Top 10 Incredible Festivals in Canada You Just Can’t Miss

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Canada, despite its small size, is one of the fastest and diverse countries in the world, with a wide variety of different festivals and cultural celebrations, which, it celebrates with a lot of pomp and show. Several festivals in Canada happen all through the year and attract hundreds and thousands of tourists and visitors worldwide. The celebrations in Canada vary over a wide range. Name the occasion, and it’s celebrated in Canada!

Top 10 Festivals in Canada. Image source: Bing

Given below is a list of 10 festivals in Canada which you need to attend before you die. It’s next to impossible to decide which one’s the best, and so, these are not listed in the order of significance. The list below gives a vivid description of the different festivals that are celebrated in Canada.

Top 10 Festivals In Canada:

Vancouver Celebration of Light, Vancouver

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The Vancouver Celebration of Light, also known as the Honda Celebration of Light, is an annual musical fireworks competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, which lights up the Vancouver skyline with incredible colors 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. The first one was held from July 25 to August 5, 1990.

It’s one of the many prestigious festivals in Canada. Held in Vancouver, this is probably one of the biggest fireworks competitions held in the world throughout several nights every summer.

You haven’t seen fireworks until you’ve experienced Vancouver’s Honda Celebration of Light. It’s one of the city’s signature summer events; the festival lights up the sky over English Bay for three nights at the end of July. Along with the fireworks themselves, the Vancouver Celebration of Light starts off each evening with an accompanying music festival down at Sunset Beach.

If you want to enjoy this fireworks competition, find a decent spot to watch the show. It’s an incredible 25 to 30 minutes of pyro-musical action. This Honda extravaganza includes food stalls, concerts, and the Seawall challenge, which is a very famous urban adventure race.

The Calgary Stampede, Calgary

Amongst the other festivals in Canada, this event traces back to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first-ever fair. Held in Calgary, every July, it is one of Canada’s best-known events.

This is one of the events where you can be in cowboy attire and spark at the most excellent outdoor show on this planet. This 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.

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For many people, Calgary is synonymous with “Stampede,” a 10-day extravaganza each July that attracts local families who’ve been attending for several decades, as well as first-time visitors who descend from around the world. Thump of the cowboy boots can be heard from a distance as a fest-goers return and take advantage of free pancake breakfasts around town, which is an annual tradition, before moving on to the main attraction.

Many come to the Calgary Stampede specifically for the exciting chuckwagon races, whereas many come for agricultural showcases and concerts featuring country legends and rock royalty. Most of the locals declare the chuckwagon races their favorite event – a nightly occurrence that makes the spectators have a severe adrenaline rush and the ground rumble!

Montreal Jazz Fest, Montreal

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Another insanely famous festival (from the variety of different festivals in Canada) taking place annually in Montreal is Jazz Fest, which is the world’s largest jazz festival. While you might wonder that the most prominent jazz festivals would be in New Orleans, it’s the annual late June, early July event in Montreal. This is a 10-day annual event and hosts approximately more than 500 concerts, of which the majority are free of charge.

More than 2 million music lovers join this musical extravaganza in Quebec to witness the heart-warming performances of different musicians from across the globe. Every year the festival showcases around 3,000 artists representing 30+ countries, performing in hundreds of concerts, including a variety of outdoor performances.

Jazz Fest shuts down a significant part of the city’s downtown area to accommodate the festival’s diverse selection of shows as the festival attracts millions of visitors.

A vast majority of the shows are free to the public and take place throughout ten outdoor stages and ten indoor concert halls. If you are a music lover, especially a fan of jazz, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is a must-attend at some point in your life.

Pride Toronto, Toronto

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Pride Toronto takes place mostly in June and boasts an estimated attendance of more than 1 million people. The 10-day festival can’t determine the exact number of attendees. Still, recent estimates have around one million attendees for the full week, with 100,000 attending the parade itself, which is held in either the last weekend in June or the first weekend in July, depending on the year’s circumstances.

It is internationally recognized as one of the largest organized gay pride festivals in the world. The cheerful and joyous gathering includes a particular Family Pride program, Trans Pride, the Dyke March, and the phenomenal Pride Parade – featuring “costumes, choreography, and color.”

The festival celebrates our diverse sexual and gender identities, along with a touch of Canadian culture and arts. Apart from the famous pride parade, the Toronto event features a street fair, performances, and art displays that offer up fun for the attendees. Pride Toronto, for the people, means a month of festivities and a vibrant festival weekend.

Pride Toronto means a month of celebration and a blissful festival weekend. Some of the main events of Pride Toronto’s festival are the Trans March, the Dyke March, and the Pride parade. If you’re in Toronto, you should attend this Pride Festival as this is one of the worth attending festivals amongst all the festivals in Canada and have a fantastic time.

Winterlude, Ottawa

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People living in Canada get to more easily experience life in the cold north than we do. Even the freezing weather, sub-zero temperatures, and waist-high snowdrifts can’t stop the Canadians from celebrating. Winterlude is one such example from the full range of festivals in Canada.

It is a three-week-long fun-filled annual event that happens in early February each year, featuring ice sculptures, musical performances, art displays, and outdoor activities like the massive snow park known as the Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau. It is spread throughout the city and in the neighboring town of Gatineau in Quebec. It started in 1979 and has become one of the nation’s capital’s biggest tourist draw, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The 2007 edition of the festival drew a record 1.6 million visitors.


