Nothing quite compares to the joy of watching a fireworks show on a holiday, and Woodbine Beach Park in Toronto is one of the best places to experience this.
For those of you that don’t know the Beaches neighbourhood, Ashbridges Bay Park and Woodbine Beach are side-by-side, and these locations are essentially the same place, just with a different name.
From the time I was a little kid, I have always loved coming to the Beach to watch these amazing Ashbridges Bay fireworks displays each Victoria Day and Canada Day.
The fireworks take place over Lake Ontario between Ashbridges Bay Park and Woodbine Beach Park on Lake Shore Blvd. E., between the foot of Coxwell Ave. and Woodbine Ave. The official address is: 1561 Lake Shore Blvd East
The fireworks start at 10:00 p.m. and last about 15 minutes.
To help visitors get the most out of their visit, here are 10 local tips for enjoying the Woodbine Beach Fireworks.
1. Take Public Transportation
Taking public transportation to watch the Woodbine Beach Fireworks is highly recommended. While there are some paid public parking lots at Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges’ Bay, they are usually full early in the day.
There are lots of TTC options to watch the fireworks, and the TTC provides extra buses for people wanting to attend the fireworks. TTC options include the Woodbine Bus, Queen Streetcar, and Coxwell Bus. The closest bus stop is at the Woodbine Beach loop (Stop ID: 14146) located in the Ashbridges Bay Parking Lot.
While the TTC will be very busy after the fireworks, believe me when I tell you that this is a much better option than trying to drive out of the neighbourhood at the end of the night!
2. Don’t Expect to Find Parking in the Beaches During the Fireworks
If you’re planning on driving to the fireworks, don’t bet on finding a parking spot anywhere near the beach. With severely limited public lots and street parking, you might find yourself stuck circling the block for hours on end. Parking enforcement is also always out during events like this and ready to issue tickets.
There are also significant road closures in the area. For example, cars can not drive along Lakeshore Blvd. between Coxwell and Woodbine or south of Queen Street on Woodbine. There are lots of one-way streets in the Beaches, making it chaos trying to leave the area closest to the beach at the end of the night.
If you must drive, I highly recommend parking north of Queen Street or east of Lee Ave. and simply walking down to the beach. This will at least get you out of the main crush of traffic after the fireworks. For additional parking information, this complete list of parking options in the Beaches will be helpful.
3. Walk East of Woodbine Beach for Smaller Crowds
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds at Woodbine Beach or Ashbridges Bay, just walk east along the beach, and you’ll start to find fewer people. The busiest area is right at the bottom of Woodbine Ave., but as you continue on, you’ll notice the crowds thinning out.
Sure, you won’t get the same view as the more populated spots, but you’ll still have a great vantage point to enjoy the fireworks, and if you walk out onto the beach, you’ll have an amazing view!
4. Bring Chairs or Blankets to Enjoy the Fireworks
When it comes to enjoying fireworks, there’s nothing quite like settling down on a comfy chair or a cozy blanket by the beach. Not only does it make the experience more enjoyable, but it also ensures you don’t end up with a damp backside! Trust me, sitting on damp sand isn’t exactly a pleasant experience.
Luckily, there are a few Muskoka chairs scattered around for those lucky enough to arrive early, but otherwise, it’s best to come prepared. So, don’t forget to grab your camping chair or blanket and head down to the water’s edge to enjoy the amazing fireworks display.
5. Be Prepared for Crowds
If you’re planning to watch the fireworks, be prepared for crowds. As expected, there will be a lot of people eager to catch a glimpse of the dazzling lights in the sky. Though finding a spot to watch won’t be a problem, you should know that there will be long lines for washrooms, food, and the TTC. So, make sure you bring your patience along with your excitement.
If you are relying on driving and parking, it’s better to find a spot out of the main area and walk a short distance. Trust me, it can save you a lot of time and hassle at the end of the night.
6. Plan Your Snacks and Refreshments
When it comes to the fireworks show, there are limited places to buy snacks and refreshments at the beach. While there are some refreshment stands right at Woodbine Beach by the Ashbridges’ Bay parking lot and around Donald D. Summerville pool, these areas can get quite busy, and there will be long lines.
I would recommend that you bring your own food and snacks or, even better, visit some of the amazing patios located on Queen Street in the Beaches before walking down to watch the fireworks. That way, you can relax and enjoy a meal or some drinks without having to wait in long lines! Remember, you can not drink alcohol on the beach.
7. Stay Safe
I have been attending the fireworks show at Woodbine Beach for many years now, and, while there have been some safety concerns in the past couple of years, I felt very safe when I attended the display this past Victoria Day 2023. The crowds were well-behaved, and there was a large (and friendly) police presence to ensure that everyone stayed safe.
That being said, if you are concerned about safety during the event, my advice would be to stay out of the main viewing area at the bottom of Woodbine Ave., where the crowds are the largest, and move further east.
It’s also illegal to light off your own fireworks at the beach, so don’t bring fireworks with you. The police are closely monitoring this activity, so don’t bring any with you!
8. Spend the Day at Woodbine Beach
If you are coming for the fireworks display, why not spend the whole day at the Beach? The Beaches neighbourhood has a lot to offer visitors, including walking along Queen Street, visiting one of its many patios or restaurants, enjoying the parks and the boardwalk, or taking a peaceful stroll through Glen Stewart Ravine.
Of course, it’s also easy to spend the entire day at Woodbine Beach. Go swimming in the lake, walk the boardwalk, ride your bike along the Martin Goodman Trail, play a little beach volleyball, or enjoy one of the many playgrounds located in the Beach!
9. Brush Up on Your Photography Skills
I love taking pictures of fireworks, but so many of them are terrible! While it’s easy enough to capture the light from the explosions, getting good photos of fireworks requires a bit of know-how.
To get great shots with your camera or phone, you’ll need to brush up on some basic techniques for taking effective photographs of fireworks displays. There are a lot of great articles on how to take photos of of fireworks and spending some time learning the features of your phone will result in much better fireworks photos!
10. Have Fun!
The most important tip I have is to come and have fun! The Beaches neighbourhood is a great place in Toronto to visit. The fireworks display is excellent and a lot of fun. I have been going for years, and it is a blast! While it will be busy, if you come prepared, you will have a fantastic experience watching fireworks at Woodbine Beach.
Frequently Asked Questions: Ashbridges Bay Fireworks
The fireworks start at 10:00 p.m.
The fireworks display at Woodbine Beach lasts about 15 minutes in total.
The fireworks are held at Ashbridges Bay Park, located at 1561 Lake Shore Blvd. E. at the foot of Coxwell Avenue at Lake Ontario. Some people also call this area Woodbine Beach. Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay are side-by-side and are essentially in the same location.
In my opinion, the best spot to get the full effect of the fireworks is right at the water’s edge and on the beach, directly south of the Toronto Beach Club restaurant and Woodbine Beach Bathing Station. This is also the busiest spot.
There are two public Green P parking lots on the Beach, but these have very limited spots and will fill up early in the day. Taking public transportation to the fireworks is highly recommended.
The City of Toronto puts on fireworks displays at Ashbridges Bay Park on Victoria Day and Canada Day each year.
There are several excellent locations to watch fireworks close to Toronto, including Centennial Park, Downsview Park, Milliken Park, Canada’s Wonderland, and Niagara Falls.
The closest hotel to Woodbine Beach is the Broadview Hotel. For a complete list of hotels near Woodbine Beach, read my post, 10 Best Hotels Near HISTORY Toronto.
Read More About the Beaches Neighbourhood
Visit one of these related posts to learn even more interesting things to see and do in this fantastic neighbourhood in Toronto.
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