, with first pitch set for 7:35 p.m. Majors officials say attendees will be able to sit on the field and watch the nearby fireworks when they get underway around 10 p.m.
The Majors will travel to Welland for a game against the Jackfish on Saturday night, but will return to Labatt Park Sunday afternoon for a match-up against the Brantford Red Sox.
Tickets for both home games can be purchased through the London Majors online store, $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and youth.
Turtle Island Healing Walk
This Canada Day, like last year, is being seen in a different light following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools in Kamloops, B.C. and elsewhere in Canada.
Last summer saw the first Turtle Island Healing Walk through the city’s downtown core to honour Indigenous children who died and suffered abuse in the residential school system, a walk which will return this year.
“Last year, we hosted the first #TurtleIslandHealingWalk. It came at a time when Indigenous communities all across Turtle Island and beyond, were mourning, as our missing children were being found and sent to the Spirit World,” a post on the event’s Facebook page reads.
“This day is a day to honour. This walk is a walk to heal. And our future is a future of hope. We may not know their names but together we lift them up. On July 1st, we walk for them.”
Over 10,000 people gathered in London, Ont. to honour victims of residential schools
Participants will gather in Victoria Park at 9:30 a.m., with the walk set to get underway at 10:15 a.m.
The walk will travel north up Richmond Street, east down Oxford Street, south down Colborne Street, and west down Dufferin Avenue.
More than 10,000 people gathered and took part in the walk last year.
Other long weekend events
- The London Dance Festival, which kicks off Thursday on Dundas Place, will continue at Ivey Park on Saturday and at Reimagine Co on Sunday.
- A Canada Day-themed poutine patio party will be held at East Park from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday.
- An all-ages lip sync battle, Throwdown at the Throne Room, will get underway Saturday night at the Rec Room in Masonville.
- An outdoor movie night will take place Sunday at Doidge Park featuring a screening of Disney’s Moana.
- The Latin Market, held every Sunday until late September, continues this weekend outside of the Covent Garden Market.
- The Springbank Garden Concert Series kicks off Sunday with entertainment by Nevin Campbell and Ken Foster Quartet. The series will take place on Sundays through the summer.
London Transit service
Bus service on Friday will be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule, according to the London Transit Commission.
The commission notes the following service changes will be in place this week and weekend for events in the downtown:
- Thursday: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13, 19 and 20 will have detours.
- Friday: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 will have detours.
- Saturday and Sunday: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13, 19, 20 will have detours.
Full information on specific route detours can be found on the London Transit website.
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