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Cannot believe our luck!

San Jose, California
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Cannot believe our luck!

After (2) visits to Toronto last year - we did not think we would be able to make a visit this year ... and oh my - found out I get a (5) day weekend for the July 4th holiday!! Yippee! That's all I needed to book an air ticket and "Priceline" hotels. Luckily, we got the Sheraton, which we stayed once before and LOVED the placed.

Question for local experts ... where can I find out what's going on that weekend - ie festivals, concerts, ballgames, etc.

Also - we have several solid days this time in Toronto - should we pay a visit to the Toronto Islands?

Thanks in advance from Chicago!

Toronto
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1. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

I recommend www.toronto.com for a listing of events that will be happening when you are here.

A trip to the islands is always nice. It's not TOO exciting, but it's a great way to relax, enjoy the view of the skyline and hang out on the beach.

Centre Island also has a small amusement park, if you're into that.

northern Ontario
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for Toronto, Quebec City
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2. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Check out The Air Canada Center and Onatrio Place and possibly Massey Hall for concerts while you are there.

http://www.theaircanadacentre.com/

http://www.ontarioplace.com/en/

http://www.masseyhall.com/roythomson/home.cfm

Ballgame...check out the Roger's Center.

http://www.rogerscentre.com/

This site may help as well with tickets.

tickco.com/venue_schedules/air_canada_center…

Good luck.

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

July 1 is Canada Day. Most stores etc. are closed during the day but there will be concerts and fireworks, including a bunch at City Hall. In fact, if you can get a north-facing room at the Sheraton, you'll have a very comfortable place to watch them from.

There are better fireworks at Ontario Place as they're part of the Festival of Fire international fireworks competition; they also have shows on three other days. www.ontarioplace.com/en/events/festival.html

The islands are definitely worth a visit -- low key but a great place to walk around, with excellent views of the city. Ferry lines get very long (more than an hour) on weekends, so I'd leave this for later in your trip when us Canadians are back at work.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Hey Matt ... thank you so much for telling us that! I saw this on the calendar but did not know what it was - similar to our 4th?

We are spending our first night (Friday June 30th) at Niagara Falls and planning on vineyard hopping all the way back to Toronto on Saturday July 1st. Will the vineyards be open?

Will the traffic be crazy trying to get downtown to the Sheraton on the 1st if there are celebrations at the city hall? That worries me a bit because we planned on parking at the city hall parking lot!

Would it be wise to drop the car back to the airport on Saturday - is there a transit system from Lester to downtown (or shuttle bus)?

Sorry for all the questions - but in Chicago - when we have our celebration - the traffic ties up for hours!!!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Yes, July 1 is the country's birthday (the British act of Parliament that created Canada took effect on July 1, 1867) and the celebrations are similar to Independence Day. The vineyards might have special celebrations for Canada Day, or they might give their staff time off -- I'd definitely recommend calling a few (or checking their web sites) for holiday info.

Traffic will be busier than a usual weekend, but probably not as bad as a weekday rush hour. The City Hall parking lot is very large, but is also convenient to the Eaton Centre (one of the few malls open that day), so you're probably right to worry a bit. I've never tried parking downtown on Canada Day so I can't say for sure.

But you shouldn't need your car for your stay downtown anyway, unless you're planning a trip to a distant sight like the zoo. So the idea of dropping off the car at the airport sounds wise to me (and might save you a fair bit of money). For a list of ways to get downtown from Lester B. Pearson International Airport, see the Inside Toronto: Arriving & Departing page, tripadvisor.com/Travel-g155019-s301/Toronto:… .

Ottawa, Ontario...
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6. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

JulesTravel -

Yes, you may want to drop your car off, rather than parking it downtown - particularly if you don't think you'll need the car during your Toronto stay. Dropping it at the airport and catching a shuttle bus downtown is probably your best best. As an alternative, consider dropping your car at a downtown location of your car rental agency after confirming they'd drop you at the Sheraton after you drop off the car (most car rental companies will do this) - only problem here, on July 1st, car rental locations apart from the airport may be closed.

Yes, Canada Day - Saturday, July 1st is in many ways much like the fourth of July - festivals, concerts, fireworks, etc. Most businesses will be closed, although shops in some tourist locations will likely be open - the Eaton Centre I would expect will be open.

Also - the Blue Jays will be in town at Rogers Centre on Saturday, July 1st (4pm start) and Sunday, July 2nd (1pm start) - both games are against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Noel

Toronto, Canada
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for Toronto
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7. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

You can also see what's going on at Harbourfront Centre (www.harbourfront.on.ca) as well as there is a Jazz festival on (www.torontojazz.com)

Enjoy your stay. Let us know what you've already done and what you'd like to do this time.

-UF

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Hi Jules,

You can also take the TTC from the airport (city transit) - a bus runs from one of the terminals - check out - you will have to transfer - but it is a cheap way to get around - they also offer deals on long weekends and family passes

www.toronto.ca/ttc/service_to_airport.htm

they also have info. on what is going on in Toronto on their site too.

http://www.toronto.ca/events/index.htm

Many people goto the Fire Works at Exhibition stadium - and there is usually a shuttle bus from Union Stn - or a street car that goes direct for special events...

Have a great trip!

San Jose, California
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9. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Thanks for the info ... Just realized, we actually got a bargain car from Priceline - prepaid so we have car until we leave ... so we'll have to park at the city lot across from the Sheraton.

Seriously - with the fireworks going on July 1st - what time do you believe we need to get to the Sheraton / city lot to ensure parking there (ie like 10am - or can we leave it until afternoon)?

I noticed the fireworks for 10:30pm on Saturday July 1st ... where should we go to watch them?

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Cannot believe our luck!

Maybe someone else has parked there on Canada Day before -- I really don't know. I'd _guess_ that a bunch of people won't arrive until mid-afternoon, since the bigger-name entertainers play later and the fireworks don't start until after dark.

Personally, I wouldn't suggest rushing your time in the Niagara area just to make sure you get a City Hall parking spot! If that lot is full, you're not out of options, and could always move the car the next day. Your fallbacks could be:

- The opera house just west of the Sheraton ( 200 space garage, www.fourseasonscentre.ca ) -- brand new so people may not know about it yet, though I'm not sure if they allow overnight parking.

- Queen & Victoria garage ( 650 spaces, greenp.com/tpa/…26.jsp )

- Dundas Square garage ( 270 spaces, greenp.com/tpa/…34.jsp )

- St. Lawrence Garage ( 2008 spaces, greenp.com/tpa/…43.jsp ) -- this one's about a 20 minute walk, so you'd probably want to drop your bags off first

- The Sheraton Centre itself, just for that one night

As for fireworks on July 1, the Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) ones will be closest but the bigger fireworks shows are along the water. The best place for viewing is probably Ontario Place (streetcar from Union Station to Exhibition, follow the crowds south), but they do charge admission. There are also harbour cruises that would have great views. For free viewing, find a spot along the waterfront, like the grassy hill behind the Westin Harbour Castle, just by the ferry docks.