It’s the first long weekend of the summer, which means one thing: picking up a two-four and hitting the road.
Then again, there’s more than one way to celebrate Victoria Day. Here are some of the special events happening across Ontario cottage country this May long weekend.
Elora en Plein Air
May 16-19, Elora
Rain or shine, visual artists will be spread throughout the Grand River area putting brush to canvas. Watch them at work, or head to the Elora Centre for the Arts on May 21, which is where you can view winning entries and buy their work.
May 17-19, Midland
If the thought of 150 people simultaneously playing ukuleles fills you with unadulterated joy, then Midland is where you need to be. “Uke-Mania,” a mass jam session, may be the highlight of the three-day Uke Fest, but there’s something for players of all skill levels, including workshops, concerts, and vendors.
Party in the Vineyard
May 17-19, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Every year, Peller Estates hosts a “backyard bash” with food, entertainment, and (need we even mention it?) wine. This year, the event is being taken up a notch with 20 food trucks and pop-up vendors. Tickets, which are $20, include a glass of wine.
May long weekend at Blue Mountain Village
May 18-20, Collingwood
Blue Mountain Village’s Victoria Day festivities have everything you might expect including scavenger hunts, live music, and, of course, fireworks. Taking centre stage will be Vague de Cirque, a Montreal circus troupe, but we’re most excited about the donut eating competition.
Muskoka 2/4 Craft Beer Festival
May 18, Huntsville
Why limit yourself to buying a 2-4 when you can sample dozens of craft beers in one spot? That’s the appeal of Huntsville’s annual Craft Beer Festival in River Mill Park. Advance tickets are $20, which include three beers and a mug.
Lake Muskoka Pike Open
May 18, Gravenhurst
We doubt you need another excuse to get out on the lake this weekend, but here’s the perfect one. In Lake Muskoka’s Pike Open, teams will compete to catch the biggest fish. If you miss out, Hunstville is hosting its own fishing tournament the following day.
Marsh by Moonlight Paddle
May 18 & 19, Midland
Take your date or family to the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre for a moonlit tour of the surrounding wetlands and forest. On Friday and Saturday night, the facility is hosting a guided tour through the marsh in voyageur canoes, followed by hot drinks and fire-roasted bannock. Tours start at 7:30 p.m., with a cost of $35 per person.
Gathering of Friends Loyalist Re-enactment
May 18 & 19, Ameliasburg
If you’re having trouble imagining a time before Prince Edward County became hipster heaven, then this event is for you. Hosted by the County Museums, you can experience life in the 1700s, including popular games that hit the scene centuries before Cards Against Humanity.
Queen Victoria Birthday Celebrations
May 19, Morrisburg
With the wedding of Prince Harry still fresh, there’s no better time for a royal revival. Upper Canada Village is spending the day celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday in true 1860s style. Just remind yourself that you’ve got an extra day off work and we guarantee that you’ll be singing “God Save the Queen” at top volume. Oh, and did we mention there will be birthday cake?
Art on the Street
May 18, Collingwood
The streets of downtown Collingwood come alive with this outdoor art exhibition of hand-painted Muskoka chairs by local artists. This year’s theme is ‘Collingwood’s Historic Downtown through the Decades’ celebrating Collingwood’s 160 th Anniversary and the history of the people and celebrations that enriched the downtown area. Grab an iced coffee as you stroll downtown and take a moment to relax in your favourite one-of-a-kind art chair.
Butter Tart Festival
May 18, Orillia
Nothing is more delicious or as Canadian as a butter tart. Visit the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market on the Saturday of the long weekend, as they serve up Butter Tarts of all kinds, along with a contest to determine who the best Butter Tart maker is.