What’s Happening Family Day Long Weekend


Family Day is filled with endless possibilities, making it hard to choose just one activity. Luckily, Barrie and the surrounding areas are hosting multiple events in celebration of this special day. The best part is, many of them are free!

Before we jump into the activities, let’s take a look at the history of Family Day …

How Family Day Weekend Started

Ontario didn’t always have a three-day holiday weekend in February. We used to go all the way from Christmas to Easter before getting a long weekend. It wasn’t until 2007, when Dalton McGuinty made it a campaign promise that if he were to be re-elected as Premiere of the Province, he would create a provincial holiday in February.

The reality is, most of us celebrate and spend time with our family all year round. But it’s nice to have a long weekend dedicated to forgetting about our day-to-day responsibilities and enjoying time together. Especially in the middle of winter.

Family Day Activities In Simcoe County

If you aren’t sure how you want to spend Family Day 2024, here’s a list of things happening all over the region this weekend …

1. Barrie’s Family Day Winter Adventure

The City of Barrie is hosting a Family Day Winter Adventure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Barrie Community Sports Complex (2100 Nursery Road, Midhurst).

Start your day with exciting activities, including axe throwing, kicksledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and broomball. Or try your hand at snowshoeing, and tobogganing.

Once you’re ready to take a break from the cold, warm up by the bonfire or participate in some craft-making. All activities are offered for free, making it the perfect family-friendly event for this special day.

2. Sugar Bush Family Day

On Family Day, Friends of Sugarbush are hosting their 13th Annual Sugar Bush Family Day event. Enjoy carboard toboggan races, skating, winter games, wagon rides and more between 11 AM and 3 PM at Sweetwater Park.

To register for the cardboard toboggan race, friendsofsugarbush@gmail.com.

3. MacLaren Art Centre Drop In

The MacLaren Art Centre invites families to join a drop-in art session this Family Day.

Participants will have the opportunity to craft a vibrant and joyful project that highlights the importance of family and self-confidence. The Family Day Letters drop-in event will be held from 11 AM to 2 PM and admission is free.

4. Barrie Rec Centres

On February 19th, the Allendale Recreation Centre, East Bayfield Recreation Centre, and Peggy Hill Team Community Centre will be offering an array of drop-in activities from 6 AM to 9 PM.

Activities include fitness classes, public skates, open swims, hockey, and more.

To view the schedule, visit barrie.ca.

6. Free Fishing

In Ontario, you have a few opportunities to fish without a license, and this weekend is one of those rare chances. So, make the most of it and enjoy fishing without having to obtain a permit.

Keep in mind that you’re still required to abide by certain rules, such as:

  • Catch limits outlined in your conservation license
  • Size limits and protected areas
  • Fishing regulations in place

If you don’t have fishing equipment, take advantage of the TackleShare program available through the Barrie Public Library or other loaner sites.

8. Hot Cocoa Trail

Heat up your Family Day weekend and start the celebration early with the Downtown Hot Cocoa Trail!

From February 17th to 18th, get cozy with a cup of delicious hot chocolate at over 25 locations during the Downtown Hot Cocoa Trail. Each stop will offer a unique twist on the classic treat, as well as a chance to win a $250 Downtown Barrie prize pack with every purchase! So before you head out for a day of fun, warm up with a sweet and indulgent drink.

9. Family Day Fun At Horseshoe Valley

Get ready for a fun-filled Family Day celebration at Horseshoe Valley from February 16 to 19. Embrace a variety of winter activities and enjoy laughter and excitement all weekend long.

End off the weekend with a live performance from Sonshine & Broccoli on February 19.

10. Skate Escape At Friday Harbour

Get ready for an exciting experience this Family Day with Skate Escape at Friday Harbour. Enjoy activities like ice skating in the Piazza, live music performances, and a visit from Olafl.

Once you’ve had your fill of fun outdoor activities, head to the cozy chalet cabins for a treat or enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate and signature cocktails in the luxurious warming lounges.

11. A Weekend At Wasaga Beach

From February 17 to 19 head to Wasaga Beach for a weekend full of fun including the fast-paced interactive show, SuperDogs, a hock skills competition, Jeremey and Jazzy show, and a magical performance staring Edlluision.

There’s really something for everyone to enjoy!

Services Affected By Family Day

On Family Day, Barrie Transit will be running according to its regular Sunday service. You can find more information on their schedule by visiting myridebarrie.ca.

Note that there will be no curbside collection for garbage, organics, or recycling in Barrie on this holiday. Collection for the rest of the week will take place one day later. Learn more at www.barrie.ca/CurbsideCollection.

City Hall will be closed for the holiday.

If you’re planning on visiting downtown Barrie, note that parking (both on-street and in lots) is free on all statutory holidays. However, parking enforcement at the waterfront operates 24/7/365, so residents must display their permits. If you’re a visitor, parking is $10 per hour, with a daily maximum of $50. Visit www.barrie.ca/Parking for more information.

RELATED: What’s open and closed on Family Day …

There’s lots to do this family day so, make sure to take advantage of all the fun and excitement that’s waiting for you and your loved ones.