Manitoba is often overlooked as a tourist destination, although no one can quite say why, and frankly it shouldn’t be. This province is absolutely loaded with awesome things to see and do, including one of the top places to view the incredible Northern Lights. Along with outdoor adventures such as polar bear viewing and hiking through national parks, Manitoba offers its fair share of festivals, museums, markets and more. Discover the best 7 things to see and do in this highly underrated province.
7. Play at Whiteshell Provincial Park
Just an hour or so away from Winnipeg is the Whiteshell Provincial Park, loaded with hills, lakes, valleys, forests, and rivers. Inhabitants of the park include deer, moose and black bears with much of the wilderness here being undisturbed. In the summertime go swimming at one the beaches, scuba dive in the clear waters, or hike along one of the scenic trails, ranging from 3km-60km.
Wintertime brings ice-fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing. There are 200 lakes here, a range of accommodations, a golf course, museums and even a goose sanctuary. Soak up the scenery here, doing whatever activity you desire, just make sure to take plenty of pictures.
6. Attend the Icelandic Festival
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is also known as Islendingadagurinn and takes place in the small town of Gimli. It is the largest Icelandic gathering outside of Iceland itself and the second oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America. The province itself has strong historical connections to Iceland and spends a weekend each summer celebrating the culture.
Over the weekend numerous events take place such as beach volleyball, pancake breakfast, music and poetry, midways rides and games and more. Daily demonstrations of Viking age warfare, tactics, skills, entertainment, and fashion take place, sure to enthrall people of all ages. Eat Icelandic food, join in on traditions, introduce the kids to culture and spend the weekend in one surreal Canadian landscape.
5. Visit the Forks
The Forks is Winnipeg’s meeting place, nestled in the heart of downtown and is one of the most beloved places in the city. For over 6,000 years The Forks has been a meeting place, from the time when Aboriginal peoples traded here to buffalo hunters to tens of thousands of immigrants. Today it is home to more than 4 million visitors annually, who come to discover the wide range of shopping, dining, entertainment, and attractions.
Many visitors flock to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights which is an awesome addition to the city of Winnipeg. The Forks is also home to the Manitoba’s Children Museum, Arctic Glacier Winter Park which features skating trails and toboggan runs, and the Boardwalk Promenade. Don’t miss out on The Forks Market with its impressive six storey tower with a viewing platform.
4. See the Polar Bears
Churchill is one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild and if you have ever dreamed of seeing these magnificent creatures in their homes, Manitoba is the perfect province to do so. October and November are the prime viewing times when the bears begin their move from their summer habitat on the tundra back to the ice that forms every winter over Hudson Bay. There are a few different ways to view the bears, and it is highly recommended joining a reputable tour guide, as they adhere to strict guidelines in order to protect the bears.
Tundra vehicles can take visitors over the snow and ice and protect visitors from curious bears or guided walks are available to areas where bears frequently stop by. Staying at a wilderness lodge along the bear’s migration route provides an exciting experience for visitors to watch for bears right from the lodge. The spectacular animals can reach up to 1,320lbs and have no natural enemies, making them both fearless and impressive.
3. Visit Riding Mountain National Park
This scenic park can be visited all year round and proves to be the perfect combination of recreation area, and nature reserve. The landscape is a combination of forest, prairie and super clear lakes and rivers. The park is home to a number of species of wildlife including moose, elk, wolves, bison and hundreds of bird species. Hikers will delight in the 400km of hiking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy patrol roads to grassy trails to steep cliffs.
The cold deep lakes here provide excellent fishing lakes and among the most popular are Clear Lake, Deep Lake, and Katherine Lake. Other activities include canoeing, camping, boating, swimming, scuba diving and snowshoeing, snowmobiling and skiing in the wintertime. The park is most easily accessed by Highway 10 which passes through the park and the south entrance is at the townsite of Wasagaming.
2. Explore the Mennonite Heritage Village
The Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach recreates Mennonite life from the 16th century to present day and features more than 20 furnished buildings spread over 40 acres. Wander through the street village, dine at the Livery Barn Restaurant where the traditional Mennonite fare is served, explore a classic Mennonite housebarn and visit the fully operational Dutch windmill during the summer season.
The galleries house historic and heirloom treasures from Poland to Russia to Canada and visitors can find souvenirs at the Visitors Centre which is open all year round. The site is full of volunteers who are descendants of early blacksmiths, millers, and shopkeepers, who love to chat with visitors and answer any questions about the site.
1. See the Northern Lights
To travel to Manitoba and not catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring, ever-changing phenomenon of the Northern Lights would be a travesty. This province is home to some of the world’s most luminous locales for gazing at the shimmering curtains of multi-colored lights that dance across the night sky. The best viewing times are from January to March and Churchill is one of the top three spots on the planet to witness them.
One of the best ways to see them is to book an overnight adventure that offers sky-gazing access from the deck of a heated tundra vehicle. Or head further south and stay in a lakeside lodge in Flin Fon where it is said they can be seen all year round. Grab your camera and ready for yourself for an absolutely mind-blowing visual experience.
Canada is known for some of its incredible National Parks but often what gets overlooked in this great nation are the incredible urban parks that have popped up from coast to coast. What makes one urban park better than another? Great access to activities, varied landscapes, incredible scenery and plenty of things to see and do, are what sets these eight urban parks above the rest. From the famous Stanley Park in Vancouver to the largest urban park in Canada to lesser known parks in the east coast; here are the best urban parks in Canada.
8. Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg
This park is considered to be one of Winnipeg’s crown jewels and offers over 113 hectares of woodland and plains along the River’s south side. Attractions here include the park zoo whose star attraction is the Polar Bears and the comprehensive exhibit that they are housed in. Known to be one of the most comprehensive zoological exhibits of its kind in the world, visitors have the chance to watch the playful bears in a stimulating environments inspired by their natural habitat. The park boasts more than just the zoo though, including gardens, playgrounds, restaurants, nature trails, a steam train and more. The park conservatory boasts over 8,000 flowers, trees and plants while the Gallery Museum features local artists and a permanent Winnie the Pooh artifact collection.
7. Beacon Hill Park, Victoria
Located on Victoria’s southern shores, Beacon Hill Park is an oasis of both landscaped and natural beauty, offering spectacular views during every season. The outer rim of the park is where nature lovers flock to, to Oceanside bluffs where paragliders and kite enthusiasts often can be seen. The inner park is where visitors will find most of the activities though. Wander through the manicured gardens and over bridged streams while music drifts out of the Cameron Bandshell. Or take the kids the the miniature golfing or petting zoo. Wildlife is abundant throughout the park with over a hundred species of birds, river otters, painted turtles and more. This park also happens to have the important status of being the western terminus, the Mile “0” of the 8,000km Trans-Canada highway and so happens to be a very popular tourist photo opp.
