Canada Day festivities at Queen's Park cancelled, free admission to be offered at 10 attractions
First 500 visitors on July 1 will get in free to places like Ontario Science Centre, Butterfly Conservatory
Ontario's Progressive Conservative government has cancelled Canada Day celebrations at Queen's Park for this year and will instead divert funds that would be used to put on the celebration to offer limited free admission to attractions across the province.
A spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford confirmed to CBC Toronto Saturday that the decision was made a few months ago.
Rather than offer the typical games, crafts, rides and other festivities outside the Ontario legislature, free admission will be offered to the first 500 visitors on July 1 at 10 Ontario attractions. They are:
- Ontario Science Centre.
- Cinesphere at Ontario Place.
- Royal Ontario Museum.
- McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Vaughan.
- Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington.
- Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay.
- Huronia Historical Parks in Midland and Penetanguishene.
- Butterfly Conservatory — Niagara Parks Commission.
- Science North in Sudbury.
- St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
"Instead of hosting a single event at Queen's Park, we are providing free admission for thousands of people to Canada Day events across the province," Laryssa Waler Hetmanczuk, executive director of communications in the premier's office, said in an email to CBC.
"Ontario families should have the ability to celebrate Canada Day with us, regardless of where in the province they live."
Last year, some 5,000 people braved a heat wave to attend the festivities at Queen's Park. Ford addressed the crowd, and encouraged revellers to continue enjoying the festivities later on at many of the city's fireworks displays.
Hetmanczuk said in her email that the event at Queen's Park has "had low attendance" and typically costs between $300,000 and $400,000. Offering free admission to the 10 attractions will cost the government about $80,000.