Sunday, June 30, 2013

Canada Day Fireworks, Parade Parking in Port Credit

Have a Parking Plan for Canada Day in Port Credit

 Update Canada Day July 1, 2014:
Canada Day Parade in Port Credit officially renamed The Hazel McCallion Canada Day Parade. See Paint the Town Red/ Facebook

Port Credit's celebration of Canada Day July 1 is one of the biggest in Mississauga, and even before the 11 a.m. start of the parade, parking spots fill up fast.

And after the fireworks show, they empty out even faster. Well, they would but for the massive traffic jam-gridlock especially on the west side of the river to Mississauga Road on both sides of Lakeshore. Being stuck in traffic for half an hour or so tends to take the edge off the magic.

So if you don't relish a carload of tired kids and cranky friends, or cranky kids and tired friends, plan ahead and feel justifiably smug when you negotiate your way in and out of Port Credit like a native.

Keep in mind that Lakeshore Road is closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Front Street to Enola Avenue (the parade route), so there are fewer parking spots to be had and fewer options to leave during that time.

Lakeshore Road is the main road through the village, and congested at the best of times. During special events, such as Canada Day, it's even busier. Try to stay to side streets to save yourself the aggravation.

Have a plan for where to park according to when you plan to arrive, what events you plan to take in and where you want to go (east, west, north) when you leave.

Coming to the Parade / Daytime Activities Memorial Park

These events are between 11 a.m. to any time before the start of the fireworks show (variously shown as 'after dusk', after 10 p.m, and 'weather permitting') mainly around Memorial Park.

During the day, you should have a good choice of parking spots on either the west side or the east side of the Credit River bridge at the Lighthouse. BUT you have to be on whichever side of the Credit River before Lakeshore Road closes at 10 a.m., and you have to stay on that side of the river until it re-opens after the parade.

Along that route, since traffic cannot cross Lakeshore Road during the parade, you should decide if it is better for you to be on the north side of Lakeshore (leave via Hurontario) or the south side (leave via a 'snakes and ladders' route east past Enola.)

Coming to the Parade and Staying for the Fireworks

The time frame for these events is between 11 a.m and about 11 p.m. and if ever there was a time to park a few blocks away and walk to the Memorial Park area, this would be the time.

Why? During the day, visitors come and go, and parking spaces come available throughout the day whether on side streets or in the large parking lots. But when even more people show up to watch the fireworks, parking gets harder and harder to find.

 Best to arrive a few hours ahead of the fireworks start time, and walk a few blocks. It will be faster and easier to get out of Port Credit when they are done.

For although people may arrive at different times throughout the day, you can bet the farm they will all want to leave the minute the last of the fireworks fades to black.

And that's when the gridlock sets in. Even intersections controlled by traffic lights won't help you then.

 Decide ahead of time whether it's better for you to be on the East side or the West side when the fireworks are done. That of course depends on where home is, or where you are going next. And keep in mind that Mississauga Road north of the Lakeshore is only two lanes; Hurontario north of the Lakeshore is four lanes. Just saying.

 West Side of the River

Look for parking lots on Mississauga Road South at Saddington Park and on side streets (pay attention to No Parking signs)  Generally, parking is not that big an issue during the day, though it may take some time driving around to find a spot.

Parking availability in Marina Park (pictures here) right beside the Lighthouse or in the lot just south of Marina Park (towards the Lake) comes and goes throughout the day, with boat launching and charter fishing boat traffic all day and into the evening.

But in the hour or so before the fireworks' start time, when most of the boaters have gone, Marina Park will fill to overflowing, with space markings ignored, and vehicles crammed in with barely room to walk between them.

East Side of the River

On the east side of the Credit River, look for on-street parking where you can find it, and for parking lots near the LCBO and J.J.Plaus Park ( beside Snug Harbour). While it may be a little bit of a walk to get to Memorial Park, it could well be faster to leave after the fireworks.

Friends have parked closer to the Port Credit GO station (transit map here), and walked west towards the arena, which is on higher ground and offers a good view of the fireworks. When the show was over, they walked a few blocks back to their car, and left via Hurontario north and avoided much of the traffic.

Take Transit GO Train or the Bus

GO Transit: As of June 29, 2013,  GO trains run every 30 minutes along the Lakeshore route from Oshawa to Aldershot. And the Port Credit GO station is close to the action. See this post for details.

MiWay (Mississauga Transit) : See the route changes for the Parade here. Frequent service all day, every day, to points north including Square One terminal area.

Best thing about taking transit? You don't have to worry about a DD (designated driver).

Canada Day Port Credit Information

'Paint the Town Red' Canada Day schedule of events official site
Canada Day 2011 pictures and video.
Mississauga Transit

What's Open in Port Credit on Canada Day

Many owner-operated shops will be open including Port Credit Emporium (behind NoFrills on Port Street) and Macondo Artisans (open from 10:00am – 2:30 p.m.) near the end of the Parade route where the giant cake cutting takes place outside La Villa Bakery.

 A new children's shop is open --  The Ant and the Grasshopper  (Facebook page), just east of Hurontario on Lakeshore, and across from NoFrill, Seasons Boulangerie (Facebook page) "will be open tomorrow, Canada Day from 8am - 6pm."

Bars and restaurants, coffee shops and frozen yogurt shops are open. Look for a Timmie's on Lakeshore at Mississauga Road (Esso station) and east of Hurontario (Pioneer station). There's a Second Cup at NoFrills, and a Starbucks at the Lighthouse.

Snug Harbour on the riverfront will offer good views of the fireworks. I don't think they take reservations. First come, etc. The Breakwater at the Waterside Inn does.

So Happy Canada Day, everyone! See you in Port Credit!

Note: Fireworks info City of Mississauga

Signs at Memorial Park Port Credit posted for fireworks Canada Day.
Memorial Park Canada Day Sign
  • Fireworks may only be set off on Statutory Holidays such as Victoria Day, Canada Day or on a day for which a permit has been issued by the Fire Chief and only on the property listed within the permit.
  • NO fireworks can be set off on a public street or roadway within Mississauga at any time.
  • NO fireworks can be set off in a park at anytime without a valid approved permit.
  • NO person shall hold a public fireworks display without a permit issued by the Fire Chief.