6. Pippy Park, St. John’s Newfoundland
At the northern boundary of St. John’s lays one of Canada’s greatest urban parks, Pippy Park, abundant in scenery and breathtaking views. The 27-hole golf course features some of the spectacular views of both the oldest city in North America and miles of rugged coastline, chances are you might even see an iceberg or whale while walking this course. If visitors want to spend more than just a day exploring this awesome park, the campground offers 216 sites on private treed lots that are steps away from playgrounds and the Botanical Gardens. There is a plethora of scenic trails that allow visitors to explore a variety of landscapes including wetlands, rivers, parklands and more. The rare Leopard march orchid can also be spotted here in the Botanical Gardens and offers visitors a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it up close and in person.
5. Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary
It is the largest urban park in all of Canada, and just so happens to be one of the best, located in the southern part of Calgary and over three times the size of Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park. Fish Creek flows the entire length of the park and joins the Bow River at the east side, offering visitors a plethora of wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors here will be privy to 200 bird species, deer, owls, beavers and coyotes which all call this park home. One of the most popular features of the park is Sikome Lake, a man-made lake where thousands of people flock to each summer to swim. A variety of unpaved walking, hiking and bicycle trails are also prevalent throughout Fish Creek Park. Two restaurants are located here, one which offers fine-dining and the other a bakery and café and an Artisan Garden is located in the east end. There are a ton of things to see and do here and if you happen to be a resident of Calgary, consider yourself lucky that you get to enjoy this park anytime at your leisure.
4. Rockwood Park, St. John New Brunswick
This park offers an abundance of activities to enjoy in an unspoiled setting where unusual topography and geography are prevalent. The billion years of history here can be seen in unique rock formations, caves and waterfalls and this park often refers to itself as an all-season natural amusement park. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity for hiking, fishing. Boating, climbing, camping, golfing and mountain biking while those looking for something a little more low key can visit the Cherry Brook Zoo, located in the north section of the park. Other awesome amenities include beaches, gardens, stables, campgrounds and picnic sites, along with 890 hectares of forest and the beautiful Lily Lake.
3. High Park, Toronto
It is Toronto’s largest public park and in recent years the city has invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it one of the greatest urban parks in Canada. High Park is home to a greenhouse, zoo, restaurants, off-leash dog park and more. The signature Sakura cheery blossom trees in Hillside Gardens are the star attraction during April and May when they are in full bloom. Grenadier Pond is the place to head for fishing off the south rim while visitors who want to swim or skate can head to the designated pool and rink. From wandering through the nature trails to playing on one of many playgrounds to taking in a sport at one of the great facilities, there is certainly no shortage of things to do here.
2. Mt. Royal Park, Montreal
It is the best urban park in all of Montreal and so happens to be one of the best in all of Canada, laying in the midst of Montreal island and including 200 hectares and the highest spot in the city. The park is home to over 180 species of birds and 20 mammals and enough hiking and biking paths to keep any active visitor busy. In the winter time enjoy the 20km of cross country trails, horse drawn carriage rides and an awesome tubing and tobogganing run. Other features of this impressive park include Beaver Lake, a sculpture garden, Smith House – an interpretative center, and two belvederes. Designed by famous architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City’s Central Park, visitors can assure that there is no shortage of spectacular views of the city below and varied landscapes to explore.
1. Stanley Park, Vancouver
It is known for being one the best parks around the world, and recently held the title of “best park in the world” by Trip Advisor, therefore no trip to Vancouver should be complete without visiting Stanley Park. This lush green space covers over 400 hectares of parkland and west coast rainforest. Things to do at this park include visiting the indoor/outdoor aquarium, walking the 8.8km stretch of seawall and discovering the Brockton Point’s First Nations totem poles. The park is also absolutely loaded with gardens, beaches, landmarks, sculptures and lookout points, along with a golf course and a Lost Lagoon. Whether you spend an hour, a day or three days exploring this park, one thing is for sure – it is easy to understand why this is truly the best urban park in Canada.
Canada is fortunate enough to be loaded with awesome museums, whether you are interested in learning about the dinosaurs that once ruled the badlands of Alberta or the first people that set foot in British Columbia. Perhaps you are interested in weapons and counterfeit money, or what happened during the Holocaust-don’t fear, Canada has you covered. From coast to coast impressive museums continue to amaze visitors and while some may be suited for adults, there is plenty of fun for the kids too! Check out the 8 coolest museums in Canada, and why you should drop everything and visit them today.
8. Canadian Museum of History – Gatineau, Quebec
It is Canada’s national museum of human history, and its purpose includes collecting, studying, preserving and presenting material objects that illuminate the human history of Canada. One of the most impressive parts of the museum is the Grand Hall where a beautiful wall of windows gives way to a picturesque view of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. The museum attracts over a million visitors a year to gaze at the collection of huge totem poles, First Nation artifacts, streetscape galleries and life-size replicas recreations such as an airport lounge circa 1970. In addition, this awesome museum to home to the Canadian Children’s and Postal Museum, along with an IMAX theatre making this attraction super family friendly.
7. Canada Science and Technology Museum – Ottawa, Ontario
It is the largest of its kind and located in the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. This museum displays all sorts of cool exhibits, focusing on the past, present and future of science and technological developments in Canada. What makes this museum so cool is the fact that much of it is hands-on, climb-on and walk through exhibits. Currently the museum is closed and undergoing a major renovation, expected to open in 2017 and is thought to be bigger and better than ever. Visitors should expect five main galleries including a Children’s Gallery, Artifact Alley and Crazy Kitchen. From trains, planes, automobiles, rockets and space travel simulation; this museum will offer a plethora of excitement.
6. Royal Tyrell Museum – Drumheller, Alberta
This popular Canadian tourist attraction is both a museum and a centre of paleontological research. Hosting more than 130,000 fossils, this museum is located in the middle of the Late Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Visitors will love wandering through the ten signature galleries devoted to paleontology that include 40 dinosaur skeletons, including one huge T. Rex. There are plenty of hands on experiences to be had here including strength tests where you will discover how strong these fascinating creatures really were. Visitors can also watch actual technicians prepare fossils for research and display, fossils that happened to be found right in Alberta. As well, visitors can join the Dinosite program which allows you to search for real fossils, see real dinosaur remains still in the ground and learn about ancient Alberta during the 90-minute hike through the badlands.
5. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) – Toronto, Ontario
It is considered by many to be one of the best museums in Canada and also happens to be one of the coolest. Located in Toronto, this museum is dedicated to art, world culture and natural history and attracts over a million visitors a year. Visitors will want to spend an entire day discovering the 40 some odd galleries that feature over 6 million items including a notable collection of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites. The CIBC Discovery Gallery is where you can get “hands-on” at the ROM and although geared towards children, adults will also enjoy the interactive activities including digging for dinosaur bones and touching different specimens and artifacts. Expect awesome interesting exhibits that are constantly changing, slumber parties for adults and plenty of tours and workshops to keep everyone interested.
4. Human Rights Museum – Winnipeg, Manitoba
This impressive museum is the newest on this list, opening in September of 2014, dedicated to exploring the subject of human rights with a special emphasis on Canada. Offering a journey from darkness to light, visitors start off on the ground level and gradually make their way up seven floors that reveal more and more daylight. With a total of six levels of exhibits and 11 galleries and one Tower of Hope that offers panoramic views of Winnipeg, expect to spend at least a day here. Galleries include “Examining the Holocaust”, “Rights Today” and “Canadian Journeys”, just to name a few. Interactive presentations, multimedia technology and world-class design make this an amazing encounter with human rights.
3. Royal British Columbia Museum – Victoria, British Columbia
It is known as one of the world’s top regional museums, one of Canada’s most visited and located on the picturesque Inner Harbor in Victoria. Three permanent galleries trace the natural and human history of British Columbia and include life-sized mammoths, live tidal pools and replica streets and shops. The First Peoples Gallery is especially impressive with its ceremonial masks, totem poles and full-sized log house recreation. Visitors here can even watch as native carvers work on new totem poles in a long house located just behind the museum. Featuring the largest IMAX in BC, numerous family events throughout the year, interactive exhibits and more; it’s an easy choice calling this one of the coolest museums in Canada.
2. Vancouver Police Museum, Vancouver, British Columbia
It is North America’s oldest police museum and houses over 20,00 artifacts, photos and documents. Located in a heritage building that was once the Coroner’s Court, the morgue, autopsy facility and crime laboratory; this museum brings in visitors of all ages. A self-guided tour will take visitors through the history or crime and law enforcement in Vancouver. Exhibits include an extensive gallery of confiscated weapons, gambling devices, prohibited drugs and counterfeit money, a true crime gallery with real evidence and photos, and an intact and authentic autopsy suite. Kids will love playing dress up with the real police uniforms where as adults can take in one of the “movies in the morgue” features.
1. Biosphere Environment Museum – Montreal, Quebec
It is the only environment museum in North America and both kids and adults go crazy for this unique attraction that is both indoors and out. This architectural masterpieces and symbol of Expo 67 invites visitors to learn more about meteorology, climate, water and air quality and other environmental issues in a fun way. An outdoor Artic photo exhibit celebrates the regions biodiversity and beauty while educating visitors on the environmental changes that are happening there. The immersive show “Design the Future” on the other hand invites visitors to reconnect with the natural environment around us to grasp the importance of climate change and how we will adapt to that. An abundance of games, hands-on activities and galleries await visitors to this unique museum in Montreal.
Canada is a relatively new country in the grand scheme of things and isn’t usually considered as a historical tourist destination. Most people who visit Canada come for the expansive, diverse and stunning landscape, and for good reason; Canada has some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. But Canada does have an important and rich history, and you would be remiss to explore Canada without a visit to one of the nearly 1000 national historic sites and landmarks found across the country.
10. L.M. Montgomery’s Home -Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Readers of the Anne of Green Gables series, one of Canada’s most well-known literary works, will be familiar with the National Historic Site. Located in rural Prince Edward Island, near Cavendish, is this quaint landmark; included in the historic site are the Green Gables house, the Cavendish home and the surrounding landscapes, including several lovely hiking trails ideal for a relaxing stroll. Even those who are not familiar with the books or the author will appreciate this beautiful home and the scenery typical of Prince Edward Island; plan for the day and bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds!
9. Rideau Canal -Ottawa, Ontario
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is an impressive feat of engineering and architecture, and is a favorite destination among both tourists and locals. Officially connecting Kingston to Ottawa, this 202 kilometers of canals is a beautiful chain of lakes, rivers and canals perfect for a day out canoeing or sight-seeing. The exact location of the UNESCO site is in Ottawa; originally built for military purposes in the 1800’s, the series of lock stations and fortifications are architecturally impressive and still completely operational- many still hand crank operated! It is a favorite for locals too; during the winter months you can strap on some skates and travel nearly the entire canal- make sure you grab a beaver tail and some hot chocolate at one of the many kiosks set up along the way!
8. Batoche, Saskatchewan
Established in 1872, this Métis settlement was the site of the historical Battle of Batoche during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and is now a National Historic Site in Canada. Situated in the heart of the prairies on the South Saskatchewan River, it is here that Louis Riel was infamously defeated and a new country was formed. Walking through this historical landmark, you realize what an important moment this was for Canadian history; in fact, you can still see some of the bullet holes from the final battle. Not just for history buffs, take the family and spend the day walking in the shoes of Métis settlers on the shores of the river and learn how the old way of life disappeared and a new one began.
7. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador
Visit the L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site on the tip of the island of Newfoundland and you can see evidence of the very first European settlers to set foot on North American soil. Scattered amongst this striking landscape is evidence of an 11th century Viking settlement; the only known location of a Viking settlement in North America, this site holds a tremendous amount of historical importance in terms of migration and discovery. Spend some time looking for the excavated remains of the wood-framed turf buildings (like the ones found in Iceland and Norse Greenland), and wandering around the site. The scenic, yet unrelentingly harsh landscape makes it all the more impressive that an entire culture managed to settle and live here hundreds of years ago.
6. Fortifications of Québec -Québec City, Québec
As the only fortified city north of Mexico, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich in history and architectural beauty, akin to historical cities scattered all over Europe. Walk the walls around Old Québec, nearly 4.6 kilometers in length to marvel at the views of the city and beyond, and to marvel at the military engineering of the fortifications developed in the early 1600’s. Old Québec is a beautiful city to explore by foot; many pedestrian only streets make it easy to get around, and the slower pace makes it easier to take all your pictures! There are also plenty of delicious cafés and quaint shops (although venture off the main streets for a less touristy experience), and plenty of maple syrup inspired treats to keep you going during the day!
5. Dawson, Yukon Territory
Way up north, in the harsh, unforgiving, stunningly beautiful landscape of Canada, you will find Dawson, Yukon, the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush and a charming town, well preserved and rich in history. Although small, there is plenty to do here; adventure enthusiasts will enjoy the outdoor landscape made for hiking and rafting, yet those searching for a more relaxing visit will enjoy the traditional pubs and boardwalks through town. Those feeling lucky can try their hand panning for gold in the Klondike Gold Fields and enjoy a tour through some of the still operational gold mines. Dawson is worth the trek up north, but given its remote location, be sure to stay awhile and enjoy the surrounding areas to make the most of your trip!
