There’s no doubt that as the city’s largest Canada Day celebration, Chinguacousy Park is simultaneously the most fun place and the worst place on the planet. Here are some tips for surviving the day from a Bramptonian who has experienced it on more than one occasion.
1. Do not under any circumstances park at Chinguacousy Park
Don’t do it, you will hate yourself for it. It may appear the most convenient option for a novice, but you will spend the rest of your evening just trying to get out of there. In fact, don’t park within a 3km radius of the park, it’s complete chaos to get out of at the end of the night.
2. Take the bus
Free shuttles are available to the park from Trinity Commons, Mount Pleasant GO, Gore Meadows Rec Centre and Sheridan College. It’s way more painless to be on a bus than stuck in a car in bumper to bumper traffic at the end of the night.
3. If you’re ignoring 1 & 2, be strategic about where you park
Parking lots within a 3km radius of the park are usually over-crowded. The key is to find somewhere far enough away that you won’t get stuck in the aftermath and close enough that you won’t perish trying to get back there after a long day of fun at the park. If you can snag a spot along Mackay Street it’s about a 20-minute walk to the park from there.
4. Bring enough cash with you
You will want candied apples, cotton candy, slushies and whatever is at the on-site food trucks. Bring cash, and lots of it so you can eat your way through the park. What are parties for anyway?
5. Bring rain ponchos
Check the weather and pack accordingly. If it looks like rain it’s not hard to make sure you have a cheap rain poncho on hand. You can even get them at the dollar store. Getting wet won’t be as romantic as it is in The Notebook. It never is.
6. Bring a blanket for sitting
Not everyone wants to carry a bulky lawn chair around, but a blanket is an easy choice.
7. Beware of the road closures
Roads around Chinguacousy Park close and re-open at different times. Avoid parking on roads that stay closed until Midnight by being aware of what’s closed and when. Check out the closures here.
8. Bring a water bottle if you can
Lineups for drinks and food are always off the chain at events with such a big crowd. There will be water stations all over the park to refill your water bottles any time you need.
9. Don’t wait until you’re famished to get in line for food
The food lineups on Canada Day at the park are no joke, be prepared to wait, and then wait some more. Don’t wait until you’re already starving to get in line for food, because you’ll be there for a while before that delicious morsel of food you’re purchasing is actually in your hands.
10. Stake out your spot for fireworks early
If you’re there for the fireworks and want prime real estate to enjoy them, you’ll have to scout out your spot and stake your claim on it early on. You may not want to wait until the end of the concert on the main stage to go looking because you’re likely going to find all the best viewing spots gone.