Top 15 Most Popular Holidays in Canada
Canada is known for many things like hockey, beer, maple syrup, plaid and just straight up being nice. There are a lot of amazing Canadian festivals and events. One thing that Canada might not get enough recognition for is the large number of incredible annual events and holidays that take place within our borders every year.
1. Pemberton Music Festival
There are plenty of great music festivals in Canada, but due to how close it is and it’s world class setting, we had to include Pemberton on this list. After a massive, but disorganized, festival in 2008, Pemberton went on hold for a number of years before returning with different organizers in 2014.
Typically held during July, the acts at Pemberton are mostly electronic, hip hop and rock, and while it may not be the best-organized festival in the world, it’s hard to beat the location. Camping with friends and watching your favourite musicians under a setting like Pemberton’s Mount Currie is an experience that not many people get to experience and if you have the ability to attend one year, you definitely should.
2. Celebration of Light
|Photo: Tri-City News|
The first of two fireworks festivals on this list, the Honda Celebration of Light lights up the Vancouver skyline with incredible colours for three or four nights a summer. It began as the Symphony of Fire back in 1990 and is the longest running offshore fireworks festival in the world.
It’s hectic around Vancouver on fireworks nights, with 1.4 million people attending the multi-day event over it’s three or four nights, but if you can find a decent spot to watch the show it’s an incredible 25 to 30 minutes of pyromusical action. The 2017 edition of the Celebration of Light runs over three nights, July 29th, August 2nd and August 5th.
3. Shambhala Music Festival
|Photo: Nelson Star|
Again, there are lots of great music festivals in Canada to choose from, but Shambhala’s unique format and location puts it on the list of events you should at least try once. The family-run music and arts festivals is held in the first week of August at a 500-acre cattle ranch in Salmo, B.C.
Known to many as the Burning Man of Canada, Shambhala doesn’t allow people to bring alcohol into the grounds. Despite that, Shambhala is still known for its party atmosphere, but it’s also known as being a leader when it comes to festival and drug safety, which was showcased nicely by The National back in 2015, cites kelownanow.
4. Calgary Stampede
|Photo: Daily Hive|
Held every July, the Calgary Stampede is one of Canada’s best-known events. The ten-day rodeo attracts over a million visitors to Alberta’s biggest city for rodeo events, a parade, a midway, stage shows, concerts and more.
The event traces all the way back to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first ever fair. Then, in 1912, Guy Weadick organized the event into his first rodeo and festival, known as the Stampede. It became an annual event in 1923 and is now a staple of the Canadian summer. The Calgary Stampede is considered one of the world’s biggest rodeos and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2008.
5. Taste of Edmonton
While most of these festivals and events feature food trucks and other culinary fun, Taste of Edmonton is the only one focused around getting your eat on. Extended from its original one week format to a 10 day event in 2011, Taste of Edmonton now attracts half a million patrons each summer.
Taste of Edmonton allows you to sample food from some of Edmonton’s best restaurants and food trucks, while also testing your cooking skills in various culinary workshops. You also have a chance to find out more about local breweries and farms, or visit the Sip ‘n Savour tent for new and exclusive dishes from the city’s finest chefs.
6. Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival, better known as just TIFF, is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals on earth. Nearly 500,000 people annually attend the festival, which was founded in 1976 and happens every September. TIFF operates out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto, and offers patrons things presentations of new releases, live film events and an interactive gallery.
The biggest honour to take home at the festival is the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, voted on by filmgoers at the festival. Over it’s history, popular movies like Room, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Lion, La La Land and Dallas Buyers Club have all taken home the prestigious award.
7. Pride Toronto
|Photo: Destination Toronto|
Similar to the PNE vs the CNE, you could attend Vancouver’s Pride Festival and have a fantastic time. Pride Toronto, however, is internationally recognized as one of the largest organized gay pride festivals in the world. The 10-day festival can’t determine an exact number of attendees, but recent estimates have around one million attendees for the full week, with 100,000 attending the parade itself.
The festival celebrates our diverse sexual and gender identities along with Canadian culture and arts. Beyond the famous pride parade, the Toronto event features a street fair, performances and art displays that offer up fun for any type of person that attends.
|Photo: Culture Trip|
The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly and more commonly known as Caribana, may be unknown to many, but it’s actually the largest street festival in North America with over 1.3 million visitors per year. The festival celebrates Caribbean culture and traditions and is held every summer in Toronto.
