From coast to coast, Canada offers a wealth of major and celebrated events and festivals that draw millions of visitors to the ten provinces and 3 territories each year.

Here is our selection of the best 20 Canada events and festivals not to be missed!

From the comedy of the world famous Just for Laughs Festival in Montréal, Québec, to the over 44 cultural pavilions of the Folklorama Festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Celebration of Light fireworks in Vancouver, Canada has plenty to offer travellers and visitors in the way of events and festivals.

mid January to early February
Old Port of Montréal, Québec (QC)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsA large outdoor winter rave at the Quays of the Old Port of Montréal, the unusual Igloofest, regarded as the hippest city event in Canada, attracts tens of thousands of visitors to enjoy electronic dance music over four weekends totaling 12 nights. Attracting the the best local and international DJs, Igloofest showcases festival goers traditionally dressed in one-piece ski suits for the raves, with the best outfits being posted on Igloofest's website and awarded prizes.

For more information about Igloofest in the Old Port of Montréal visit:

Québec Winter Carnival
Carnaval de Québec
end January to mid February
Québec City, Québec (QC)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsDeservedly hailed as one of the top 20 Canada events and festivals, and recognized as the world's largest winter carnival for more than half a century, the Québec Winter Carnival lasts for more than 2 weeks and attracts thousands of visitors to take part in a host of activities for all ages, including snow baths, night parades, snow slides, giant foosball, snow and ice sculptures, shows, sleigh rides, and skating, a microbrewery beer festival, two Magical Night Parades, a 400-foot-long Ice Slide, a Day Parade, and an outdoor stage with dance and music shows every Friday and Saturday night.

For more information about the Québec Winter Carnival visit:
or take a look at the official web site at

WinterCity Festival
end of January through February
Toronto, Ontario (ON)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsThe 14 day winter celebration of culture, food and a variety of outdoor events in Toronto, the WinterCity Festival is actually a combination of three different events, the WOW Series taking place outdoors and focussing on family oriented performances from all over the world, the indoor Warm Up Series featuring multi-media events and performances geared towards both family and mature audiences and the Winterlicious program, which involves more than 150 restaurants offering special price-fixe promotions on meals. Winterlicious is Toronto's biggest winter culinary celebration to date.

For more information about the WinterCity Festival visit:

Calgary Winterfest
early to late February
Calgary, Alberta (AB)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsCommemorating the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Calgary Winterfest, a family oriented event held for 11 days in February, celebrates the fun of winter with live music including multicultural offerings representing the city's various cultures, dance, carnivals, story-telling, snowboarding competitions, ice sculptures and dogsled races as well as professional freestyle skiers showcasing their skills, and aspiring athletes testing their skills in the biathlon and the luge. And at Fort Calgary visitors can enjoy a trip back in time as live entertainment celebrates the former post of the NW Mounted Police.

For more information about the Calgary Winterfest visit:

first three weekends in February
Ottawa, Ontario (ON)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsThe annual Winterlude festival held in Canada’s capital city attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year and celebrates winter with a host of outdoor activities including public skating and skating displays, ice sculpture competitions, musical concerts at the Snowbowl, children's play areas, the nation’s largest ice playground, and drinks served at the Snowbowl Lounge, which is completely made of ice. One of the biggest attractions of this event is the Rideau Canal, which is the world's largest skating rink when frozen, covering close to 8 km. Also popular are the fun Bed Race and the Giant Ski event in which the aim is to set a new record every year for holding as many people as possible on one set of skis.

For more information about Winterlude in Ottawa visit:
or take a look at:

Festival du Voyageur
end February
Winnipeg, Manitoba (MB)

The 10-day Festival du Voyageur event celebrates Canada’s fur trading history, winter, all things French-Canadian, and the “voyageurs” who worked for the fur trading companies. Affectionately referred to as the “World’s Largest Kitchen Party”, the Festival du Voyageur offers a wide variety of historical and educating activities, exhibits, arts and crafts and entertainment.

Click here for more details about the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg or visit the official web site at

Montréal High Lights Festival
Montréal en Lumière
late February to early March
Montréal, Québec (QC)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsOne of the largest winter festivals in the world, and one of the most popular winter festivals in Canada, deservedly recognized here as one of the best 20 Canada events, the ten-day Montréal High Lights Festival here as, also known as Montréal en Lumière, attracts more than 900,000 visitors each year to the heart of downtown Montréal to enjoy a wide range of more than 100 concerts showcasing musical acts, live theatre, jugglers and acrobats, over 200 food and wine events and a high number of exhibitions and performances, free outdoor family activities, and a full night of exquisitely original events. The Montréal High Lights Festival transforms the Quartier des spectacles and its Place des Festivals — the festive heart of downtown Montréal — into the ultimate family destination!

