The Best Festivals in Canada

Canada is diverse and vast, and the festivals that we celebrate reflect this. From a cowboy hoe-down to sophisticated cultural events, Canadian festivals and events attract visitors worldwide.
  • 01 of 10
    Celebration of Light Fireworks, Vancouver
    ••• Celebration of Light Fireworks, Vancouver. Tourism Vancouver/ Clayton Perry

    The largest fireworks competition in the world is held over several nights every summer in Vancouver. More than just a pyrotechnical extravaganza, the Honda Celebration of Light comprises concerts, food stalls and the Seawall Challenge, a popular urban adventure race.

  • 02 of 10

    The Calgary Stampede, Calgary

    Cowboy roping a calf at Calgary Stampede rodeo.
    ••• Rick Rudnicki / Getty Images

    Don your cowboy hat and spurs and head on over to The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Each year, more than one million people visit Calgary to partake in this 10-day Calgary Stampede party held every July.

    The city of Calgary features good old fashioned hospitality combined with cultural diversity. Drive an hour out of town, and you're in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and popular destinations like Banff and Jasper, where a world of outdoor adventure awaits. 

  • 03 of 10

    Edmonton Folk Festival, Edmonton

    Edmonton Folk Festival
    ••• Alexscuccato/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

    From its humble beginning in 1980, the Edmonton Folk Festival has grown to be one of the world's premier folk festivals. Held each August, the festival's lineup is always outstanding and ticket prices reasonable.

    Edmonton is also a gateway to Jasper and the Canadian Rockies, about two hours away. 

    Read More: 7 Canadian Music Festivals Not To Miss

  • 04 of 10

    Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto

    2016 Toronto International Film Festival - 'LBJ' Premiere - Arrivals
    ••• WireImage / Getty Images

    The Toronto International Film Festivals is one of the leading film festivals in the world, ranking closely with Cannes and Sundance. Films such as Hotel Rwanda, American Beauty, and The Big Chill made their premieres at this prominent star-studded event held each September.

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  • 05 of 10
    Canadian City Life
    ••• flickr Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

    Canadians celebrate sub-zero temperatures and waist-high snowdrifts by staging great winter festivals, such as Ottawa's Winterlude. For the first three weekend's every February, the nation's capital puts on a winter festival that features ice-skating on the world's longest rink, ice sculptures, a snow playground, concerts and more.

  • 06 of 10
    Canada Day - Canada Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary
    ••• Mark Horton / Getty Images

    July 1st celebrations in Canada are akin to the July 4th festivities in the US. Marking Canada's birth as a country, July 1st sees Canadians donning their red and white attire and whooping it up with fireworks and lots of that good Canadian beer. The celebration is nationwide, but Ottawa will show you a particularly good time.

    Read all about the history and celebrations surrounding Canada Day

  • 07 of 10

    Every June/July, the Montreal International Jazz Festival offers about 500 concerts, of which three-quarters are free of charge, and hosts about 2,000 musicians from over 20 countries. Two million music lovers arrive in Montreal, Quebec, for THE international jazz rendez-vous and launching pad for new talent, Expect to see the biggest names in not just jazz but other types of music. Performing artists have included Diana Krall,  Norah Jones, and Aretha Franklin. 

    The 2016 festival welcomes Diana Ross, Cab Calloway and Wynton Marsalis amongst others. 

  • 08 of 10
    2015 Festival International de Jazz de Montreal - Day 10
    ••• Roberta Parkin / Getty Images

    Since 1983, the Montreal Comedy Festival, or, Just for Laughs as it is more commonly known, has been inviting people to get together just for fun, just for entertainment -- just for laughs. The festival, held every July, has grown in popularity and reputation and today features some of the world's greatest comedians and spawned a television show that is broadcast internationally.

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  • 09 of 10
    Quebec Winter Carnival
    ••• Quebec Winter Carnival's Place Desjardins on the Plains of Abraham hosts many of the festival's events. Jane McLean

    The habitants of New France, now Quebec, had a rowdy tradition of getting together just before Lent to eat, drink and be merry.

    Today, the Quebec Winter Carnival is the biggest winter carnival in the world and is celebrated annually at the end of January until mid-February. No sense in fighting the cold -- embrace and celebrate it.

    Read More about Canada's Winter Festivals

  • 10 of 10

    Celtic Colours International Festival

    Margaree Valley in fall, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
    ••• Barrett & MacKay / Getty Images

    Celtic Colours is held for nine days every October on the delightful island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. This unique Island-wide celebration of Celtic culture and music is the largest of its kind in North America. If you like fiddles and fiddlers, this is your festival. 

    Read more about 7 Music Festivals You Don't Want to Miss.