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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.

1. Vancouver Symphony of Fire, Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada -- A lifeguard and floating slide are silhouetted on English Bay at Canada's 2009 Celebration of Light fireworks performance
The largest fireworks competition in the world is held over several nights every summer in Vancouver.

2. The Calgary Stampede, Calgary

Photo by James Teterenko
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 party held every July.

The city of Calgary featrues 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.

3. Edmonton Folk Festival, Edmonton

From its humble beginning in 1980, the Edmonton 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.

4. Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto

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.

5. Winterlude, Ottawa

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.

6. Canada Day Celebrations, July 1st, Ottawa & Canadawide

Photo courtesy Ottawa Tourism
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.

7. Montreal Jazz Fest, Montreal

Every June/July, the Montreal International Jazz Festival offers about 500 concerts, of which three-quarters are free of charge, and hosts about 2000 musicians from over 20 countries. About 2 million visitors visit an event that has become THE international jazz rendez-vous and a laboratory for the creation of new talent, most recently contributing to the successes of artists such as Diana Krall and Norah Jones. (text courtesy Montreal Jazz Fest website)

8. Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Montreal

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.

9. Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City

Photo © 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.

10. Celtic Colours International Festival

Photograph by Daryl Benson / Getty Images
Celtic Colours is held for nine days every October. This unique Cape Breton Island-wide celebration of Celtic culture is the largest of its kind in North America.

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