Festival side-trips

Ten festivals down the road from Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Apr 30, 2013
  • 653 words
  • 3 minutes
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Maybe you live in Ottawa and can stroll down to the Rideau Canal; or maybe you plan to cover the roughly 5,000 kilometres between Newfoundland’s L’Anse aux Meadows and the Yukon’s Kluane (and everything in between) — a Canadian UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage. No matter how you get to these sites, though, look just down the road to see how Canadians are celebrating a few of the country’s countless other riches, be it local music, wild rivers, beer or blueberries. Here’s a sampler of festivals near Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

RIDEAU CANAL Ottawa International Children’s Festival, Ottawa, May 28 to June 2,
Award-winning artists from Canada, Brazil, Kenya, China and the rest of the world dazzle tens of thousands of children in Ottawa every year. The kids will love the musical instrument “petting zoo.”
KLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Whitehorse, June 7 to 9,
Three days packed with performances by bluegrass musicians from across North America, including Balsam Range, the Gibson Brothers, The Sweet Lowdown and many local musicians.
NAHANNI NATIONAL PARK Open Sky Festival, Fort Simpson, N.W.T., June 28 to July 1,
Immerse yourself in northern culture at this annual showcase of traditional and modern art forms, including dance, new media screenings, storytelling and theatre. Look for moose hair tufting — sewing dyed caribou hair onto costumes, bags and belts.
Summerlude Festival and Lake Regatta, Invermere, B.C., July 17 to 20,
Part Windermere Lake regatta, with swimming, sailing and canoe races and waterskiing spectacles, and part world-class bull riding and cowboy-themed dinners and dances.
HEAD-SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP South County Fair, Fort Macleod, Alta., July 19 to 21,
An eclectic and international mix of street performers, rant poets, palm readers, flamenco guitarists and even Cape Breton fiddlers defines this camping, music and arts festival.
GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK Deer Lake Strawberry Festival, Deer Lake, N.L., July 19 to 21,
Strawberries abound, as does rollicking music and dancing, and the weekend climaxes with a firework show. Don’t leave without picking a fresh pint of juicy Newfoundland strawberries.
WOOD BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK Slave River Paddlefest, Fort Smith, N.W.T., August 3 to 5,
An entire weekend celebrating paddling the Slave River, touted by the Fort Smith Paddling Club as “one of the best big-water paddling destinations in the world.” Join in on kayaking and canoeing, whitewater rafting, hikes and a community feast.
OLD TOWN LUNENBURG Folk Harbour Festival, Lunenburg, N.S., August 8 to 11,
This historic port town resonates with the traditional and contemporary sounds of Nova Scotia’s longest-running folk festival every August, all set against a backdrop of stunning Atlantic scenery.
HISTORIC REGION OF OLD QUÉBEC Festibière du Québec, Québec, August 15 to 18,
Feel like a cold pint? Choose from over 500 beers crafted by 50 different breweries of the Québec area and from across the province. Match the brews with local cuisine and enjoy live music.
JOGGINS FOSSIL CLIFFS Wild Blueberry Festival, central Nova Scotia, including Amherst and Truro, August 16 to 31,
Every late summer, central Nova Scotia is awash in world-famous wild blueberries. During this long harvest-season festival you can pick your own berries, take in some Maritime music and even compete in a pie-eating contest.

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