Peony Festival and Kars on King bring awards to Oshawa


Published March 15, 2024 at 12:59 pm

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French at the Oshawa Peony Festival

Two of Oshawa’s most noteworthy annual events, the Peony Festival and Kars on King, have once more been named among the best events in Ontario.

Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO), a non-profit which represents the festivals and events industry, cited the Oshawa events on their list of the Top 100 Festivals and Events in Ontario for 2024. The city says the fact Oshawa’s 100th anniversary this year “adds to the excitement” of the recognition.

The Peony Festival has made the list for the 12 years of the event’s 19-year history. Last June the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden at 155 Arena St near Adelaide Ave. and Kaiser Cr. welcomed residents of all ages for numerous events and activities.

Residents were able to bring their cut peonies to the show on June 11 for a contest at the Children’s Arena on-site to find the “best in show” flower. A full list of criteria and categories for entries is available from Oshawa.

There will also be an art show for artists over 18 to submit their peony interpretations. Last year, the people’s choice winner won a $350 gift card to Curry’s, while 2nd place got a $150 gift card. Many of these events are set to return on the weekend of June 8 and 9 to mark the 20th anniversary of the festival.

Kars on King meanwhile has been added to the FEO list for the first time. This event fills downtown Oshawa with hundreds of classic cars. Oshawa has a rich automotive history as the birthplace of General Motors and the home of the Canadian Automotive Museum for the last 60 years.

The museum is home to the most significant collection of Canadian automotive history in the world, from the Fossmobile (Canada’s first automobile) and McLaughlin Buicks of Colonel Sam McLaughlin to Disney Pixar’s Lightning McQueen and contemporary classics. The event highlights this history and shows off many models of cars from 1991 or earlier. This year the free event is scheduled for Aug. 23.

It’s not only the events themselves which earned recognition though. Durham Region local, Judi Denny, was recognized as FEO’s Volunteer of the Year for her work toward the peony festival. Denny is a “renowned Peoney grower,” per the city as demonstrated by the numerous awards she’s won at the festival over the last 20 years.

The Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens where the Peony Festival is held was officially renamed “The Michael and Judi Denny Peony Gardens” in recognition of the married couple’s work to establish the festival.

“We are thrilled that Oshawa’s Peony Festival has been recognized as a Top 100 event once again and excited to have Kars on King added to the esteemed list of festivals and events not to miss in 2024,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.

Chair of the Economic and Development Services Committee Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri added, “Oshawa is truly becoming a dynamic metropolitan city that continues to shine with its exceptional signature events…These events attract thousands of visitors from across the Canada and around the world each summer to our great city, helping to further put Oshawa on the big map.”


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