The Return of Canada’s Summer Festivals

The joy of celebrating close to home

  • Jul 15, 2021
  • 848 words
  • 4 minutes
Photo: Redd/Unsplash
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Across Canada, as COVID-19 safety protocols and travel restrictions continue to lift, summer festivals are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the return to near normalcy. Looking for ideas? Check out Destination Canada’s list of upcoming events to add to your all-Canadian social calendar.

Until July 17, Regina, Sask.

This socially distanced music festival wraps up this weekend and all attendees are getting the VIP treatment. Watch headliners Doc Walker and Big Wreck perform on the rooftop stage from the comfort and safety of your own hotel room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Regina.

Photo: KrugoFest
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Cirque Festival
Until July 18 in Montreal, Que.

The popular Cirque Festival is in full swing, offering a hybrid edition of digital productions, as well as indoor and outdoor shows. Various of the city’s venues, streets, parks and sidewalks have been transformed into performance spaces to showcase high-flying acts from Montreal and all over the world.

Photo: Matias Garabedian, CC BY-SA 2.0
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Calgary Stampede
Until July 18 in Calgary, Alta.

Pull out your boots and dust off your cowboy hat. You can’t be anywhere near Calgary and not realize the Stampede is in town. The Stampede is back with reduced capacity events and an emphasis on outdoor attractions. Famous for its rodeo events, midway rides and entertainment, the Stampede also offers youth programs and agricultural education.

Photo: Wilson Hui from Calgary, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Folk on the Rocks
July 16 to 18 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Celebrate the North at one of Canada’s top music and cultural festivals, featuring performers from around the region and across the country. The festival invites visitors of all ages to enjoy the music, savour international and traditional foods and shop for works by local artists.

Photo: KyleWiTh, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
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Beaches Jazz Festival
Until July 24 in Toronto, Ont.

This jazz festival in Toronto’s lively Beaches neighbourhood has been going strong for more than 30 years. This year, the festival takes the form of a drive-in concert allowing revellers to enjoy the music from the comfort of their cars. There’s also a block party on July 16, AfroFest from July 17 to 18, and a tribute to the legends of Motown on July 24.

Photo: Beaches Jazz Festival/Facebook
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Island Tides Yoga & Wellness Festival
July 18 to 21 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The Maritimes’ largest health and wellness festival kicks off, taking inspiration from the therapeutic landscapes of the Island. The festival is a celebration of healthy living, with wellness events, scenic runs, waterside activities, inspiring workshops and other feel-good activities.

Photo: Island Tides Yoga& Wellness Festival/Facebook
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Just for Laughs Festival
July 26 to 31 in Montreal, Que.

The world-famous comedy festival returns this year with a hybrid format. Catch a show live in Montreal, or stream any of the shows from the other two participating cities (that’d be New York City and Los Angeles). This year, the festival will also publicly livestream the JFL Awards show, allowing fans to join in on the event for the first time in the festival’s history.

Photo: Michel Grolet
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Edmonton Heritage Celebration
July 31 to Aug. 2 in Edmonton, Alta.

Many of Alberta’s cultural groups come together at this festival to celebrate their history, song, dance, and food. Enjoy offerings from 60 different countries and Indigenous communities and free entertainment on more than 25 stages in Hawrelak Park.

TransRockies Gravel Royale
Aug. 23 to 26 in British Columbia

A scenic bike ride through the Rocky Mountains sounds like the perfect pick-me-up after months of pandemic isolation. The four-day gravel road race covers 375 kilometres with 7,000 metres in elevation. The journey will take riders through places like Panorama Mountain Resort, Nipika Mountain Resort, Canal Flats and Fernie.

Queen City Ex
Aug. 20 to 22 and Aug. 25 to 29 in Regina, Sask.

Regina’s annual summer fair boasts a midway, live concerts by Canadian bands and a rodeo. COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed, which includes screening for indoor venues and on the midway.

Banff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K
Sept. 12 in Banff National Park, Alta.

Lace up your runners and start stretching. Running enthusiasts are invited to take in stunning vistas and soaring sights while running through Banff National Park. The Marathon Festival also features a kids run, an antique car show, and admission to the Banff Park Museum.

International Garden Festival
Until Oct. 3 in Grand-Métis, Que.

Held in the Gaspesie region of Quebec, this is the largest contemporary garden festival in North America. This year’s theme is “Magic Lies Outside,” inviting visitors to enjoy more than 25 outdoor architectural installations — including five brand new ones. The festival is a safe way to reconnect with nature — and with one another.

Photo: Societe des musee du Quebec, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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