Canadian Winterlude Festival in Ottawa Canada

Travel Guide: Canadian Celebrations and Cultural Festivals

Canadian Celebrations and Festivals feature a cultural blender of British, French, and indigenous origins. If you find yourself traveling to Canada, this travel guide is sure to help you navigate the cultural anthropology of Canadian celebrations.

From the blooming fireworks of celebrations of light, the snow events of Winterlude festival, the curious mascot and parade of Quebec winter carnival, and the ethereal vibe of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Canadian celebrations will never let you get bored in your trip to Canada.

Let me take you on a journey through the best festivals and celebrations of Canada.

Winterlude– The Canadian celebrations of Skiing, Skating & Partying

Ice scuplture of girl on swing made for the Canadian Winterlude Festival
Credit: Twitter @Canada

Winterlude is an annually held festival in the National Capital Region of Canada. It was started back in 1979 and it is managed by the Department of Canadian heritage. On average estimate, almost 100,000 visitors visit Ottawa Annually to take part in this festival.

Activities and Attractions:

the Winterlude festival is renowned for its Rideau Canal skateway which extends to around 5 miles. It is also known as the largest skating rink in the world.

If you are lucky enough to visit another during the winter Rd festival then the Snowflake Kingdom is something that you must check out. The Snowflake Kingdom is situated in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.

Did you know about the I sculpture competition of crystal garden? It is located in Confederation park aside from musical concerts as well as ice lounges. If you are in the area, you can visit Marion Dewar Plaza at City Hall, which consists of a well-known skating rink.

This skating rink is known to host DJ dance shows, skating parties, as well as modern visual interactive art exhibitions. If you find the time to visit during the festival, do take a tour through here.

While you are here you can visit the nearby museums in Ottawa, which also hold special display events during this festival.

Racing events are one of the best things to see in Ottawa, that you can enjoy seeing or even participate in if you like. A ski race is held at Gatineau Park, called Gatineau Loppet. You will also get to see the fat bike as well as the snowshoe race during this event.

Winter Triathlon, consists of an 8km skate race, which happens on the Rideau Canal, a 5km race that is usually hosted along Colonel By Drive, as well as in Mooney’s Bay Park, a 6km long ski race.

Winterlude Tour Tips:

The Winterlude festival usually goes on for about three weeks, during February. Events usually take place during the weekends and Monday to Thursday it’s not much crowded.

As the weekends arrive, the mood of the festival changes entirely. People start filling in and soon the festival vibe is at its peak. If you want some quiet, however, then I recommend you to arrive during the weekdays. The skating rinks are in their best condition during weekdays because not many people are there.

One more thing that you should be forewarned about is the unpredictable weather of Ottawa. As you can imagine, warm weather can ruin it all. Some of the events like skating and Ice sculpture competition are dependent on pristine conditions of ice.

While the first three weeks of February is the time duration for the festival if all goes well, the skating season can be extended and postponed as per the weather conditions.

The Calgary Stampede- Adventurous Canadian celebrations of Rodeos, Parades & Exhibitions

Canadian celebrations and festivals: The Calagry Stampede
by Calgary Herald

The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo celebrated in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, during July every year. Self-proclaimed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. It is famously known for being one of the world’s largest rodeos and attracting around 1,000,000 visitors per year. Calgary Stampede features stage shows, concerts, Chuckwaggon racing, First nations exhibitions, a parade as well as agricultural competitions.

It all started back in 1886 when Calgary and district cultural society celebrated its first fair. However, the Stampede became renowned after Guy Weadick organized the first rodeo in this festival called Stampede. The industrial exhibition of Calgary and the rodeo blended to give rise to the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.

The road to an exhibition may have begun quite homely but right now it has evolved to find a position among the world’s richest rodeos. The Calgary Stampede is known as one of the largest festivals and one of the best things to see in Canada.

Activities & Attractions


Red is one of the highly sought-after events that happen during the Calgary Stampede festival. It is organized on the opening day of the Stampede I talkers quite early morning around 9:00 AM. Parade marshals may vary from actors, athletes, even politicians, or foreign dignitaries. It all depends on the current wind of that time and what the public interest calls for.

The parrot features the diversity of the nation joined by international interns as well. Some clowns to call boys dancers to politicians horse riders business leaders the parrot truly is a colorful beginning to the festival. The attendance at the parade can be tremendously crowded. In 1912 around 75,000 people participated in the parade and 2011, the attendee number skyrocketed to around 425,000 people.


While the parade is a great starter, the rodeo is what it’s all about. This is a one-of-a-kind rodeo in the entire world. The winner of each category can take home 100,000 dollars back with themselves. if you find yourself attending the Calgary Stampede then you will get to see six different kinds of discipline in the rodeo. They are steer wrestling, Sadie bronc, bareback riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.

Chuckwagon Racing- the Dash for Cash

Canadian celebrations and festivals : chuckwagon racing
by Avenue Calgary

The sport of chuckwagon racing was invented back in 1923 by Weadick himself. He introduced this game for the recently merged Exhibition and Stampede event. It was an instant hit. Chuckwagon racing is officially termed, Rangeland Derby. However, it’s popular among the locals by the names “half-mile of hell” and “dash for cash”.

In 1923 when the event was introduced, the prize money was $275 and only six teams competed. In recent events, around 36 teams participate in the event in a dash for cash. And why won’t they! The prize money totals up to $1.5 million. The race is considered the most economically profitable event for the participants. As you can guess, advertisement is a major way to cash in some of the profit. The tarp cover of the wagons are usually auctioned to advertiser’s and it can go for very high prices indeed.


