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10 Crazy Canadian Festivals

10 Crazy Canadian Festivals that Showcase Canada's Eccentric Side


Top 10 Canada Festivals | Best Summer Festivals | Best Winter Festivals

Canadians are a pretty tame bunch but not without their fondness for the eccentric.

Some of the following festivals are small in scale but big on originality; others are big productions drawing crowds by the thousands.

1. Elvis Festival, Collingwood, Ontario

Photo © Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Good campy fun for some people, serious business for others, the Elvis Festival draws a variety of people to Collingwood, Ontario, every summer to celebrate the music and legend of Elvis Presley (see bio).

Elvis impersonators and tribute artists - mimicking the young, rubbery one, the bloated, forgetful one and all the ones in between, can be seen strolling the streets and performing around town.

2. Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championship in Toronto, Ontario

Photo © Michael M Schwab / Getty Images
Touted as the ultimate, nonviolent conflict resolution, the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors is not just a children's pastime and the stakes are high at this amusing and surprisingly compelling world competition at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto.

3. Accordion Extravaganza! Edmonton, Alberta

Photo © Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Hear your fill of polkas, waltzes and schottisches from the men and woman who know how to play them.

The Accordion Extravaganza! in Edmonton hosts some of the world's best players for competitions, concerts and workshops and proves that the accordion really can be cool.

4. World Championship Bathtub Race, Nanaimo, BC

A four-day marine festival in Nanaimo, BC, culminates in an exciting 36-mile bathtub race across the straits of Georgia to the finish line at Departure Bay. To be competitive the "bathtubs" cost about $3,000 and sport 8 horsepower motors.

5. Antigonish Highland Games, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

With a huge Scottish population, Nova Scotia is bound to have a significant Scottish festival and the highland games in Antigonish every July delivers Scottish merriment in the way of dancing, singing and the tossing of large, heavy objects.

In fact several cities across Canada host highland games, including Fergus, Ontario, which is about an hour away from Toronto and hosts one of the biggest Scottish festivals in North America.

6. Pawlooza, London, Ontario

Photo © Pawlooza

Join 20,000 dog lovers and about 6,000 dogs for agility shows, obedience training, shopping and so much more.

This outdoor canine festival takes place on International Homeless Animals' Day, which is observed each year in August. Proceeds from Pawlooza go to animal rescue and other charities.

7. Poutine Festival, Drummondville, Quebec

Photo courtesy This is Gonna Be Good
Clog your arteries and listen to great music at the same time. The infamous Quebecois dish of french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy (see recipe) spawned this festival in Drummondville, Quebec, that draws some big-name musical talent.

8. International Festival of Animated Objects, Calgary, Alberta

As the festival name suggests, the International Festival of Animated Objects is more than just puppet shows. The performances, screenings and workshops that comprise this innovative and artistic biennial Calgary festival explore deep, sometimes dark themes with unusual puppets and characters.

Many of the shows are family friendly.

The International Festival of Animated Objects is held every other odd-numbered year, so the next one is in 2013.

9. Scotiabank Buskerfest, Toronto

Festivals that feature buskers and street performers can be seen across Canada in the summer and early fall, but the biggest in North America is Toronto's Scotiabank Buskerfest. For four days and evenings, buskers from around the world will contour their bodies, juggle, breathe fire, walk on stilts and go to other amazing lengths to entertain a crowd (and avoid getting an office job).

10. Igloofest, Montreal, Quebec

Photo © Igloofest
Sounds cold, but there's nothing like cozying up to 9 thousand fellow electronic music lovers to heat up a frigid Montreal night. Igloofest is mostly about the music but there are interesting competitions, on-site shopping and more in this Old Port Montreal setting.

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