With a country so diverse in tastes and cultures, it’s no wonder that Canadians develop and attract a unique breed of food enthusiasts who find cause to celebrate any and all things pertaining to the culinary arts. Cold winters and remote locations have no bearing on the Canadian foodie spirit, with food-centered events highlighting every season of the year and spanning across provinces coast to coast. From hilarious celebrations of Canadian food staples to sophisticated culinary and tasting events, here are 7 of the most awesome food and culinary festivals to check out in this incredible country.
7. Prince Edward Island Fall Flavors Festival
A month-long culinary event, the Prince Edward Island Fall Flavors Festival takes place this year from September 4 to October 4. Featuring a number of small sub-festivals, namely the Beef N’ Blues, International Shellfish Festival and Lobster Party on the Beach (yum!), the festival also boasts a myriad of other events across the island consisting of both educational and cooking/tasting components. This year’s event is already poised to be one for the books, with big name Food Network chefs such as Michael Smith, Lynn Crawford and Anna Olson (among others) all slated to host a variety of drool-worthy culinary experiences.
6. The Great Saskatchewan Mustard Festival
As the country’s largest producer of mustard, it’s no wonder that this province holds a festival to celebrate all things yellow. Organizers invite tons of local chefs to exhibit their best creations using this indispensable ingredient and battle each other for the coveted “Yellow Chef’s Coat” awarded to the People’s Choice best dish. Combined with an awesome lineup of music, and a kid-friendly atmosphere, this is one end-of-August event you won’t want to miss.
5. Ottawa PoutineFest
With a tagline like #spreadthecurd, it’s pretty easy to read the vibe of this May festival in Ottawa dedicated solely to the mighty Canadian Poutine. It is here that you can indulge in both tradition and crazy poutine flavors showcasing everything from Lobster to Caribbean Fusion. Add in some live music and an abundance of poutine-centered activities like a Poutine Eating Contest, Potato Sack Races, Spud Up Relay and Potato Shoot Out, and you’ve got yourself one memorable, truly Canadian food-loving party.
4. Eat! Vancouver
This eight day celebration of Vancouver’s extremely diverse culinary scene concluded a successful 13th run in May of 2015. Taking place at various venues in Vancouver’s downtown core, the festival focuses specifically on food and cooking and hosts a variety of hands-on workshops and cooking classes, as well as a Canadian Flavors Gala, Dinner Series, Hospitality Symposium and Pastry Tasting and Panel.
3. A Taste of Niagara-on-the-Lake
Fitting every definition of a culinary adventure, this three day event features the top five Niagara restaurants and the top five wineries, with tastings ranging from cheese and wine to full course gourmet meals. Also included is a shuttle between each location, embodying the event’s nature as a true food and wine tour. In fact, having become so popular in recent years, organizers have been forced to hold the event three times a year, with opportunities to attend now available in January, March and April. Capacity is limited, so if this event is up your alley, make sure to move quickly to snag one of the 130 coveted tickets per date.
Toronto’s answer to the growing popularity of prix fixe culinary events, the next installment of Winterlicious will be held January 29 – February 11, 2016, and will feature the participation of over 200 restaurants across the city’s diverse neighborhoods. The festival series also offers a wide variety of special events centered on the Winterlicious theme, including culinary classes and demonstrations, dinner theater, tasting and pairings and intimate chef workshops.
1. Dine Out Vancouver Festival
One of the biggest food events in the country, Dine Out Vancouver is a 17 day culinary extravaganza that sees 277 of Vancouver’s very best restaurants providing diners with delectable prix fixe menus. First held in 2002, the January event has grown to attract thousands of foodies (both local and visiting) and features over 30 one-time events available only during the course of the festival. Check out next year’s event (January 15-31, 2016) for unforgettable meals paired with local wines, brews and cocktails, and a host of events including tastings, film feasts, food tours and food-photography seminars (we all do it).