4. Fort Garry Hotel -Winnipeg, Manitoba
Those afraid of ghosts may want to skip the Fort Garry Hotel- the infamous Room 202 is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman, but those brave enough won’t want to skip a visit to this landmark. A National Historic Site located in downtown Winnipeg, this famous hotel is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels, and built in 1913, it was the tallest structure in town upon completion. The architecture is reminiscent to other chateau style hotels in Canada, like the Fairmont Chateau next on the list, and is a unique and beautiful addition to the industrial core of Winnipeg.
3. Fairmont Chateau Frontenac -Québec City, Québec
One of the most beautiful and grand buildings in all of Canada, the Fairmont Château Frontenac in Québec is considered as one of the most photographed hotels in the world, in part because of its sheer size and grandiose nature on the Québec skyline. Designated as a National Historic Site in 1980, this hotel was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 1800’s to promote luxury travel and tourism; it was a hotspot for wealthy travelers and those searching for a glamorous experience. This is the most prominent building in Québec and surely can’t be missed when exploring the area; spend some time exploring the glitzy, over the top décor inside and the intricate architecture on the outside- bring an extra memory card for your camera when visiting this landmark!
2. Terry Fox Memorial -Thunder Bay, Ontario
All Canadians are familiar with Terry Fox; in fact, he is probably one of the most well-known Canadian icons, recognized nationally and around the world. Visiting the Terry Fox Memorial, overlooking Lake Superior, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by this man’s courageous and inspirational quest to make the world a better place. Terry Fox was a humble young man who has inspired generations of Canadian’s to raise money and improve the lives of cancer patients worldwide; because of him, hundreds of millions of dollars has been raised for cancer research. All Canadian’s can find something to relate to in Terry Fox and the life he led; because of this and his relatability, this Terry Fox memorial is possibly one of the most emotional and inspirational in all of Canada.
1. Fortress of Louisbourg -Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Located on the Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this National Historic Site is one of the most important sites in defining Canada as it is today. The Fortress of Louisbourg was settled in 1713 and fortified later in the mid-18th century, and was the site of historic Anglo-French battles crucial to our history. Enter the fortified city and feel what it was like living in a fishing, port city during the 1700’s. Take one of the many walking and guided tours available, or spend some time exploring on your own; whatever you choose you will be sure to leave with a better understanding of how the original settlers of Canada lived hundreds of years ago.
Summer is officially here and now is the time to take advantage of the wonderful bounty our farmers grow, from coast to coast. Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh seasonal produce, award-winning local wine and locally raised meats; all available at one of the many farmers markets. From the largest year-round market to the historic market of Halifax, to the market that specializes in potatoes; we have rounded up the 10 freshest farmers markets in Canada. From coast to coast, there is great food to be found at all of these awesome markets.
10. St. Lawrence Market -Toronto, Ontario
Although this market is open almost every day of the week, we highly suggest visiting on a Saturday. Saturdays are when both the North and South Market open to the public, as opposed to every other day when just the South Market is open. The North Market stands in a space that has been used as a marketplace since 1803, making this the second most historic market on the list. Ontario produce, eggs, poultry, honey, olives and fresh baked bread are amongst the favorites here. The market starts early; 5 am on Saturdays and by 9 am is packed full so make sure you come early if you want to avoid the crowds. Expect to find exotic cultural food, peameal bacon sandwiches, homemade pasta noodles, camel meat and everything else in between. Make sure to carve out a few hours to walk around this gigantic market and you will soon understand why it’s hailed as being one of the best in the world.
It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that potatoes are the main star of this market, but that’s not all you will find here at this overly friendly farmers market. Fresh produce, organic cheeses, handmade chocolates, fresh coffee and baked goods are just a slice of what you will find here. Besides all these amazing products, what really make this market so special are the people you will meet here. From vendors who give you the perfect advice on how to boil the perfect potato to meeting entire families who take part in the growing and harvesting; it is truly the people who make a difference here. Come hungry to this market as there is no shortage of hot and cold food to buy and enjoy in the seated dining area, where you will enjoy Celtic music and a sense of community that you can only find on the island.
8. Jean-Talon -Montreal, Quebec
The flavors and sites here have been attracting visitors since 1933 and Jean-Talon Market remains one of the favorites across the country. Open all year round, Saturdays are the liveliest and perhaps the best time to visit as this day houses the most vendors. This is also the day where you will find the most fresh, seasonal produce in the province. Summer is the favorite time to visit, with brightly colored produce and terrific wine. Visitors will find gourmet meats, cheese, the famous maple syrup, pastries, spices and so much more. Eating your way through this market is highly recommended, from maple glazed salmon bites to slow braised meat tacos to artisanal ice-cream. Hailed as the largest open air market in North America, don’t be surprised to find yourself standing beside famous Montreal chefs, food bloggers and amateur foodies.
7. St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market -Waterloo, Ontario
Located just an hour outside of Toronto, visitors here will feel as though they have stepped back in time. The nearby countryside is home to an abundance of Mennonite farmers, many of whom can be seen traveling in their horse and buggy. These farmers are who you will find selling products at Canada’s largest year-round market. A fire nearly destroyed this wonderful market a few years back but the market is back up and running in full swing. Expect to shop both indoors and out when you visit in the warmer months, as over 300 vendors congregate here. Many shoppers come here specifically for the fresh produce and hormone-free meats, although you can find just about anything you have ever wanted. Expect entertainment, music, buskers and more when you take a visit to the St. Jacobs Market in Waterloo.
6. Crossroads Market -Calgary, Alberta
It is Calgary’s largest year-round market and provides a bustling atmosphere with an abundance of vendors and products. It also happens to be just five minutes from downtown with plenty of ample parking. The marker is only open on the weekends so make sure you plan around visiting then. With over 150 vendors here, it is considered part flea market and part food market. The abundance of fresh local products is what really makes this market a winner. Visit in the summer and fall to experience Alberta’s local produce or head over to the cheese shop where over 300 varieties of cheese are sold. The market is a great place to grab some local meat, fresh squeezed juice and a loaf of freshly baked bread.
5. Marche du Vieux-Port -Quebec City, Quebec
This year round market entices visitors with its fresh products, locally sourced items and friendly atmosphere. Arguably the best time to visit here is in the summer when the strawberries are at their finest. Locals and visitors also love this market for the specialties you can’t get anywhere else; such as the ciders, maple syrup, pates and preserves. The cranberry wine also happens to be a huge hit with visitors. The market is located on the waterfront and during the summer there is often live music or other entertainment located just outside the building. Even if you just come for the experience, we promise you won’t be leaving this market empty handed. Insider’s tip: head to the spice store at the very end of the building and get lost for hours discovering the worldly spices that you have never even seen before.
