Coast to Coast: 6 Canadian summer festivals worth road tripping for this year

Jun 3 2016, 2:14 am

Oh Canada.

Our home. Our land.

The vast distance between provinces and cities can be overwhelming at first, but with the low dollar, there’s no better time to explore our own country. With summer here, and as we plan warm weather adventures, each Canadian city offers its own take on activities and celebrations that defines it. Whether it’s on planes, trains, or automobiles, we’re ready to explore Canada at its finest. And to get us started, we’ve rounded up a list of must-do events across the country to heat up your summer.

Hit the largest jazz fest in the country at Montreal International Jazz Festival


Montreal International Jazz Festival/Tourism Montreal Jean-Francois Leblanc

The largest Canadian jazz festival title definitely belongs to Montreal’s International Jazz Festival. Each year, the city fills up with some world class jazz, and its renowned street parties – with this year being no exception. With the closure of downtown streets in the Quartier des spectacles, free live jazz, and beers flowing, it’s no wonder this festival held the 2004 Guinness World Record as the world’s largest jazz festival. While there, get local and buy beers from your local Depanneur. And go shopping.

When: June 30 to July 9

Celebrate Canada Day in the nation’s capital


Canada Day/ Ottawa Tourism

There’s nothing like celebrating a birthday at home, among thousands of your closest friends and family. And that’s the feeling when celebrating Canada Day in our nation’s capital. If you’ve never been to Ottawa, this year’s 149th birthday celebration should be a good start. The entire downtown core turns into a party centred around the Parliament. To top it of, the capital takes its fireworks displays seriously, leaving you with a picturesque Canada Day. While there, check out Parliament Hill – duh.

When: July 1

Don your best cowboy hat at Calgary Stampede


Calgary Stampede at dusk/ Calgary Stampede

What: The world-famous Calgary Stampede is more than just a cowboy festival. From its ridiculously crazy (yet somehow delicious) food, to its day beer gardens, the Stampede turns Calgary into a 24-hour party city. Of course, there’s the rodeo, but there is also a ton of live shows to check out during the day or night. Speaking of night, Cowboys and Nashville North tents are the jam spots when the summer sun sets. And don’t forget those nighttime rides at the Stampede Midway, and the Stampede Parade. While there, make some time to check out Banff.

When: July 8 to 17

Celebrate East Coast life by the sea at Seafest in Yarmouth

Yarmouth’s Seafest is an annual celebration of life by the sea that began in 1979. As a signature festival for the province of Nova Scotia, Seafest is one of the largest attractions in the region, with celebrations taking place over 10 days in July. From pageants to parades, and lobsters, the festivities are for all ages, and is definitely a reason to head out – all the way out – east this summer. While there, do road trip up to Halifax.

When: July 13 to 17

Watch the night sky light up at Celebration of Light in Vancouver


Celebration of Light 2015/Robert Henrickson

Every year, Vancouver hosts different cities over three evenings of music and fireworks just off its beach along English Bay. The celebration is an annual competition, with this year featuring Team Netherlands on July 23, Team Australia on July 27, and Team USA on July 30. This year, the Walt Disney Company will also be producing USA’s fireworks display. The festival is accompanied by food trucks, live music, and incredible views. While there, check out Vancouver’s craft beer scene, and Wreck Beach – also a clothing optional beach.

When: July 23, 27, and 30

Experience the Toronto Caribbean Carnival

Caribana has to be one of the 6ix’s annual main attractions every summer. Although Caribana is now officially the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, everything about this epic festival remains the same. The colourful explosion of Caribbean culture, music, food, and dance takes place over three weeks this summer, with the main parade taking place on July 30. Known as one of Toronto’s busiest weekends, this often falls on the Civic Holiday long weekend. Not only that, but Drake’s OVO Fest also takes place this weekend. If there is ever a time to visit Toronto this summer, get down there for this long weekend. While there, check out the Toronto Islands for some R&R, in particular Hanlan’s Point’s clothing optional beach.

When: July 28 to 31

Yasmin AboelsaudYasmin Aboelsaud

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