Top 5 Summer Festivals in Canada

Canada has a lot to offer when it comes to festivals, especially in the summer. Not only does the country offer many public festivals with free admission, but they also host many private events. One thing you quickly learn is there are no shortage of fun summer festivals in Canada — locals really savor that brief summer warmth.

If you’re looking for something unique or niche, there are dragon boat and Shakespeare-themed festivals. If you want something a bit more popular, they offer fireworks, sand sculptures, and even a Caribbean-themed celebration.

Whether you’re looking to take a solo vacation or bring your entire family, the following five festivals should appeal to most travelers. Some of these must-sees even offer experiences you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Toronto Caribbean Carnival is one of the top 5 summer festivals in Canada
Doesn’t feel like Toronto anymore 😂

Toronto Caribbean Carnival

July 7 – August 11, 2019

Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival is a 4-week long festival celebrating every aspect of Caribbean culture. This includes music, food, arts, and dance. The event typically takes place in July and August and includes spectacular parades as it attracts millions of visitors each and every summer festival season. It’s the perfect event to attend if you just bought a home for sale in Brampton.

The Montreal Fireworks Festival is one of the top 5 summer festivals in Canada
The world’s largest fireworks festival

The Montreal Fireworks Festival

June 29 – July 27, 2019

La Ronde (Theme Park), Montreal

The largest fireworks festival in the world, this festival attracts at least 3 million people each year. The display includes over 6,000 fireworks from as many as a dozen different top fireworks companies. Awards in the form of trophies are awarded to those with the best fireworks displays.

This display can be seen for free from one of the two local bridges closed off to traffic just for this event, or from the theme park hosting the event.

Bard On The Beach is one of the top 5 summer festivals in Canada
Shakespeare anyone?

Bard on The Beach

June 5 – September 21, 2019

Vanier Park, Vancouver

Bard on the Beach is a celebration of Shakespeare with live performances and live backgrounds of mountains or the sea. Lectures about Shakespeare and other, related topics, are also held during the festival.

Bard On The Beach is a must for Shakespeare lovers
Tents tents tents!

For food, there is a Bard BBQ as well as wine and cheese tastings. Catered picnics are also available, though in limited quantities. The festival plays, and other aspects change with the seasons, each iteration being slightly different.

Parksville Beach Fest

July 12 – August 18, 2019

Parksville, British Columbia

This festival lasts for several weeks and includes many beach type activities. The central draw is the sand sculpture competition, often featuring some of the world’s most enormous sand sculptures. While the sand sculpting competition is held over four days, the sculptures are available to be seen for at least a few more, given good weather.

Parksville Beach Fest is one of the top 5 summer festivals in Canada because of the gigantic sandcastle building contest
The highlight of this festival is the sandcastle building competition

An arts and crafts market, as well as live music, round out the attractions for the Parksville Beach Fest. Attending this festival is free.

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival

June 22 – 23, 2019

False Creek, Vancouver

The Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival is also free to attend. There are free, public concerts and the races to watch. The event lasts three days throughout a single weekend in June. The competitions involve a team paddling a long boat with the head of a dragon along a river.

Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival is one of the top 5 summer festivals in Canada
Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival

This festival is one of many events the Canadian International Dragon Boat Society is part of. If you arrive at the right time, you might even get the chance to paddle in one 😉

gsmatthews ericparker
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Any other festivals to recommend?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Summer Festivals in Canada”

  1. What are exactly the months for summer vacations in Canada? This festivals are quite cool, I hope can visit some of them the next year. Thank you.


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