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As usual, the GTA has more festivities than you can shake a stick at this Canada Day.  Below are some of the highlights - and all of them are free!  So pack up the brood and go celebrate!

1. Scotiabank CHIN Picnic -- this event is a Toronto institution.  It's now in its 45th year and touts itself as "the largest free multicultural picnic in the world".  It takes place at Exhibition Place over three days: July 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  There will be thousands of singers, dancers and performers from all over the world, as well as oodles of activities for kids of all ages (including a bikini pageant for those of you who are into that sort of thing).  Getting there by public transit is easy.  The Lakeshore GO train stops right in the grounds and there are lots of options by TTC.  Click here for more info on transit.

2. In case you didn't get your fill of ribs on Father's Day, now is your chance!  Don't miss Toronto Ribfest, happening all weekend at Centennial Park in the city's west end.  With live music, appearances by NHL players and even a haunted house, there's something sure to please everyone.  There is a large parking area available, but it can get pretty hairy, so get there early or consider taking public transit.  A bus from Royal York Station will get you right there.

3. Harbourfront Centre -- Okay, if I didn't already have a poolside reservation at Grammy's house, I would definitely be all over this festival.  The highlight will surely be the attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records for the most layers in a layer cake with a THREE HUNDRED LAYER cake.  They'll be building it throughout the day and the delicious tower of goodness will be served to all attendees at the end of the day.  There's also some music, canoeing in a pond, a strawberry festival and Canadian-themed craft tent for kids. But really, who needs any of that if you have a THREE HUNDRED LAYER CAKE!

4.  I would be remiss to leave out PRIDE - a festival celebrating Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA communities.  Although PRIDE week started last weekend, the biggest events are held this weekend.  Some of the highlights are:  The Dyke March (July 1st) and The Pride Parade (July 3rd) - the parade which is the largest of its kind in North America, will be celebrating its 31st year!  Click here for more info and a schedule of events.  Most events happen in the downtown core, so get a daypass and hop on the TTC to attend as many events as you can handle!

5. Finally, no Canada Day celebration would be complete without fireworks.  Most areas of the city will have displays to watch.  Some of the bigger ones are:  Ashbridges Bay, Ontario Place, and Canada's Wonderland.  The shows don't start until it's dark enough, which will be around 10pm. 

A (more) complete list of what's happening in and around Toronto can be found on the 680 News site here.

And for all you ex-pats or Canadaphiles living around London, Trafalgar Square will once again host the largest Canada Day celebration outside of Canada.  The line-up of activities is impressive:  hockey matches, yoga classes and a concert that ends with that quintessential Canadian band, Blue Rodeo.  Click here for more details: http://www.canadadaylondon.com/


Happy 144th Birthday, Canada!

p.s. What are you doing this year to celebrate?  Send me photos of you and your family celebrating and I'll post them here with a link back to your site.