For more information about the Montréal High Lights Festival visit:

World Ski & Snowboard Festival
mid April
Whistler, Blackcomb, British Columbia (BC)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsThe biggest annual gathering of winter sports, music, arts and culture in North America, the 10-day World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, Blackcomb, British Columbia (BC), home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, features the increasingly popular World Skiing Invitational and the World Snowboarding Classic, with participants ranging from professional to amateur, as well as the Big Air event in which athletes are launched as high as possible in front of massive crowds. Other popular parts of this event include more than 50 free concerts, a fashion show, a photography showcase as well as a filmmaker showdown to complete the wide range of entertainment.

For more information about the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, British Columbia visit:

St Patrick’s Day Parade
late March
Montréal, Québec (QC)

Top Events Canada – St Patrick's DayHeld every year since 1824, 192 years and longest consecutively running parade without interruption, Montréal’s St Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America and has come to be recognized as one of North America's Top 10 Saint Patrick's Day Parades, as well as being hailed as one of the top 20 Canada events and festivals. With the appearance of a giant replica of St Patrick marking the start of the fun, the three hour parade of floats, over 40 marching bands bands, a score of community and cultural groups, and thousands of appropriately dressed participants in green, the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Montréal draws a crowd of approximately 600,000 fans as it weaves through downtown Montreal.

For more information about the Montréal St Patrick's Day visit:

Summer Solstice (National Aboriginal Day)

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

15 years ago, June the 21st was declared National Aboriginal Day to coincide with the summer solstice, a time when Aboriginal Peoples across the country celebrate their culture and heritage. In Yellowknife the week long Summer Solstice Festival with workshops and interactive educational activities and entertainment, including more than 120 performers, and over 55 vendors and sideshows vendors attracts locals and visitors alike.

Click here for more details about the Summer Solstice Festival or visit the Dawson City Music Festival website at :

Bard on the Beach
June to September
Vancouver, Canada (BC)

Shakespeare Events in CanadaIn tented pavilions at an evocative waterfront venue, the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival is a summer production of four professionally-produced plays by Shakespeare performed against a spectacular backdrop of the Vancouver mountains, sea and sky. Established in 1990, this is one of Canada's largest professional Shakespeare Festivals that has become one of the best 20 Canada events and festivals and which offers a unique theatre experience.

For more about the Bard on the Beach event visit:
or visit the official web site at:

Winnipeg Folk Festival
early July
Winnipeg, Manitoba (MB)

Top Events Canada – Folk FestivalsWith a reputation across the country for being one of the best festivals of its kind, hailed here as one of the best 20 Canada events and festivals for showcasing some of the hottest acts, both established and up-and-coming, the outdoor Winnipeg Folk Fest takes place in July and attracts tens of thousands of festival-goers to Birds Hill Provincial Park in Winnipeg. For over 41 years, the Winnipeg Folk Fest has welcomed more than 250 talented musicians in all genres including blues, Celtic, world and bluegrass music and was recently called “One of the Top Ten music festivals in the world” by Delta Sky Magazine. During the day the artists perform and jam with each other on seven stages around the festival site, exchanging personal anecdotes and unique talent. In the evening, the Main Stage becomes the focal point with an eclectic assortment of folk music from around the world set against the backdrop of the prairies.

Click here for more details about the Winnipeg Folk Festival or visit the official web site at

Calgary Exhibition & Stampede
mid July
Calgary, Alberta (AB)

Top Events Canada RodeosDeservedly listed here as one of the top 20 Canada events, and one of top 15 events and festivals in Calgary, Alberta, preserving and promoting western heritage and values, the Calgary Stampede, recognized as one of the world’s Top 10 rodeos by the Toronto Sun is also known as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth". This 10-day agricultural fair and rodeo held every July in Calgary is one of the biggest events in the Canadian calendar and attracts more than two million visitors and offers more than $2-million in prizes drawing top competitors from across Canada, the USA and around the world. As well as the rodeo itself, the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede events include a two-and-a-half-mile kick-off parade, a chuck wagon derby, the TransAlta Grandstand Show, a plethora of concerts and an array of animal and agricultural displays.

