30 Ways to Enjoy the Civic Holiday Weekend in Waterloo Region!

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It’s almost time for the August long weekend! Known in this region as the Civic Holiday Weekend, the actual holiday – Monday, August 5th – goes by different names in different municipalities (ie. Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Simcoe Day in Toronto, and Colonel By Day in Ottawa).

Whatever you call it, get ready for 4 days of fun with family and friends! In no particular order, here are some options to check out in Waterloo Region this long weekend!

30 Ways to #ExploreWR

1) Strummerfest August 2 & 3: This 2-day event features over 20 indie bands performing non-stop at Waterloo Public Square (it’s also a fundraiser for local charities)

2) Disney’s Newsies August 2 & 3: There are limited tickets still available for the final weekend of this Broadway hit performing at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse

3) African Lion Safari All Weekend: They’re celebrating 50 WILD years at African Lion Safari! The gates are open all long weekend: join them to see the majestic creatures that roam freely throughout the game reserves, and find out about their world-renowned conservation programs

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African Lion Safari

4) Waterloo Concert Band August 4: Come to the bandshell in Waterloo Park for a Sunday evening concert presented by the Waterloo Concert Band (bring a lawn chair)

5) Waterloo Central Railway Trains August 3 & 5: There are lots of trains to choose from, including the Farmers’ Market TrainsRail ‘n Ale and the Civic Holiday Steam Train

6) The Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum All Weekend:  The museum is throwing a summer party and all kids are invited! Try your hand at the gallery activities and games and enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride!

7) Pinehurst Lake Frog Slog August 3: Come search for frogs on land and in the water as we get to know more about these slippery creatures.

8) Amazing Animals at Laurel Creek August 3: Visit with the Nature Centre’s celebrity snakes, frogs and turtles as they embark on their tour to Laurel Creek.

9) Round the Reservoir Photo Challenge August 3: Compete with your family in this around the reservoir photo challenge at Valens Lake Conservation Area. This scavenger-hunt style race is filled with puzzles and clues that must be completed to win!

10) Friday Night Movies Under the Stars August 2: Come watch a movie under the stars every Friday night at Shade’s Mills Conservation Area. This week’s movie is The Princess Bride

11) Bottle Feed Baby Goats August 2,3 & 4: Come out to Growing Hope Farm to bottle feed baby goats and know that 100% of proceeds go to support Mennonite Central Committees food security program

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Growing Hope Farm

12) Sunday Night Concert Series August 4: Head to Gore Park in Elmira for some great country and bluegrass music, this week featuring Fred Lewis and Ridin’ High

13) Piping Hot Sunday at McDougall Cottage August 4: Join the musical fun as Piper Jim MacPherson enchants us with his haunting and beautiful bagpipe music

14) Community Bake Day August 3: Community bake ovens were the ‘information hubs’ of the past! Prepare your bread at home and bring it to Schneider Haus National Historic Site to bake in their wood-fired bake oven

15) Author Afternoons August 3: The City of Waterloo Visitor & Heritage Information Centre hosts author Gillian Best as she speaks about her novel, The Last Wave, and conducts a workshop with activities focused on using prompts to create a story

16) Grand River Raceway Industry Day August 5:  It’s the marquee event of Grand River Raceway’s race season, highlighted by two major races, The Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Belles

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Grand River Raceway (Source batting.ca)

17) Show & Shine Classic Car Mondays August 5:  It’s a blast from the past with unique classic and special edition cars. This free all-ages event also features a chance to win great prizes from Ripley’s Aquarium, Adventure Room, Erbsville Kartway and more!

18) Kids Bowl Free Program All Weekend: Kingpin Bowlounge in both Kitchener and Cambridge are part of this free bowling for kids program that not only happens on the long weekend, but continues for the remainder of the summer!

19) St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway August 3,4 & 5: Located in the beautiful downtown core of St. Jacobs, this O scale model railway depicts Southern Ontario in the late 1950’s. It’s one of North America’s largest model railway layouts!

20) Waterloo Region Farmers’ Markets : There’s lots of farm fresh produce available for your long weekend get togethers at our local Farmers’ Markets, and even more markets to choose from during the summer!

21) Castle Kilbride National Historic Site August 2,3 & 4: Visit a real castle right here in Waterloo Region! This museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year: and while you’re at the castle, you can also take a walk through the Prime Minister’s Path located on the castle grounds

22) Mirage VR August 2,3 & 4: Not only is the long weekend a great time to try Canada’s first full-body, free-roam, multiplayer virtual-reality experience, you can also cool down from the summer heat with a free ice cream with your VR session!

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Mirage VR

23) Old Post Office Light Shows August 2, 3 & 4: Watch as visual effects transform the Old Post Office every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night!

24) Fashion History Museum August 2,3 & 4: More than 12,000 garments and accessories dating from the 1660s to the present make up the collection at the FHM. Current exhibits include MADE IN FRANCE and The Mad Hatter of Chicago

25) Homer Watson House & Gallery All Weekend: The gallery and grounds are open all weekend. And, Friday, August 2nd is National Colouring Book Day – colour something pretty at Homer Watson House, or pick up one of their colouring books!

26) THEMUSEUM All Weekend: There are all kinds of great programs happening throughout the weekend: you can also take in Brain: World Inside your Head, SPECTRUM and the 7th Annual Refugee Art Show

27) Food Day Canada August 3: This celebration of great Canadian food coincides with the long weekend – what better excuse to get out and enjoy local food fare at this region’s participating restaurants, including Graffiti Market, Borealis Grille & Bar, Bauer Kitchen, The Rich Uncle Tavern, Langdon Hall, Harmony Lunch, Proof Kitchen + Lounge, Marbles, Taco Farm, Cambridge Mill, Nith River Chop House (in Wellesley), and Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21

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Borealis Grille & Bar

28) Four All Ice Cream Pop Up Shop August 2,3 & 4: The long weekend weather focus looks sunny and hot – and just right for ice cream! Check out Four All’s summer Pop Up location in #DTKitchener (closed Monday)

29) Want to know what area galleries, libraries and museums have going on for the long weekend? Check out a number of local cultural sites at The Waterloo-Wellington Museums and Galleries Network

30) A Feast of British Folk Music August 3: A single day folk music event to fill the music festival gap in Cambridge! Presented by Mill Race Folk Society at various venues, all events are free and family friendly

And, a Bonus….

Enjoy Waterloo Region’s Great Outdoors: walk, hike, bike or jog and take in one of our amazing area trails – and have fun as you #ExploreWR!

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The Hydrocut Trails


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