In one of the most picturesque settings in Toronto also lies one of the best farmers markets in the country. What was once a former quarry has been transformed into a park and every Saturday morning from May until November between 65 and 85 vendors show up to sell their products. Expect to see fresh produce, organic baked goods, free-range meats, teas, leather products and everything else in between. Some favorites include fresh-made meals from Canadian chef Doug McNish and the abundance of organic options. We recommend you come hungry to this market as the plethora of breakfast and lunch options is unbelievable. From handmade Belgian waffles to organic French fries, we promise you won’t leave here feeling hungry. Take a stroll through the magnificent park afterwards to work off those waffles.
3. Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market -Winnipeg, Manitoba
From May until November, rain or shine you can find Manitoba’s farmers selling the bounty of their fields to visitors at Manitoba’s largest and best-known market. This market originally started back in 1988 with just eight vendors that gathered on the grass to sell their products and support other local producers. The market has grown enormously since then and features about 150 vendors, intent on keeping its local roots. Visitors here can expect to find an abundance of fresh local produce, freshly baked breads, home-style jams and preserves, freshly cut flowers and more. One of the more interesting things to note about this market is their online presence, which was created to help farmers sell their products over the winter. Customers can go online and order their products directly from the producers, who then prepare the order and meet in a designated spot for delivery. This market is big on sticking with their local roots and this is just one awesome way of keeping everyone connected.
2. Halifax Farmers’ Market -Halifax, Nova Scotia
This market has a long history, dating back to 1750 and in 2010 finally relocated to its current location on the south end of the Halifax Waterfront. The new space provides plenty of room for people and the natural light makes this a gorgeous spot to spend the morning. Unbeatable ocean views coupled with a hip vibrant atmosphere are just the beginning of what makes this market so spectacular. You can make your way here year-round and although the market is now open seven days a week, we highly suggest visiting on a Saturday when all of the vendors are present. Some of the favorites at this market are the artisanal crafts, seasonal produce, local wine and of course the freshest seafood found anywhere in the province. This market also runs a really neat program called Lunch and Learn, which features presentations on sustainability, wellness, food demonstrations and workshops.
1. Trout Lake Farmers’ Market -Vancouver, British Columbia
This market is loved by many and has quite the history to go along with it. The market actually started with 14 farmers who squatted at the Croatian Cultural Centre back in 1995. Today the market has moved to John Hendry Park and is one of the most beloved markets in all of the country. Visitors come from all over the world to pick up the freshest cherries and blueberries, stock up on free-range eggs and organic meats and get the freshest vegetables found anywhere in the city. The market is open on Saturdays from May to October and people are encouraged to use public transit, walk or bike here. Think fresh baked bread, artisan crafts, fresh cut flowers and a community like atmosphere. Make sure you come to this market hungry and grab some lunch from one of the terrific food trucks, the favorite being the crepe stall.
From ancient outdoor feasts to modern backyard family barbeques, outdoor eating has long been the favoured dining experience of many people. In fact, in warm climates and during summer months, restaurant and bar patios are cluttered with guests looking to escape the indoors and enjoy their meals in the open air. While the popularity of outdoor dining has sparked a number of world-acclaimed al fresco restaurants, it has also sparked unique dining events that offer experiences unlike anything seen in even the most highly-ranked dining establishments. From pop-up events shrouded in secrecy to extensively planned giant outdoor dinner parties, here are 5 of the world’s most amazing outdoor dining experiences.
5. Outstanding in the Field
A tribute to farmers and the gifts of the land, Outstanding in the Field is a mobile feast that travels coast to coast in North America (and has now been abroad also) and sets up long outdoor dinner tables in the fields of participating farms and vineyards. This enormous culinary banquet was established in 1999, and for 16 years has invited locals to taste and celebrate the food yielded by each particular place, with the menu and décor inspired by the surroundings. The sparkling conversation and unique atmosphere of the event has made it a world-wide sensation, which to date, has set over 600 tables set in 9 countries for over 60,000 guests.
4. Savor the Summit
Park City, Utah sure knows how to hold a successful dinner party, with this annual “Grand Table” event including the participation of over 20 local restaurants and featuring a massive dinner table set up in the middle of a major roadway. The event is the city’s social highlight, with a continuous long table accommodating seating for up to 1500 guests set down the length of the city’s Main Street, all for the mass enjoyment of remarkable food, live music and unparalleled atmosphere.
3. Table for 1201
Created to spark conversation and raise awareness about the value of architecture, design and urbanism in the world community, Winnipeg’s Table for 1201 is a giant outdoor picnic at one extremely long table that requires guests to bring their own chairs and dress in white. Representatives from government, various institutions and arts organizations, as well as members of the general public are invited to join the conversation while dining on meals created by local chefs, at unique outdoor locations that are generally kept secret until the last possible moment. Since its inception the event has garnered wide public acclaim and extensive media coverage making it one of Winnipeg’s most notable summer events.
2. Flames of the Forest
The only technical restaurant on this list, Australia’s Flames of the Forest is a dining experience so unique, everyone needs to know about it. In truly luxurious fashion, the restaurant’s 2 dining packages, The Aboriginal Dining Experience and the Rainforest Dining Experience, take place at two undisclosed rural locations, with guests transported between hotels and sites by staff. Both packages feature gourmet meals complimented by Australian wines and supported by a variety of live entertainment. The dream-like rainforest locations set with an abundance of fire, torches and candles contribute to what many have described as a truly one of a kind “experience of the senses.”
1. Diner en Blanc
Founded 25 years ago in Paris, the Diner en Blanc has become a widely sought-after worldwide phenomenon, with over 15,000 members in 17 participating cities (with a variety of spin-off events around the globe). Guests from all over attend an organized-pop up “chic picnic”, where they must dress in white from head to toe and bring along their own tables, chairs, utensils and food and drinks. The kicker of the event is that guests have no idea where it will be taking place until minutes before it starts, with the location communicated by host via social media. Wondering why people spend money to essentially have a fancy picnic with their friends and a gazillion other strangers? Organizers attribute the event’s success to the unique atmosphere and adventurous vibe that surrounds the event, along with the amazing sensation of participating in such an elaborate spectacle of good eats, sparkling conversation and general mass elegance.
A recent study by the popular hotel booking site Trivago, released the top 15 best value cities in all of Canada to visit in 2015. The study took the average price of a hotel room, combined it with the satisfaction of hotel guests and looked at everything there was to do in that city. What they found was 15 cities that boasted incredible value, amazing hotels and plenty of things to do whether you are looking for romance, family vacation or just an escape to a new city.
