We’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like to have a good time whilst on their travels, so to make finding the party a little bit easier for you, we’ve composed a list of the best festivals Canada has to offer. Whether it’s gastronomic delights, artistic appreciation or a winter warmer that you’re after, Canada’s got it…
NAME: JUST FOR LAUGHS
WHAT: Catering for every sense of humour imaginable, Just for Laughs brings comedians and acts from across Canada and around the globe to Montreal for 3 weeks of side-splitting entertainment. The festival encourages lesser known artists, placing them side-by-side with the big names in a truly eclectic range of venues – expect to watch gigs in amphitheatres, the back rooms of a poker club and gay bars.
NAME: CALGARY STAMPEDE
WHAT: This festival brings the fiercest rodeo competitions, strongest athletes and finest cattle to Calgary every summer. Add to the mixture some of Canada’s best Western musicians and performance troupes, some seriously tasty-looking food trucks and a funfair to bring out the child in every one of us, and you’re in for a real rodeo treat
NAME: NORTH X NORTH EAST
WHAT: Witness one-off collaborations between global stars and independent or unsigned local artists at this music and arts festival set in the Canadian music capital. Expect Glastonbury-level diversity when it comes to performances: two of the 2014 headliners are rockers Billy Talent and rap artist, Ludacris.
NAME: EDMONTON FRINGE FESTIVAL
WHAT: Situated in the historic, arty district of Edmonton, Old Strathcona, the Edmonton Fringe Festival will undoubtedly get your creative juices flowing. Edmonton plays proud host to over 140 local and globally renowned artists, so expect to have every one of your senses heightened as the festival sweeps you up into a world of incredible musical, theatrical and artistic talent. The list is tantalisingly endless.
NAME: CARNAVAL DE QUEBEC
WHEN: JANUARY – FEBRUARY
WHAT: Considered to be one of the world’s largest winter festivals, Carnaval de Quebec sees night markets and choir concerts transform the Old Town of Quebec into an enchanting winter wonderland. With international snow sculpture competitions, dog sled racing and snow baths taking place to show off Canada’s favourite winter activities, Carnaval de Quebec is a truly charming seasonal highlight and one not to be missed.
NAME: NIAGARA WINE FESTIVAL
WHAT: The number one wine festival in the province of Ontario, the Niagara Wine Festival makes for the perfect seasonal pit stop en route to the Niagara Falls. Wine tastings and wine and food pairing seminars are ready and waiting to wet your palette and leave you with a knowledge rivalling a wine connoisseur. Whistle stop or ‘full Monty’ tours are available, which include up to eight winery experiences. Don’t mind if we do.
NAME: VANCOUVER FRINGE FESTIVAL
WHAT: Breaking down barriers between audience and performer since 1895, Vancouver’s Fringe Festival is an 11-day celebration of all things theatrical. Each September, expect vast swathes of actors to descend upon Granville island to participate in various performances around the city. And how to they decide which productions are staged? Names are drawn from a hat, giving the festival an exciting edge as amateurs and well-seasoned actors perform traditional and experimental productions side by side.
NAME: ELMIRA MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL
WHAT: Of course there just had to be a festival to celebrate Canada’s most famous icon; maple syrup. Each year nearly 70,000 people attend this one day festival, all in the name of sugary delight, and spend hours in the town of Elmira, Ontario, quaffing pancakes smothered in golden goodness whilst watching syrup makers in action. Held in April each year, it’s a fantastic festival for the entire family and is the ideal way to say ‘au revoir’ to those winter blues with the sweetness of spring not too far away.
NAME: MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
WHAT: Described as the festival that only ends when you want it to, Montreal’s International Jazz Festival combines intimate gigs with open air performances in the stunning Quartier des Spectacles. In the past this festival has seen the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Liza Minnelli take to the stage and with an estimated eight hundred concerts taking place over a ten day period, you’ll be in jazz heaven.