Flashback : Victoria Day Festival

Here's a great post by Sara about the Victoria Festival from a couple of years ago. I'd never heard of this festival until she first wrote about it! Don't miss out on the Victoria Day Festival which runs from May 11 - 21. We haven't been this year so all the descriptions may not be exactly accurate for what they've got going on this year. ~Lara by Sara

The Victoria Day Festival is the perfect opportunity to combine kid-friendly fun with tulip gazing at Dow's Lake.  The Festival runs from May 13th to May 24th and culminates with a fireworks show on the final evening.  The festival is being held at Queen Juliana Park (corner of Carling and Preston), which is across the road from Commissioner's Park on Dow's Lake.

On the weekends there is a charity breakfast from 7 am to 11 am and all proceeds are donated to CHEO.  The festival opens weekdays at 4 pm and free parking is available (evenings and weekends) at the Sir John Carling building across the road as well as the Dow's Lake NCC parking lot and Dow's Lake Court parking lot (intersection of Champagne and Carling)

We arrived just as the midway opened at 11 o'clock and took advantage of our early start: the boys were oftentimes the only kids on the rides.  The rides are best suited to preschool and elementary children, with only two stomach-churning spinning contraptions on site.  There is a 7 metre high Ferris wheel, which gives you a birds-eye view of Dow's lake and the tulips and several midway games where you can test your hand-eye coordination (for the record, mine is sadly lacking).  My boys especially enjoyed all the vehicle midway rides and took turns driving a fire truck and big rig.  I was greatly appreciative of the seatbelts on every ride, which kept my almost two year old in his seat.

There is a small petting zoo and pony rides at the back of the park, where a very loud turkey is currently in residence.  While we were admiring the sheep, we were treated to a show by the three ducks, who took turns bathing themselves in the water trough.  Even my animal-phobic four year old peered through the fence to check out the action.  Along with balloon animals and concession stands, there is live music everyday starting at 12 pm.

The festival gave the boys a chance to burn off their energy before we ambled through the tulips in Commissioner's Park.  I wasn't expecting so many tulips to still be in bloom and was pleasantly surprised that there were still so many flowers to admire.  The boys enjoyed running along the pathways and through the park and took turns (gently) smelling some of the flowers.

Summer is scheduled to make a return this week so I encourage you to get out and enjoy both the Victoria Day Festival and Tulip Festival before both events end on the 21st.

Sara is mom to a 6-year-old firefighter and 4-year-old monkey.  You can find her at her blog, My Points of View

The Canadian Tulip Festival - the plan

by Shawna With the early warmth this spring, we may be in danger of having an almost tulip-less Canadian Tulip Festival (which runs from May 7th - 24th). While this may put a crimp in my role as one of the "Artists in the Tulips" (this will be my second year my images can be found in the Tulip Art gallery in Commissioner's Park by Dow's lake), it in no way means I won't go to the festival with my kids.  Sure, it's nice for me to see the tulips and use them as a colourful backdrop for pictures of my nearest-and-dearest, but let's not lose sight of the main reason to go: to let the kids exhaust themselves by hopping them up on sugar at the Fudge Shack and tear around like mad things, all the better to sleep that night!

I kid.

Sort of.

In truth, there are tons of kid-friendly activities at the Tulip Festival and they almost all come with the bonus of getting out in the fresh air and maybe even learning a little history along the way.  To kick off the festival, there's an open air Liberation Street Party planned this year on Sparks St., which is being held in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and Canada's role in it.  Throughout the festival there will be children's activities at Major's Hill Park, and a lot of the area's museums are planning programming that links in with the festival.  The tulip festival website has details on all of this and more.

The fact is, there's a dizzying variety of programming and there's no way it would be fun to dash from activity to activity, trying to cram it all in; what we do is take a look at the schedule and try to earmark just a couple of things that sound fun on a day or two I'm not officially scheduled to be there.  We keep things loose and watch the weather, and if we can go at those times, so much the better.  And if things don't align so that we hit all our "planned" events, we try to keep in mind that what the kids really like best is the chance to ride the tulip shuttle bus (a novelty for my suburban children), see the ducks on Dow's Lake, and yes, eat fudge and Beavertails and tear around like mad things.

The better sleep that night is just a fringe benefit.

Shawna is mom to 4 year old Sage and almost-2-year-old Harris.  She has  been writing online since 2003, and her latest project is a fledgling photography blog.  She feels a defensive need to let you know that she herself rides the bus almost every day.