Canada is a huge country spanning over 3.85 million square miles. It loves its festivals, with the music festivals legendary, but there are many other types of events to enjoy too.
While winter is a great time to experience those that celebrate the ice and snow, if you’re planning a road trip from east to west or west to east, summer is the best time to do it for avoiding closures and the risk of accidents.
As part of your planning process, consider arriving in time to take in these can’t-miss events.
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Montreal International Jazz Festival – Montreal, Quebec
Held for 10 days around late June and early July, the Montreal International Jazz festival is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest of its kind. It’s been hosted for more than four decades providing a venue for fans of all types in North America’s beautiful French-speaking metropolis.
With all-day street festivals that include food stands, beer gardens, and souvenir vendors, along with multiple stages hosting eclectic performers and dozens of free shows. All take place in the heart of the city in an area off-limits to motor vehicles, making it an ideal experience for anyone who wants to combine their love of travel with a love of music.
The venues are some of the most magnificent and historic, including Place des Arts and Le Gesu along with trendy spots like Club Soda and L’Astral. Most of the action is centered around Rue Sainte-Catherine and Quartier des Spectacles.
Calgary Stampede – Calgary, Alberta
The Calgary Stampede is one of Canada’s most famous events and it’s perfectly timed for your road trip if you’re traveling east to west. It runs for 10 days, usually from the first Friday of July (if this is Canada Day or the day after it will start on the second Friday of July).
It’s all about cowboy culture, complete with rodeos, concerts, carnival amusement rides, and all sorts of fair foods, including some rather strange but surprisingly delicious options like French fry Corn Dogs and a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger.
For those into everything country and cowboys, you might find yourself searching through the Calgary homes for sale so you can easily attend every year.
Vancouver Celebration of Light – Vancouver, British Columbia
If you haven’t witnessed this fireworks competition, it’s almost as if you’ve never seen a real fireworks display. The world’s biggest annual offshore fireworks competition, you’ll make it just in time after traveling from Calgary. It takes place in English Bay for over three different days in late July (and sometimes early August). In 2022, it will be held on July 23, July 27, and July 30. It’s the province’s flagship public event, pairing the amazing visuals with sounds.
In the sky you’ll see various figures and choreographic displays, taking it all in with well over a million people. There are multiple vantage points for viewing, including Kitsilano Beach, English Bay, Vanier Park, and Sunset Beach. It’s also possible to book a VIP viewing zone in advance – otherwise, you’ll want to come early to get the best spot.
The show begins at 10 p.m. with darkness fully set in. The fireworks are set off from a floating barge in the bay, illuminating it with dazzling pyrotechnics. Many bring picnics to enjoy while watching the show and at Sunset Beach in the West End near the Burrard Street Bridge, there are live music performances that begin in the early afternoon, drawing crowds who look forward to the evening’s main event.