Canadians know how to put on a party, and they do so all year long with events and festivals in every season and section of the vast and naturally beautiful country.
From the down-home western welcome of the famous Calgary Stampede to the internationally acclaimed Toronto Film Festival, there’s always a celebration somewhere in Canada!
The first week in August brings the Celebration of Light to Vancouver. This cosmopolitan city invites every country to participate in the world’s largest fireworks competition, and the free show for spectators is visually stunning night after night – referred to as the Symphony of Fire. From humble beginnings in 1980, the Edmonton Folk Festival has grown to become one of the most widely recognized and premier musical events, retaining reasonable ticket prices but showcasing outstanding talent. Regular performers include Canada’s own sweetheart k.d.lang, Lyle Lovett, and the Gipsy Kings.
Instead of huddling inside, hearty Canadians celebrate sub-zero temperatures and waist-high snowdrifts with winter festivals throughout their country. Ottawa, the nation’s capital, puts on a February festival called Winterlude with ice skating on the rivers, concerts, and plenty of outdoor entertainment and food booths. The Quebec Winter Carnival is a 17-day freeze-fest at the end of January with ice sculptures and outdoor contests and entertainment that have helped the event grow into the world’s largest outdoor winter party. It’s a pre-Lenten tradition in Quebec to eat, drink, and embrace the cold at Winter Carnival.
Canada Day events are held across the country on July 1st…similar to the U.S. festivities that take place on the 4th of July. Canada Day marks the nation’s birth as a country, and is toasted with Canadian beer and picnic-style parties, red and white clothing, and fireworks displays.
For nine days each October, the Celtic culture is remembered and honored at the unique Cape Breton Island festival in Nova Scotia known as the Celtic Colours International Festival. And in June, the Montreal International Jazz Festival offers up over 500 concerts featuring musicians from 20 or more countries. The two million visitors to that event have contributed to the success of artists such as Norah Jones and Diana Krall. Montreal follows this act in July with the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival where new comedic talent performs alongside well-known stars to appreciative crowds and a worldwide television audience.
If you need a little infusion of fun, the party has already started…somewhere in Canada!