15. Toronto, ON
With the Pam Am games making its way to Toronto this summer, we were actually surprised to see this city still end up on the list as hotel prices in the city jumped. Luckily it seems that Toronto is home to enough hotels, rentals and other accommodations that the prices don’t seem as astronomical as one might think. With access to professional sports fields, the CN Tower, the new Ripley’s Aquarium, the five-star restaurants and festivals throughout the city; there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Public transportation got a facelift for the Pan Am games and getting around the city is cheap and easy. The average accommodation price per night in the city is $179 with lots of deals to be found online, making Toronto a perfect place to visit this year.
14. Vancouver, BC
Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, but quite affordable if you just want to visit for a few days. With an average hotel price of $179, this city is a prime spot for tourists from all over the world. Summertime brings visitors who walk along the seawall, dine on delicious seafood and explore the nearby towns. One of the best times to head here is in the fall, when the hotel prices drop significantly, the leaves start changing color and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Vancouver transit makes it easy to get around the city at a reasonable price and there are plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy, including Stanley Park, walking the beaches, visiting the many art galleries and visiting Granville Island.
13. Ottawa, ON
The capital of Canada makes this list with an average price of accommodation being just $155 a night, a bargain considering more than 80% of travelers are happy with their hotel stays. Visiting Canada’s capital is something everyone should do as the city of Ottawa is full of history, excitement and spectacular architecture. The summer is the absolute best time to head here as the warm weather and festivities make the city feel alive and buzzing with excitement. It also happens to be when hotel prices are at its highest though. It is a good thing then that the city offers incredible value. Tour the parliament buildings for free, head over to the RCMP stables for a chance to look around and perhaps a musical performance if you are lucky or spend an afternoon at one of the city’s beaches. Ottawa is teeming with markets, bike paths, picturesque picnic areas and outdoor art throughout the city for you to enjoy.
12. Calgary, AB
It is one of the most expensive places to live on this list but visiting here gets you good bang for your buck and promises an unforgettable vacation, minutes from the beautiful mountains. A hotel room in this city goes for an average of $172 a night and many travelers choose to make Calgary their home base while they explore the city and the surrounding mountains. Plan your vacation around one of the many free summer festivals and you won’t have to reach deep into your pockets to explore all this city has to offer. Besides festivals, visiting the numerous attractions here cost little to nothing, including one of the world’s largest indoor botanical gardens, the plethora of art galleries, shops and the free entertainment during the stampede. Ride a portion of the CTrain for free, grab an inflatable tube and float down the Bow River or simply explore the downtown area and all its charm.
11. Niagara Falls, ON
Niagara Falls is home to the most inexpensive average hotel room on this list, coming in at $112 a night. If you have never been to the Canadian side of the falls, there is no better time to visit than 2015. Besides getting an incredible deal on hotels, Niagara Falls is packed full of activities, many of which can be done at little cost. Cruise the streets down by the falls which are packed with wacky fun houses, arcades and rides that are lit up with flashing lights and sounds. Visit one of the casinos and try your luck at one of the many games or slots. Walking along the falls and watching the spectacular firework show that happens in the summer won’t cost you anything either. Surrounding this area also happens to be a large number of wineries that you can tour for free, with tastings only costing a few dollars.
10. Montréal, QC
The city of Montreal is a perfect getaway, whether you are looking for a romantic escape or heading there for the slew of incredible music festivals and culture. With an average nightly price for accommodation being $172, one can enjoy this city while not breaking the bank. Exploring the city is best done on foot, whether you are traversing the streets of Old Montreal, taking the Golden Square Mile tour or curbing your hunger in many of the city’s most appetizing attractions. Montreal is also loaded with opportunities to try something new for free, including outdoor yoga classes and ballroom dancing. The city teems with rooftop patios and sidewalk cafes; perfect for people watching and relaxing. Take in one of the many free concerts and performances that happen throughout the city year round and enjoy one of the finest cities in all of Canada.
9. Edmonton, AB
It may not be the first place you think of when you think vacation in Canada, but Edmonton has a lot to offer and at the average price of just $151 a night, you can’t go wrong heading to this city. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, Edmonton might be just right for you. The city is famous for its North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, city views and Canada’s largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. One thing to splurge on when visiting here is the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America complete with amusement park, artificial beach, indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres and an indoor lake. If you happen to visit here in the winter, head outside the city away from the lights and look for the Northern Lights. They are often visible from December to March.
8. Québec-City, QC
It is one of the most romantic cities to visit in all of Canada and with an average room price of $161 a night; many couples choose to visit Quebec City anytime of the year. In the winter the city comes alive with Christmas lights, turning the historic part of the city into a true winter wonderland. In the summer, the cobblestone streets are full of tourists, outdoor cafes and festivals. There are many historic churches that boast incredible architecture, an impressive number of parks and green space and a plethora of boutiques and shops to discover. The cuisine in the city is incredible, the people are friendly and strolling through the walled city of Old Quebec anytime of the year promises to be absolutely charming. For free entertainment, one should head down to the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence that is always full of buskers and entertainers during the summers.
7. Victoria, BC
It is one of the most beautiful cities on this list if you are into stunning mountain views, ocean harbors, colorful houses and natural beauty. It also happens to be a bargain when you look at the average nightly price of accommodations only being $143. The city is full of things to do and see, whether you want to splurge and visit the famous Butchart Garden or the Royal BC Museum, or whether you are looking to stick within a budget. Strolling the causeway, home to breathtaking views of the water, parliament and skyline is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. It is here when you can snag a seat on the Harbour Ferry and discover floating restaurants, historic homes, classic yachts and shipyards during the 45-minute narrated tour. Between the parks, mountains, beaches and art; there is no shortage of things to discover in this city.
6. Mississauga, ON
If you want to be close to the city of Toronto but don’t want to shell out the money, Mississauga is the absolute perfect place to stay. With an average room price of just $123 a night, spending less on a hotel means more spending money in your pockets. Many vacationers choose to make Mississauga their home base and travel into the city to explore the many activities and sights that Toronto offers. If you are looking for things to do in Mississauga though; why not head to the parks in Port Credit or feel like a kid again at Playdium Arcade. Mississauga is also home to a wealth of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world and it pays to check them out heading into Toronto for a great meal. Whether you are staying here for the city itself or looking to spread your budget by staying outside of Toronto, Mississauga is a great value city.
5. Kelowna, BC
Kelowna’s location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake creates a diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives and people from all over the world flock to this incredibly beautiful city. The lake itself draws many tourists interested in boating, kayaking and swimming while the rolling terrain is great for hikers, golfers and bikers. In the wintertime skiers and snowboarders head to Big White Mountain. The plethora of outdoor sports is what makes this city so affordable to visit. Pack a picnic, grab your kayak rental and head out for the day. Perhaps strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the region. Head out and visit the wineries where they offer free tours and cheap tastings. With an average nightly room price of just $140, Kelowna is the perfect natural outdoor getaway.
