Winterlude, Ottawa – February
The winter is embraced and celebrated by Canadians and nowhere more so than in the capital, Ottawa, over the first three weekends in February for the almost 40-year old Winterlude festival. There is live music and entertainment at both indoor and outdoor venues but the highlight is definitely the Rideau Canal Skateway.
Montreal Jazz Festival
One of the most vivacious Canada festivals, this carnival is a paradise for Jazz lovers and musicians. This is the biggest Jazz festival in the world and also holds a Guinness Book record for it. It is a ten-day musical fiesta in the city of Montreal and hosts 20 or more stages for performers and musicians from the world over. The audience attending this Jazz fete has been recorded to be in millions.
The Calgary Stampede, Calgary
Don your cowboy hat and spurs and head on over to The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Each year, more than one million people visit Calgary to partake in this 10-day Calgary Stampede party held every July.
Edmonton Folk Festival, Edmonton
From its humble beginning in 1980, the Edmonton Folk Festival has grown to be one of the world’s premier folk festivals. Held each August, the festival’s lineup is always outstanding and ticket prices stay reasonable.
Celebration of Light, Vancouver – July/August
The largest fireworks competition in the world is held every summer over three nights in Vancouver and as well as the amazing pyrotechnics, the Honda Celebration of Light features concerts, food trucks and stalls and concession stands.
Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Montreal – July
The Montreal Comedy Festival, commonly known as Just for Laughs, has been an annual Montreal event since 1983. The festival has grown in popularity and reputation and features some of the world’s best comedians, some of whom got their big breaks at the festival; Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean was first tested on Montreal crowds back in 1989.
Edmonton Folk Festival, Edmonton – August
From one staff member and 300 volunteers in its inception in 1980, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is now one of the leading folk festivals in the world with a volunteer force of over 2,700.
The festival line-up includes the best folk music artists from Edmonton, Canada and around the world. The festival is a not-for-profit society and the quality of the music is outstanding while ticket prices are very reasonable.
Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto – September
The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the leading film festivals in the world, ranking closely with Cannes and Sundance. The festival is known for being the kick-off to the awards season, with many films premiering in Toronto going on to get nominated for Golden Globe awards and Oscars.
Films such as American Beauty, The Big Chill and Hotel Rwanda made their premieres at this prestigious fall event.
Celtic Colours, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – October
The Celtic Colours International Festival is a unique celebration of Cape Breton Island’s living traditional culture, with hundreds of events taking place for nine days in October. With as many as six concerts each day, the festival organisers programme the show so that it is possible to get a real taste of the festival every day; whether it’s Gaelic singing, Cape Breton fiddling, world-class bagpiping or local dance traditions.
Canada Day, Ottawa and country-wide –July
Canada’s biggest celebrations are reserved for July 1, Canada Day, which marks Canada’s birth as a country. From coast to coast, Canadians don their red and white attire and proudly wave their maple leaf flags and enjoy fireworks, local cuisine and, of course, great Canadian beer. The very best celebrations, naturally, take place in the country’s capital, Ottawa, but wherever you go at this time, you’ll be shown a very good time by the locals.