Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Fireworks are a popular way to kick off the unofficial start of summer. Canada’s Wonderland is planning fireworks on May 22 after the park closes (weather permitting) and Niagara Falls starts its nightly firework display on May 20 at 10 p.m. But many places across the province will have light shows too, so be sure to check out events planned in your area or the destinations you plan to visit.DREAMSTIME

Whether you call it the May Long or the May Two-Four, Canada’s Victoria Day weekend signals the unofficial start of summer and long overdue fun and adventure. And there is no shortage of things to see and do in Ontario as we bid farewell to winter and get this summer started.

Adventure and adrenalin

The region of York Durham Headwaters kicks off what is sure to be a summer of adventure and adrenalin-pumping fun beginning with a visit to Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan. This year, families can get back to their favourite rides, including 17 roller coasters such as Behemoth, Leviathan and Yukon Striker, the world record-breaking dive coaster. There are two designated children’s areas featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts gang with a spectacular display of fireworks and choreographed soundtrack planned for May 22 over the park skyline!

For a real rush, catch the sights and sounds of the Castrol Victoria Day SpeedFest at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Canada’s largest motorsports complex located in Bowmanville, east of Toronto. Racing action on the track features the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Nissan Sentra Cup, Sports Car Championship Canada and Emzone Radical Cup Canada, both presented by Michelin, and the Super Production Challenge Series. Off the track, visitors can take in the team paddock areas where the transporters, cars, crews and drivers are based, along with an amazing collection of souvenirs. A highlight is the traditional fireworks display that will light up the sky on May 22.

Fresh and fun

Head to Northumberland County on the north shore of Lake Ontario east of Toronto at the beginning of farm market season to find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to artisan soaps and local cider and beer. One of the oldest markets in Ontario, Cobourg’s Farmers’ Market, was established in 1839 and offers locally grown and certified organic produce, crafts, flowers, plants, cheeses, farm fresh meats, breads, pastries, and other delectables.

Plan your getaway, with shopping list in hand, for markets in the Ontario municipalities of Port Hope, Cobourg, Cambellford and Hastings on May 21, and in Codrington on May 22.

Northumberland County is also home to the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre in the Town of Cobourg. The centre opens on the May long weekend with an exciting new theme, The Heinous, the Heroic & the High Flyers, which tells the stories of notable characters from the county’s past.

The Cobourg Museum Foundation restored the town’s oldest limestone building and a 19th-century workman’s cottage and converted them into the Sifton-Cook Heritage Centre, which features a 250-foot operating railway that is a 1/20 scale model of the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway from the 1850s to 1880s and which runs the length of the property.

Artistic activities

Ontario theatres, galleries and museums roll out their red carpets in May and the City of Brampton has a terrific lineup of live plays and art exhibits at multiple venues, offering the ultimate cultural experience for enthusiasts of all ages.

From May 20 to May 22, the iconic Rose Brampton is the scene of a gripping jury-room drama, 12 Angry Jurors, based on the Emmy award-winning television movie by Reginald Rose. Watch and listen as 12 jurors deliberate after hearing the arguments in a murder trial in which a 19-year-old boy is accused of murdering his father.

Winter may be over, but hockey season continues at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in Brampton. Power Play: Hockey in Contemporary Art can be experienced in-person or virtually through to June 12 with 45 works of art in diverse media by 13 artists and a selection of archival objects from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

For a change of pace, discover the beautiful story of Raven and Sedna through Inuit sculpture in Sedna: Inuit Goddess of the Sea, in the atrium level of the same building. Continue outdoors where Nigerian-born Bidemi Oloyede rethinks the image of the Black male subject through portraiture in a PAMA outdoor banner display titled Bidemi Oloyede: I am Hu(e)Man, one of 140 exhibits and installations of the 26th edition of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

Interact with The Globe