We boogied on down to the Harbourfront after my son woke up from his nap and managed to get there around 3:30pm (it ends at 5pm). The festival has many events going on inside the York Quay Centre and outside at the WestJet Stage and in Ann Tindal Park on the artificial turf where there are a number of tents setup around the Redpath stage.
There’s an info desk and ATM in the York Quay Centre (use the entrance closest to Queen’s Quay). While my better half lined up for the ATM I took the kids into the Marilyn Brewer Community Space where there was Lego everywhere! But neither of kids were really into it and we left after a few minutes. We passed a couple small lineups of people waiting to get into various events as we slowly made our way outside. Busy, but not too crazy.
Up on the Redpath stage was a performer demonstrating how to crack a whip. As he explained, when a section of the whip moves faster than the speed of sound, a mini sonic boom is created. Cool eh? A man came up on stage and held out spaghetti and the performer used the whip to break the spaghetti without touching the guy’s hand. He didn’t look the least bit nervous. No offense, but I wouldn’t do it.
We made our way to the WestJet stage where Zero Gravity Circus performs at 4pm daily. On our way we passed an arts and crafts table, and I peered through the windows at what must have been the Family Dance Party with the adults and kids looking like they were having a lot of fun! We passed kids with balloon flowers (long line-ups for this one) and painted faces, a stilt walker and a clown wandering around (you can ask to take a photo with the clown).
The seating in front of the WestJet stage gets filled up fast so be sure to come at least 20 minutes early. There’s not much room for strollers at the back nor in the aisles. If you are bringing one you might want to stand just behind the rope instead of sitting on the benches which is a better view anyway, especially if you have young kids who won’t be able to see very well sitting down.
The circus performance was impressive but my daughter’s favourite parts of the festival were dipping her legs in the water at the Natrel pond with her friend while people canoed around ($4/ person for a 15 minute canoe ride), and running around on the empty Redpath stage with a ton of other kids.. which in hindsight kind of looked like an accident waiting to happen, but the kids were having a ton of fun.
I’d highly recommend dropping by the festival if you’re in town this weekend. There’s lots to do and see including learning circus skills for ages 6 and up! Their full schedule is available here. Keep in mind it will take you some time to get through the traffic if coming by car. If we had had more time I would have checked out the Clownification Station where kids can design their own clown hat, and the arts and crafts table which I know my daughter would have liked!
- Lots of food options at Harbourfront: Indian, Latin, Caribbean, Malaysian, and Thai.
- Check out Harbourfront’s parking here. Expect to pay $12- 20 for special events. Other lots can be upwards of $30!
- Make sure to bring your own wipes or tissue to the bathroom. Quite a few stalls didn’t have toilet paper. Also be prepared for gross washrooms at the end of the day.
- Click here for the map of Harbourfront if you’ve never been or drop by the info desk.
- Once again, the event schedule is available here (you may want to drop by the info desk on your way in to check the current programming in case anything has changed).
- Do go as early as you can (performances and activities start at 11am).