From film premieres to live jazz, Canada is in the mood for celebrating

  • 1.2 million visitors to the Calgary Stampede
  • 370-plus films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival
  • 17 days of winter fun during the Québec Carnival

Canadians are famous for being polite, but year-round our passion spills out into the streets. Kick up your heels during the world-renowned Calgary stampede where rodeo legends are made, shiny belt buckles are cool, and ten-gallon cowboy hats are everywhere. Listen to the slow grooves and smoky vibes at the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the world. Expect all-night dancing at Yukon's Dawson City Music, and snack on smoked Arctic char while you tap out an Inuit beat during the Nunavut Toonik Tyme festival. Celebrate Atlantic Canada's roots at New Brunswick's Harvest Jazz & Blues Fest and Festival Acadien. Watch competitors carve up the mountainside at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler. And as the snow falls, visit a magical ice palace, hug a snowman, and join a winter night parade at the frosty but fabulous Quebec Winter Carnival.

Alberta

  • Saddle up during the annual 10-day whoop-up known around the world as the Calgary Stampede drawing together cowboys, rodeo drivers, and parade lovers.
  • Eclectic and unpredictable drama hit the stage every August during the raw and playful Edmonton Fringe Theater Festival uniting the world’s best entertainers with half a million spectators.
  • Capital Ex is Edmonton's biggest summer party featuring 10 days of shows, fireworks, and frontier fun.
  • Rugged and reel, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival drops adventurers into the most exotic and remote locations in the world. Prepare to dream big.

Manitoba

  • Drop into the “The World’s Largest Kitchen Party” and feast on sugar pie and bison meat during the Festival du voyageur, celebrating Canada's fur trading era.
  • Try bannock (fry bread), buy an authentic hand drum, and feel hearts and minds moving to one rhythmic beat during the international pow wow at the Manito Abhee Festival.
  • Winnipeg Folk Festival is the ultimate mix and mingle featuring traditional folk, alt country, roots, gospel, blues, Celtic, French Canadian and world music.

Nova Scotia

  • Become part of the Gaelic community, dance a ceilidh, and learn why Celtic music is alive in the hearts of every islander attending the Celtic Colours International Festival.
  • Fire breathing cyclists and body bending circus acts converge on the waterfront, joining half a million visitors during the Halifax Busker Festival.
  • Cross the ocean floor before the tide covers your tracks, as you mingle with muddy locals for the Not Since Moses Run and Walk. Afterward, feast on sumptuous Bay of Fundy seafood.
  • Tempt your eyes and ears with musical fusion as Canada's Aboriginal, Black, Celtic, and Acadian performers sing, dance, drum and celebrate during DRUM! in Nova Scotia.
  • The piping, drums, dancers and acrobatic performances move at a dramatic pace when the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo marches into Halifax bringing skill, drills, and contemporary thrills.

Ontario

  • Canada's Capital becomes glistening ice sculptures, live music, and thousands of skaters gliding along the Rideau Canal to celebrate wondrous Winterlude.
  • Love triangles and betrayals make for gripping theatre at the famous Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
  • Join the paparazzi, A-list celebrities and silver screen legends screening indie flicks and world-premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Get an exclusive look at the sets, props, wardrobe, and other behind-the-scenes magic at the Shaw Festival theatre.
  • Alongside bars carved from blocks of ice, raise your glass as 30 wineries serve up more than 100 varieties of icewine during the Niagara Icewine Festival.
  • Expect heart-pounding twists and turns - from Aboriginal fashions to fancy shawl dancing - when 1000 native dancers and drummers electrify your spirit during the Canadian Aboriginal Festival.

Quebec

  • Experience the cool vibes of the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the largest jazz festival on the planet.
  • Explore an ice palace, go snow rafting, hug a snowman, and dance on ice at the Quebec Winter Carnival.
  • Join some 50 vibrant “Giants” (100-lb figurines) as well as 700 artists and performers transforming Québec City to New France during Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France.
  • Skate blades soar when competitors speed down a 535-metre urban ice track with bumps, jumps, and courage, during the Red Bull Crashed Ice tournament in Québec City. The 60-metre vertical is epic.

Weather

When to go
  • Most Canadian festivals are held in summer, from June through early September.
  • Canadians embrace the winter cold with huge festivals such as Winterlude in Ottawa and Quebec City's Winter Carnival.
  • Montréal is a city of festivals with 30 summer celebrations from music to Grand Prix racing.
  • Diversity is the theme of Canadian festivals and events, from cowboy culture during the Calgary Stampede to an explosion of Caribbean culture at Toronto's Caribbean Carnival.
Need to know
  • Book tickets in advance to secure your place at the most popular festival concerts, performances and events.
  • Most top festivals offer free concerts, events, and workshops.
  • Just ask. Canada celebrates family-friendly entertainment at most events and festivals, keeping the boredom factor for kids low and the joy for parents high.
  • Smaller, intimate festivals are a great way to get to know local neighborhoods and there's always tasty street food on hand.