4. Winnipeg, MB
Winnipeg is a diverse city that combines breathtaking architecture with ample green space to create this unique backdrop for a vibrant city. Visitors here will find warehouses that have been converted to restaurants and shops, outdoor festivals and concerts and an abundance of art and culture. The city is home to over 1,100 restaurants and is known for its top notch food scene that is well-priced. One of the most popular things to do in this city is head to The Forks, a downtown area where the two rivers meet that is home to the market, artisan shops and interactive fun. With an average room price of $141 a night, this cultural melting pot beckons visitors from all over the globe. It is recommended you head here in the summertime because the winter here can be downright freezing cold!
3. Mont-Tremblant, QC
This city located in the Laurentian Mountains is most famously known for its ski resort located at the foot of Mont Tremblant Mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts flock here to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe, dog-sled and cross-country ski in some of the best snow in the country. But winter isn’t the only season that flourishes here. Summertime brings eco-adventures, hiking, canoeing, cycling and fishing with Lac Tremblant at the centre of most of these. An average room price in this city will run you $189 a night, keeping in mind that winters are the most expensive. Many of the hotels offer discounts if you book early in the season and work with the ski resort to combine lift tickets with hotel prices. Book early, pay once and enjoy this awesome destination, summer or winter.
2. Kamloops, BC
Kamloops is a hidden treasure amongst the West coast of Canada and with a highly affordable average nightly room rate of just $119; it won’t stay hidden for long. Home to the 5th best golf course in Canada, one of BC’s biggest ski hills and an abundance of outdoors to explore; visiting Kamloops and sticking on budget is easy. Many of the activities and restaurants are lower priced than the surrounding areas such as Vancouver or Kelowna, making this city incredibly budget friendly. Popular activities include a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, a hike to the waterfall, a visit to the farmers market and taking in the largest cowboy festival in Canada. There are endless possibilities for winter or summer, making this the number two valued city in all of Canada.
1. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
It is the city with the most expensive average accommodation on this list at $203 a night, but seeing as Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as one of the prettiest towns in all of Canada; it comes as no surprise that it can be pricey. You won’t find high rise hotels here either; instead you will find historic homes, charming B&B’s and beautiful cottages that offer luxury amenities. This 19th-century village is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries and world-class theatre. Strolling the charming streets, touring the wineries and walking along the river won’t set you back anything. This romantic getaway is often visited by those looking for an intimate experience, complete with fine dining, great wines and cozy accommodations; which are exactly what they will find in the charming town.
Canada’s festival culture is as diverse as its landscape, with a history dating back hundreds of years to when festivals were held to commemorate seasonal changes. Today, this culture has expanded to include over 200 major festivals, a hefty chunk of which are dedicated primarily to music and the celebration of folk, metal, country, EDM and everything in between. So, as the summer approaches the mid-way mark, and you find yourself geared up for your umpteenth festival experience, or, you’re just finally able to flee the office for some summer fun, EscapeHere breaks down the selection of music fests happening in Canada this August:
18. Sunfest Country Music Festival, Cowichan Valley BC
July 30 – August 2
15 years in the making, Sunfest started out as a 1 day rock concert which has since expanded into Vancouver Island’s biggest country music festival. Bringing in over 40,000 music lovers to the Cowichan Valley each year, the event not only showcases world-renowned talent and local artists, but strives to leave an economic impact by increasing the area’s exposure and donating proceeds to local organizations. This year’s festival is scheduled to have 12 main stage performers, including Lee Brice, Keith Urban and Jack Connolly.
17. Osheaga, Montreal QC
July 31 – August 2
With 2015 marking the 10th anniversary of this festival’s particular salute to music and the visual arts, festival-goers are undoubtedly in for the experience of a lifetime. The event, which annually attracts tens of thousands of music fans to Parc Jean Drapeau on Montreal’s Saint Helen’s Island, broke attendance records in 2013 when it brought in an astounding 135,00 people over the 3-day period. The diverse lineup of big-name acts mixed with emerging local and national talent is once again poised for success, with over 100 entertainers set to perform on numerous outdoor stages this August long weekend. The 2015 lineup includes FKA twigs, Florence and the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Weezer, Kendrick Lamar, Young the Giant, The Black Keys, Charli XCX and Tyler, the Creator.
16. Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Festival, Kaslo BC
July 31 – August 2
24 years strong, the Kazlo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival is held each year in picturesque Kaslo Bay Park, nestled in front of Kootenay Lake and the Purcell mountain range. The longest running music event in the area brings together approximately 5,000 people and over 20 jazz, blues and Latin performers, fostering a laid-back atmosphere of family fun. The 3-day festival features ticketless public access every day before 5 pm, tons of local food vendors, family workshops and children’s events and performances in the children’s entertainment tent. With this year’s lineup of established and up-and-coming talent, Kaslo Jazz Fest is truly a family beach party destination.
15. Big Valley Jamboree, Camrose AB
July 30 – August 2
5-time winner of the Country Music Association’s Country Music Event of the Year is the primary reason country music fans from all over flock to Camrose during Canada’s August long weekend. Not only are big names performing on the main stage all day long, but the festival is packed with activities during all 4 days, including songwriter’s workshops, bull-riding, a karaoke contest and a marketplace trade-show. The 25,000 person daily attendance is easy to understand, particularly when you take in this year’s jaw-dropping lineup: Dallas Smith, The Band Perry, Reba and Brad Paisley, to name a few.
14. Veld Music Festival, Toronto ON
August 1 & 2
Established in 2012, Veld Music Festival has grown to become Canada’s largest electronic music fest, attracting upwards of 50,000 people every year to Downsview Park in Toronto. So much more than just a giant electro-dance party, Veld showcases the very best in EDM, with the 2015 lineup presenting over 30 internationally acclaimed performers including Deadmau5, Hardwell, The Chainsmokers, Kaskade and Nicky Romero.
13. Canmore Folk Music Festival, Canmore AB
August 1 – 3
With the inaugural event taking place in 1978, this is Alberta’s longest running folk music festival. Over the past 37 years, crowds have been drawn to Centennial Park in Canmore to chill out and enjoy the mesmerizing story-telling and musical artistry characteristic of folk entertainers. Today, the event has expanded to include over 30 acts across 3 stages, and expects to attract upwards of 15,000 people, all while providing alcohol-free family fun. Kids will be kept busy with a free children’s concert as well as a kids area that boasts crafts, a bouncy castle and a climbing wall, and festival goers of all ages will appreciate this year’s once-again all-star lineup; Juno award-winner Amelia Curran and Grammy winner Mike Farris are both slated to perform.