For more about the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede see:
or visit:

Craven Country Jamboree
mid July
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (SK)

Top Events Canada – Country MusicListed as the "World's Greatest Country Music Festival", the Craven Country Jamboree is the longest running multi-day music festival in Canada, attracting major stars, performers and visitors from all over the world. Now recognized as one of the best events in Canada, the 4-day Craven Country Jamboree also offers a wide variety of entertainment including everything from bull-riding demonstrations, a song-writers circle, Karaoke action, to beer gardens and a fun dance party

Click here for more details about the Craven Country Jamboree
or visit the official web site at:

Cavendish Beach Music Festival
early to mid July
Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island ( PEI )

Top Events Canada – Country MusicNominated for the Country Festival of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association in 2010, the increasingly popular Cavendish Beach Music Festival showcases more than 25 of the world's greatest musicians and talent performing live over four days.

Click here for more details about the Cavendish Beach Music Festival
or visit the official web site at:

Just for Laughs Festival
late July
Montréal, Québec (QC)

Top Events Canada – Theatre in Canada
The world’s largest comedy event, Just for Laughs brings more than 2 million people together to celebrate comedy in gala performances, theatre, club shows, comedic films, open-air shows, television specials and an industry marketplace. A Montréal institution for almost 30 years, the Just For Laughs Festival has been treating spectators to the widest array of international comedians and purely funny people ever assemble. It is no surprise that it has been listed as one of the top 20 Canada events and festivals.

For more information about the Just for Laughs Festival visit:
or take a look at or visit the official web site a

Celebration of Light
Vancouver, British Columbia (BC)

Top Events Canada - fireworksThe Celebration of Light, Vancouver's two-week midsummer fireworks bonanza, attracts more than 1.6 million spectators when the sparkles hit the skies on 4 separate nights over two weeks - Wednesday, Saturday and Wednesday and Saturday again at the end of July and beginning of August. The Celebration of Light is today the largest fireworks competition in the world and is considered to be one of North America’s top pyrotechnic competition, and here as one of the top 20 Canada events.

For more information abut the Celebration of Light in Vancouver visit:
or take a look at:

Folklorama Festival
early August
Winnipeg, Manitoba (MB)

The largest and longest-running multi-cultural festival in the world, the Folklorama Festival presents over 44 cultural pavilions where guests can sample ethnic food, meet traditionally costumed volunteers, enjoy lively cultural entertainment, interactive fun and learn about cultures and countries from around the world. Folklorama attracts close to half a million visitors each year.

Click here for details about the Folklorama Festival in Winnipeg or visit the official web site at

Pacific National Exhibition
mid August to beginning September
Vancouver, British Columbia (BC)

Entertaining millions of people since 1910, the ever popular Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver's annual summer Fair is the longest running and best attended annual ticketed event in British Columbia and the site of hundreds of famous events - from live music performances, all sorts of shows, exhibits, sporting events, amusement rides, concerts, and a wealth of cultural activities.

For more information about the Pacific National Exhibition see:

Inummarit Music Festival
Arviat, Nunavut (NU)

Featuring four days of top quality music and all sorts of entertainment, the the south Nunavut community of Arviat hosts the lively Inummarit Music Festival complete with 4 days of singing and entertainment. The Inummarit Music Festival has been named as one the top summer events in Nunavut and is recognized as one of the top summer events in Canada.

For more about the Inummarit Music Festival see:

OPG Winter Festival of Lights
November, December and January
Niagara Falls, Ontario (ON)

Top Events Canada – Winter Events and winter festivalsMore than 120 spectacular illuminations, weekly fireworks shows and fun family friendly programming, the OPG Winter Festival of Lights attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors annually to Niagara Falls, Ontario. The OPG Winter Festival of Lights and has been recently recognized as one of Canada’s 10 Most Festive Christmas Cities by Readers Digest Canada, the Condé Nast Traveler’s international list of Most Extravagant Christmas Light Displays and’s list of Canada’s Best Winter Festivals.

For more information about the Winter Festival of Lights see:
Winter Festival of Lights
or visit the official web site at

This choice of the top 20 Canada events and festivals in all Canada were made by made following the input of readers likes you as well as travel journalists, travel agents and many experts on important Canadian attractions.

If you have any comments about the selections, or would like to nominate a new feature, please email the Chief Editors, Ursula and Eldrid Retief at

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Top 20 events and festivals in all 10 Canada Provinces and 3 Territories


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