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The Best Summer Festivals in Canada

The Best Summer Festivals in Canada for 2012

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Summer in Canada | Summer Travel Ideas | Summer Weather & Event Guide

Canada summer festivals range from big, colourful city celebrations to small cultural events. Starting west in British Columbia and moving east to Newfoundland, here are the biggest Canada summer festivals.

1. Bard on the Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Photo © David Blue / Bard on the Beach

When: Beginning of June - end of September; performances every night except Monday
Where: Vancouver; Vanier Park, on the waterfront.

See Shakespeare performed with sea and mountains as a backdrop.The Bard BBQ and Fireworks fundraising event sells out every year. Other highlights include wine and cheese tasting and lecture series. For more info and event schedule, visit Bard on Beach.

2. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

Photo by James Teterenko

When: July
Where: Stampede Park, Calgary.

Don your cowboy hat and spurs and join the one million people who visit Calgary to partake in this 10-day party held every July.

The Calgary Stampede, also known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, has been celebrated annually since 1912, and today features concerts, a parade and midway in addition to the roping and riding.

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 where a world of outdoor adventure awaits. Get all the info at Calgary Stampede.

3. Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Edmonton, Alberta

Photo © Ian MacDonald / G.W. Photography

When: 10 days mid-August
Where: Edmonton, indoor and outdoor stages, including tents, churches, saloons and more.

Edmonton boasts one of the largest fringe festivals in the world and the largest in North America. Fringe philosophy dictates that plays be unjuried, return 100% of box office proceeds back to the participating artists and remain affordable and accessible to all. This unjuried selection process means quality of performances is random but that is exactly the fun of it. See more at Fringe Theatre Adventures.

4. John Arcand Fiddle Festival, Regina, Saskatchewan

When: August
Where: Regina, Saskatchewan

This fiddle festival highlights all types of folk music as well as Métis culture. Attend concerts or join in the fun by attending some of the free musical workshops. Find out more at John Arcand Fiddle Festival.

5. Dauphin's Country Fest, Dauphin, Manitoba

When: July 1st long weekend
Where: North side of Riding Mountain National Park, south of Dauphin

Canada's longest running country music festival draws a passionate crowd and big name performers every long July weekend. The show takes place in a beautiful outdoor ampitheatre, with camping facilities on site. Accommodation sells out fast. Get all the details at Dauphin's Country Fest.

6. Niagara New Vintage Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

When: Last two weekends of June
Where: Niagara Wine Region between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Grimsby

More than 30 participating wineries are ready to welcome visitors during the Niagara New Vintage Festival with tours, tastings, and special events all celebrating the first taste of Ontario's newest wines. More info at New Vintage Festival.

7. Caribana, Toronto, Ontario

Peter Mintz / Getty Images

When: Three weeks end of July to beginning of August
Where: Toronto

Caribana is a big, bold, colourful festival celebrating Caribbean music, cuisine, and culture. Introduced in the late 60s, Toronto's Caribana is one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America and a huge international draw. The craziness includes a parade, concerts, club events and more.

8. Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal, Quebec

Photo © Darren Hopes / Getty Images

When: end of June - beginning of July
Where: Montreal

About 500 concerts, of which three-quarters are free of charge, performed by 2000 musicians from over 20 countries. Two million visitors visit this event that has become THE international jazz rendezvous and a laboratory for the creation of new talent, contributing to the successes of artists such as Diana Krall and Norah Jones.

9. Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, Montreal, Quebec

When: 10 days in July
Where: Montreal

Since 1983, the Montreal Comedy Festival, or, Just for Laughs as it is more commonly known, has been held every July. The 10-day event  features some of the world's greatest comedians at both indoor and outdoor venues, a comedy film festival and has spawned a television show that is broadcast internationally.

10. New France Festival, Quebec City, Quebec

Photo: Gary Cralle / Getty Images

When: 10 days in July
Where: Quebec City

Not that you need a reason to visit this gorgeous city, but the New France Festival draws people to its historic old town for an eclectic mix of music and entertainment

Feel the energy in the Quebec air. New France Festival video.

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