Agricultural Exhibitions were running in Alberta from 1886, much before the stampede started. The region used to be quite rural in its earlier times. However, now the scenery has changed completely, mostly because of the economic landfall due to the annual festival. The Exhibition zone in the festival comprises many displays of agricultural origin. There used to be many more events held in the agriculture Exhibition area, including a blacksmith competition that attracted blacksmiths from around the globe.

Farm and ranch displays can also be glanced at In this exhibition. If you are a city dweller then you might find most of these Exhibitions a novel experience.

Québec Winter Carnival- Canadian Celebrations of snowboarding, ice sculptures, and Dance parties

Quebec Winter Carnival

Referred to as carnival des Québec in French, the festival was originally held at irregular time intervals. Later on, in 1955, it was decided to be celebrated annually in Québec. In 2006, around a million people attended the festival, which made it the biggest winter festival in the world during that time.

Activities & Attractions

It’s one of the top festivals and the best things to see in Canada. The best attraction at the festival is the parades featuring the good renowned mascot Bonhomme Carnival of the winter festival. It is a time of celebration around all of Québec. From public to private parties, numerous festive events are occurring at the same time during this festival.

The main events to enjoy at the winter fest-

You can enjoy watching sleigh races of single or double harness kind which is held at Plains of Abraham. The ice canoe race is held on the St. Lawrence river. In the presence of participants, the mayor as well the beloved mascot, the opening and closing ceremonies are not to be missed.

In Château Frontenac, a masquerade ball is arranged, which sees an entry of about 400 participants from various regions. The festival obviously includes outdoor sporting events such as hockey, snowboarding, and ice canoe because, well, it’s Canada. Plains of Abraham hosts an ice sculpture contest attended by student artists both national and international.

Dance parties for you to attend

If you are looking for some fun, a party vibe, to enjoy yourself, then let me introduce you to some of the outdoor dance parties that are hosted at the ice palaces around the area. While a few dance parties off-site are free entry, there are many dance party events in the festival area. If you want to get permission to attend one or a few, then you can buy Bonhomme effigy tag at any outlet like Kiosks.

Montreal International Jazz festival- Jazz your days away

Canadian Celebrations: Montreal festival
by Everfest

The monitor international Jazz Festival is held annually in Montreal QC Canada. the festival recorded at most attendance breaking world record off worlds largest Jazz Festival entering its name in Guinness Book of world records.

Artists from around 30 countries gather in this unique event of Canadian celebrations which features around 650 concerts and an average of 2,000,000 visitors. about 3000 artists from different countries participate in this event as well as around 300 internationally acclaimed journalists capture the event.

From outdoor stages to indoor concert halls there are 20 different stages to this festival. The festival does not only take place in one area but rather different smaller venues as well. It is spread around in jazz clubs of smaller sizes to popular concert halls like Place des Arts.

The idea of the festival originated from Alain Simard, who worked with Productions Kosmos in collaboration with internationally renowned artists. Collaborating with Andre Menard and Dennis McCann Alan Simard created an agency which was named Spectra scene. The idea was to present a festival during summertime to bring together Jazz artists of different countries at the same stage.

The first festival was held during the summer of 1979, and the rest is history. In the beginning, the small company faces budget problems however with time the game success and people started attending in larger numbers, and it has only continued to grow on since then.

Just for Laughs- Comedy Festival Canadian celebrations

Canadian Celebrations: Just for Laughs
by traveltrends

Founded back in 1983, it is held annually during July in Montreal QC. It is also known as the largest international Comedy Festival in all of the world. It was founded by Gilbert Rozon in 1983 as a French-language event that lasted for two days. But the joining of ending Ullman English language events was also introduced and this festival.

This one-of-a-kind event of Canadian Celebrations was a two-day event, which extended to a full month. The first half was comprised of French performances and the second half consisted of English performances. While there are audience aplenty in this festival it is also attended by a lot of talent scouts and agents look for talented newcomers. or any talented artist it went really became a mark of pride as well as a wonderful opportunity to get scouted by internationally acclaimed production houses

TV shows were also launched of the event and a comedy series which began quite popular internationally. you might remember watching Just for laughs: gags.

National Indigenous People Day

National Indigenous day Canada
by Presenza

This is a day focused on a celebration of the ancient culture of the first people of Canada, which consists of the First Nations, Inuit, and metis people. In the beginning, it was celebrated as national aboriginal day and it started back in 1996. After that It was set to be celebrated annually on 21 June which is also taken friend for being a date of the summer solstice.

The summer solstice is an important date in the indigenous culture in which the first people celebrate their ancient ceremonies and customs. This day is celebrated by indigenous people, mostly in the North of territories as well as in Yukon. However, it is still not given a major role as the rest of the country does not consider it a statutory holiday.

Celebration of Lights

Celebration of lights
by Tourism Vancouver

It is an annual musical firework Celebration, which was formerly called Bensen & Hedges Symphony of fire. This celebration started in 1990 and since then it has been held annually usually between July to August. Held in Vancouver, British Columbia, it is one of the best things to say in Vancouver Canada. Around the globe entering this festival to show off their fireworks display based on their own themes.

In 2019 the participants of this program were India Croatia and Canada. While team India presented their display based on the theme of love Croatia presented a journey through cinema and Canada focused their team on feel-good hits of the summer. the winner of this program in 2019 was Canada.

In 2018 South Korea won the competition and in 2017 and Japan became the winner. it is one of the largest hotspots of tourists around the globe during the time of this festival. on average 1.4 million people visit this event annually.

Now that you are familiar with the Canadian celebrations and festivals, perhaps it is time you start planning your trip to Canada.

Pack your bags, choose the right accommodation, talk to locals and find the hidden gems. Go on now explorer, have fun, Happy Travels!


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