12. Manitoulin Country Fest, Little Current ON
August 6 – 9
In its 9th year running, this country music fest held annually in Canada’s cottage country has built a reputation as having one of the friendliest and most family-oriented festival atmospheres across Canada. The organizers work hard to create a sense of comfort and above-and-beyond care for both the entertainers and the attendees, fostering that sense of small-town love that makes the event so popular. The 2015 festival schedule consists of 14 musical acts featuring Tom Cochrane, Gord Bamford and the Canucky Bluegrass Boys, as well as a selection of vendors and a family fun zone.
11. Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Lunenburg NS
August 6 – 9
If you find yourself on the East Coast this August, this highly interactive folk festival is a must. Not only is it held primarily at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, but it creates an overwhelming sense of community involvement, with workshops and additional concerts held at various venues throughout the city. In previous years festival attendance has reached 3,000, with increasingly popular evening and Sunday morning main-stage performances.
10. Boots and Hearts, Oro-Medonte ON
August 6 – 9
This music and camping event at the Burl`s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ontario is one of the largest and most anticipated country music festivals in the nation. The three-day event promises not only the best in Canadian and global country music, but various other events including a bull riding competition, late night dance party and emerging artists showcase. Alumni of the festival include Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, and Jason Aldean, with this year’s line-up set to impress with over 30 entertainers headlined by Brad Paisley, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line. With attendance in previous years topping 30,000 people, this is one event country fans won’t want to miss.
9. Regina Folk Festival, Regina SK
August 7 – 9
This festival has been around for an astounding 46 years, beginning in 1969 at the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan and held annually at various indoor locations before moving to Victoria Park in 1985. Since then, the festival has drawn over 20,000 music lovers each year to its free daytime concerts and workshops, evening headliners and artists market, beer garden and children’s area. This year’s event is sure to be another one for the ages, featuring over 30 acts, 15 food vendors and main stage headliners Blue Rodeo and Sinead O’Connor.
8. Heavy Montreal, Montreal QC
August 7 – 9
Not only the largest heavy metal and hard rock music festival in Canada, Heavy Montreal is one of the largest events of its kind in the world, drawing over 70,000 people to Parc Jean-Drapeau each year. This festival is known not only for the big-name acts that grace the main festival venue, but also the smaller events that take place over the weekend at different venues across the city. 2015 marks the 7th edition of the festival and is sure to cause some sort of moshing frenzy with the mind-blowing lineup: over 70 acts including Korn, Alexisonfire, Faith No More, Iggy Pop, Billy Talent and Slipknot.
7. Squamish Valley Music Festival, Squamish BC
August 7 – 9
First started in 2010, the Squamish Valley Music Festival in British Columbia is one of Canada’s most successful outdoor music events. Taking place on Centennial Field, Logger Sports Grounds and Hendrickson Field in beautiful Squamish Valley, the festival offers up an unparalleled assortment of entertainers from all music genres for 3 days of performances, backstage tours and artist meet and greets. The festival also boasts 4 campsites ranging in options from family-friendly with noise curfews, to, shall we say, not-so-family friendly, all within walking distance of the festival. With over 60 acts on 4 stages, it’s easy to see how the event draws crowds upwards of 100,000. This year’s lineup features headliners Sam Smith, Drake and Mumford and Sons.
6. Shambhala, Salmo River Valley, BC
August 7 – 10
During this August weekend, the Salmo River Ranch turns into a temporary city of over 10,000 and is well worth the 655 km trek from Vancouver. Started in 1998, with around 500 attendees, the festival has grown into a highly anticipated event for the west coast electronic music scene. It sports almost an underground vibe, and prides itself on existing without corporate sponsorship and providing festival goers with amazing locally sourced art and organic food. The festival also features 6 unique stages, with themes created by their individual stage directors and aims to showcase the best in local and international EDM artists. This event is truly 4 days of “fun on the farm” with over 300 entertainers and free parking and camping options.
5. MEME, Winnipeg MB
August 13 – 16
A truly unique festival experience, Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEME), is an annual event that celebrates international electronic music as well as digital arts and learning. The 4 day festival features free daytime concerts at Manitoba’s open air performance venue known as “The Cube” where the 100,000+ event attendees can enjoy a sample of house, techno, deep dub, psychedelic, world, nu-jazz, ambient and experimental sounds. The free concert series is followed nightly by world-class “After Cube” events (tickets required) that are promoted as “electronic music and multimedia extravaganzas” and are held at various venues across the city including the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Pantages Playhouse.
4. IleSoniq, Montreal QC
August 14 & 15
Once again gracing the festival-famous event grounds of Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, the 2nd annual IleSoniq is an electronic dance music fest that also offers up performances in hip hop, baile funk, house and most other electronic sub-genres. The electrifying 2-day event boasts over 50 acts set to perform on 3 stages, with an audience of around 17,500 per day. The 2015 lineup is one that you won’t want to miss, featuring Deadmau5, Azealia Banks, and Kiesza.
3. Interstellar Rodeo, Winnipeg MB
August 14 – 16
In its inaugural year, the Interstellar Rodeo is being held at The Forks in Winnipeg, and promises to deliver a one-of-a-kind “sophisticated” festival experience of unique music paired with fine wines and local food. The 1-stage event aims to keep things sweet, simple, and completely unforgettable, with a wine list curated specifically for each of the 25 performers. Headliners include Sinead O’Connor (Charles Smith 2012 Eve Chardonnay), Dwight Yoakam (Cameron Hughes Lot 456 2012 Tempranillo/Malbec/Grenache) and Blue Rodeo (Southbrook 2013 Transitions Chardonnay).
2. Riverfest, Elora ON
August 14 – 16
The 10,000+ attendance of this festival in Bissell Park on the banks of the Grand River is a far cry from the 900 patrons that graced the grounds for its inaugural run 7 years ago. Since then, the event held annually on the 3rd weekend in August has expanded to host over 30 world-renowned entertainers, with Tokyo Police Club, the New Pornographers and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea all scheduled to perform this year. The festival is about much more than just music, featuring a wide selection of food trucks, arts and crafts vendors and a bustling farmer’s market.
1. Time Festival, Toronto ON
This 1 day all-ages event at Garrison Commons in historic Fort York is a must if you’re in and around the Toronto area mid-August. The festival attracts lovers of all genres, presenting 11 acts that range from urban, alternative rock, dance and pop. The 2015 edition will feature Die Antwoord, Mac Demarco, Ariel Pink and Alison Wonderland.
Honorable Mentions: The Edmonton Folk Festival (Aug. 6-9) and Music in the Fields (Aug. 28-29) are also must-attend music events in Canada, but unfortunately, due to the overwhelming popularity of the festivals, 2015 tickets for both were completely sold out at the time of writing this article.