Summer is festival season in Canada, with hundreds of events on offer across the country. Whether you’re working during the summer vacation, or taking extra classes, take a break and check out some of these iconic Canadian festivals featuring music, food, dance, theatre, sport, and more.
Wind — July 27-30 — Squamish
Just an hour’s drive from Vancouver is the coastal town of Squamish. This stunning location hosts the annual Wind festival, featuring wind and watersports demonstrations alongside music, art, and more.
Slide the City — August 12-13 — North Vancouver
North Vancouver will be turned into a giant waterslide in August, as Slide the City comes to town. The 1,000-foot waterslide will be accompanied by food trucks, music, and more for a family-friendly weekend of activities. Slide the City also visits various cities across Canada.
Sled Island — June 21-25 — Calgary
With a lineup curated by a different artist each year, there’s always something new to enjoy at Sled Island. This year, electronic musician and DJ Flying Lotus takes the helm for five days of eclectic performances.
Calgary Stampede — July 7-16 — Calgary
To many people, the annual Stampede is Calgary’s defining feature. This week-long celebration of cowboy culture features rodeo shows, parades, agricultural fairs, food, and much more.
Edmonton Folk Festival — August 10-13 — Edmonton
Alberta’s capital hosts many festivals year-round, and the Folk Festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated each year. Held annually since 1980, it is now one of the world’s biggest folk festivals and attracts top performers each year.
International Prairie Puppet Underground Festival — June 1-4 — Regina
The whole family can enjoy the eclectic programming of this puppet festival, featuring live puppet performances, puppet films, workshops, and more.
International Sask Salsa & Bachata Congress: A Music & Dance Festival — June 2-4 — Saskatoon
Put on your dancing shoes for this annual dance event, featuring performances, workshops, and World Latin Dance Cup competitions.
Ness Creek Music Festival — July 13-16 — Ness Creek
Join thousands of festival-goers camping in the forests of Northern Saskatchewan for this music festival featuring local and international indie, roots, and folk music. As well as performances, there is also a packed schedule of more than 100 environmental, artistic and cultural activities.
Winnipeg International Jazz Festival — June 15-25 — Winnipeg
Each year, Winnipeg hosts Canadian and international artists at venues throughout the city for ten days of exciting performances across a range of genres including, of course, jazz.
Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival — August 4-6 — Dauphin
This annual Ukrainian festival has been running for over 50 years, and features food, music, dancing, and more. Discover Canadian-Ukrainian culture through the marketplace, demonstrations, traditional crafts workshops, and heritage village.
The Great Canadian Cheese Festival — June 3 & 4 — Picton
The clue is in the name — this festival is all about cheese, and it’s one of North America’s biggest cheese shows. But that’s not all — there’s a wide range of artisanal food, drink, beer, cider, and wine to try, as well as workshops and demonstrations.
Field Trip — June 3 & 4 — Toronto
Kick off the summer break in style at Field Trip, a family-friendly weekend of music, food fashion, photography, art, comedy and much more, at venues across the city.
Ottawa Bluesfest — July 6-16 — Ottawa
Featuring genres as diverse as rock, jazz, funk, soul, rap, folk, and more, there’s a lot more than blues music to see at one of the capital’s favourite festivals.
Montreal International Jazz Festival — June 28-July 8 — Montreal
Picking highlights from Montreal’s packed list of summer festivals is tricky, but the world’s biggest jazz festival can’t be missed. Acts from a range of genres take over the downtown core for ten days, with free outdoor concerts proving wildly popular with Montrealers and tourists alike.
Festival d’été du Québec — July 6-16 — Quebec City
Celebrating its 50th year in 2017, the Festival d’été has a reputation for highlighting the latest in Québécois and Francophone music, as well as big names in the Anglophone scene.
Just for Laughs — July 12-31 — Montreal
This annual bilingual comedy festival hosts top comedians from around the world. With familiar faces from television, as well as break-out and stand-up acts, Just for Laughs (known as Juste pour rire in French) is the place to be for anyone who loves to laugh.
Evolve — July 13-16 — Moncton
With social awareness as a core founding principal, Evolve has a unique approach to festival programming, featuring workshops and lectures on topics such as personal well being and environmental awareness alongside music performances from international artists.
SappyFest — August 4-6 — Sackville
This annual music festival in the small college town of Sackville (Mount Allison University is there) gathers local and national independent performers for a weekend of music and arts, with an emphasis on local food and artisans.
Lobster Bash — June 30 to July 2 — Digby, Annapolis Valley, & Bay of Fundy
Nova Scotia is famous for its lobster, and the summer isn’t complete without a feast at one of the province’s many lobster and seafood festivals. This one in particular is popular for its range of vendors, children’s events, performances, and more. It also features demonstrations and competitions relating to traditional lobster farming practices.
Antigonish Highland Games — July 2-9 — Antigonish
This annual celebration of Scottish and Gaelic sports and culture has been running for more than 150 years. Experience Scots Gaelic culture through athletic competitions, ceilidhs, piping and drumming, highland dancing, and much more.
Halifax International Busker Festival — August 2-7 — Halifax
Gathering street performers from around the world, this festival is a showcase of every type of performance you can imagine — from fire-breathing to circus arts to magic, and more. There are also carnival rides, and a market featuring local artisans and crafts.
Prince Edward Island
Cavendish Beach Music Festival — July 7-9 — Cavendish
Recently nominated Canada’s top country music festival, CBMF attracts as many as 70,000 festival-goers each summer. With camping, local food, and stunning beaches, there’s lots to enjoy for the whole family.
Adäka Cultural Festival — June 30-July 6 — Whitehorse
Showcasing the art and culture of First Nations peoples, Adäka Cultural Festival brings together hundreds of artists and visitors for a week of music, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, workshops, and more.
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