Winterlude, along with its different events ranging from glittering ice carvings and majestic snow sculptures to a gigantic snow playground and explosive shows under the winter sky, is a great way to celebrate and enjoy the winter season. Apart from the exciting events such as ice-skating on the longest rink in the world, a snow playground, ice sculptures, and several concerts, the food is to die for, and the Maple syrup treats are outstanding. Moreover, there are warming stations and food stalls along the way where you can get hot chocolate, Beaver Tails, and much more.

Canada Day Celebrations, Ottawa & Canada-Wide

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July 1 commemorates the joining of Canada’s original three provinces as a country and leading to the birth of Canada in 1867, and is celebrated vividly across Canada as the official Canada Day. Canada Day, as the name suggests, is a federal holiday to mark the country and show off national pride.

The entire population comprising of the Canadians and visitors dress in red and white outfits as they celebrate on downtown Ottawa streets that are closed to traffic for the occasion. A grand firework display marks the beginning of this grand extravaganza. The festivities remain exceptional, and Ottawa is one of the best places to have fun and enjoy this celebration with a round of Canadian beers.

Most communities across the country host various celebrations for Canada Day. It typically outdoor public events and citizenship ceremonies.

A variety of other programs are offered at official sites in both downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, including different interactive activities, appearances by special guests, live performances by the top and emerging Canadian music bands, and an incredible fireworks show!

Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City

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The Winter Carnival in Quebec City is the most famous of all the winter festivals that take place annually across Canada is one of the oldest festivals in Canada. The Quebec Winter Carnival has been celebrated irregularly since 1894 and yearly since 1955.

Quebec has a significant French population, and they follow this somewhat disorderly custom of coming together to mark the starting of Lent over a round of drinks and be joyous. This is one of the biggest winter carnivals held in the world and is held annually in January and February.

This Carnival has several recognizable activities and attractions, including opening and closing ceremonies, outdoor sporting events (including ice skating, skiing, hockey, snowshoeing, and dogsledding), free outdoor public banquets, a giant masquerade ball and a massive snow sculpture contest, the most well-known being the night-time and daytime parades.

One of the most famous events may be the “bain de Neige,” where people plunge into icy, snowy water wearing bathing suits or other hilarious outfits. Approximately 10,00,000 people attend the CarnivalCarnival every year, making it the largest winter festival in the world. The cold is just not an excuse for you to miss this event! Instead, you should embark and embrace this beautiful festival.

Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the leading film festivals in the world, and it gives a close competition to Sundance and the Cannes film festival. Commonly known as just TIFF, it is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals on this planet! Nearly 500,000 people annually visit the festival, which was founded in 1976 and happened every September since then. TIFF offers patrons things presentations of new releases, live film events, and an interactive gallery.

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The Toronto International Film Festival held annually in September showcases a wide range of films and premieres movies from all around the globe. It is one of the popular Toronto festivals which features leading films such as Ray, 127 Hours, Black Swan, American Beauty, and many more, and prominent stars of the Hollywood industry attend this festival.

The most significant honor to take home at the festival is the People’s Choice Award, which is based on the audience (which comprises of filmgoers at the festival) vote, as the name itself suggests. Over its history, popular movies like The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire, Silver Linings Playbook, Lion, La La Land, and several others have all taken home this prestigious award. The festival has grown every year since its inception, attracting over 480,000 people annually!

Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Montreal

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Laughter is the best medicine, and working on this principle, Montreal’s Just for Laughs Comedy Festival is spreading happiness and entertainment for people, since the year 1983. The aim is to make people’ just laugh’. Held every year in July, this festival has immense popularity among not only the Canadian population, and it incorporates a series of events, performances, and shows, some of which are free for all to enjoy.

Staying in Montreal, Just For Laughs, is another top festival in the world, this time for comedy. In its early stages, it was founded as a two-day, solely French language event, but has evolved into an internationally recognized comedy festival and has grown exponentially to become the world’s largest international comedy festival.

Just For Laughs is now a 10-day long festival that features some of the best-known comedians in the world and is broadcasted internationally on television and the internet. While the Just For Laughs brand has extended into a prank television show, live shows throughout the year, and talent management, the inaugural Montreal festival remains its point of origin. It is a must-attend for comedy lovers.

Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto

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Last, but certainly not least, is one of the best-known festivals from the list of diverse festivals in Canada is The Canadian National Exhibition, also known as The Ex. It is a nearly three-week annual event leading up to the Labour Day weekend that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto. It is Canada’s most significant yearly fair and also the fifth biggest annual fair in North America. It’s been around since 1879 and has become almost like a family tradition for many, entertaining people from all walks of life.

From thrilling rides to international cuisine and the latest and greatest in Canadian technology, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), otherwise known as “The Ex” is an end-of-summer ritual in Canada. Labyrinths of music, swirling candy-colored lights, and diversity of rides full of thrill will surely send a shiver down your spine! Kids will love the midway with rides and carnival food.

Don’t let them miss the international cuisine and treat their taste buds to something different by checking out the various Indian, African, and Asian food vendors.

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