Originally introduced to Canada by immigrants from various Caribbean Islands, the festival features music from that part of the world like steel pan, soca and calypso. The festival also features a number of Caribbean themed parties and food, but the main attraction is the colourful, costume-full Parade of Bands.
9. The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival
|Photo: Daily Hive|
It is celebrated on 20 January to 14 February. The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is a great excuse for you to treat yourself to a gourmet hot chocolate from the best cafes in the city.
A range of cafes, chocolatiers and bakeries throughout Vancouver will be offering one-off hot chocolates on their menus. Each venue will offer a range of special hot chocolates from white chocolate to dark chocolate and Belgian chocolate during the event.
10. Boardwalk Ice on Whyte
|Photo: The New Yorker|
25-28 January and 1-4 February are the time periods for this festival. This popular festival in Edmonton showcases internationally-acclaimed, professional ice carvings and is one of only three professional ice carving competitions in Canada.
This year’s Boardwalk Ice on Whyte Festival is welcoming professional ice carving artists from China, Russia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, France, Poland, Quebec and Alberta.
The festival’s competition will take place inside a giant tent to keep all the carvings in great condition and you will be able to taste locally brewed beverages such as beers and spirits at the ice bar. There will also be ice carving lessons on offer to all visitors on Saturdays and Sundays, according to canadianaffair.
11. The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race
|Photo: NZ Herald|
Date of festival: 20-22 July
Since 1967, the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia has been the home of the Nanaimo Marine Festival and Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.
One of the marine festival’s main attractions is the 36-mile bathtub race along the Strait of Georgia with the finishing line located at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park.
Though this may appear to be nonsensical, it is actually really competitive – especially as most bathtubs cost thousands of Canadian dollars and have 8 horsepower motors. Most of all, it’s a brilliantly fun day out, so get cheering those tubs!
On top of the race there will be live music, food stalls and fireworks.
12. Osheaga, Montreal (August)
|Photo: Bonjour Québec|
One of the largest festivals in the country. The music fest is a multi-day indie festival that takes place on six different stages. With its numerous outdoor stages located at parc Jean-Drapeau on Montreal’s Sainte-Hélène’s Island, Osheaga attracted 120 000 music lovers from North America and Europe last year. A huge celebration dedicated to music and visual arts, Osheaga has given itself the objective of discovering local and national emerging talent offering them the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest international artists in the business including: Coldplay, The Killers, Iggy & The Stooges, Sonic Youth, The Roots, Rufus Wainwright, Arcade Fire, Weezer and Eminem.
13. L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, also known as the Montreal Fireworks Festival, Montreal (June/July)
The most prestigious and largest fireworks festival in the world. It hosts an estimated 3 million spectators each year, with approximately 6,000 fireworks set off during each show. Each summer, eight or nine pyrotechnical companies from different countries present a 30-minute-long pyromusical show, competing for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Jupiters or trophies.
14. Peeks Toronto Caribean Carnival, formerly and still commonly called Caribana, Toronto (August)
It is a Caribbean Carnival event, that has been billed as North America’s largest street festival, frequented by over 1.3 million visitors each year for the festival’s final parade and an overall attendance of 2 million. The festival was introduced to Canada by immigrants from Caribbean Islands. It follows a Carnival format, particularly following the Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival, but also influenced by the street dancing and masquerading in costume found on every Caribbean island such as John Canoe in Jamaica, Crop Over in Barbados, and other similar festivals in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. This festival brings in the most revenue out of any festival to Canada every year.
15. Quebec City Summer Festival, Quebec (July)
|Photo: FYI Music News|
This event is an annual 11-day music festival in downtown Quebec City normally starting on the first Thursday of July. With its 135,000 passes sold, a total attendance of about 1.5 million festival-goers year in year out and its hundreds of performances spread over a dozen venues, the festival has established itself as a major player on the music festival circuit.
The festival grew substantially during the last decade after its decision to diversify its music offering and go after international headliners from genres across the board, including rock music, punk, hip-hop, classical music, francophone music, world music and most recently electronic music, as suggested visa place.
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