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Canada In Full Bloom: Spring Festivals Highlighting the Season

By Caitlin Leonard, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2017

As we move into spring, Canada is coming alive with a colourful array of events and festivals to celebrate the season, as well as its own 150th birthday this year! Just a short flight from the U.S., various activities, concerts, and more await you—making it the perfect destination when planning a spring vacation or weekend getaway.


TIFF Kids International Film Festival:  Now through April 23, 2017

In case you didn’t know, there is a version of the renowned Toronto International Film Festival just for kids! The TIFF Kids International Film Festival showcases films specifically for kids and families. Taking over the famous Lightbox Theatre, which welcomes luminaries every fall for TIFF, the 20th year of TIFF Kids takes place each weekend in April.

Technology in the classroom seminar; TIFF Kid’s International Film Festival.

The festival is aimed at kids aged 3 to 13, and will include free on-site activities to encourage an interest in creativity and filmmaking, as well as over 160 films from 40 countries. As another celebration of Canada’s 150th, there will be exclusive screenings of the country’s finest short films, as well as Q&A’s with filmmakers and special guests. For more information click here.

Fashion Art Toronto:  April 18-22, 2017

You don’t have to be a fashion expert to enjoy this event – though afterwards you may feel like one. Fashion Art Toronto can be summed up to 100 designers and artists with 50 shows in 5 days. The jam-packed schedule will welcome over 5,000 guests to celebrate artistic disciplines focused on fashion. There will be runway shows, photography displays, free art exhibits, film screenings, live dance and performance acts all exploring the exciting point at which fashion and art intersect.

Fashion Art Toronto; courtesy of FAT.

The event will showcase Toronto’s best in art and design, from contemporary fashion to street wear. This is a chance to witness the best talent among emerging and established national and international designers. With themes for each day, including Female Future, Reflections, Odyssey, Dystopia, and Utopia, this one-of-a-kind event is sure to energize and inspire. For more information click here.


Canadian Tulip Festival:  May 12-22, 2017

This is the Canadian festival for everything spring. The annual celebration brings over a million of the brightest tulips to decorate the capital city of Ottawa. First started as a celebration to commemorate a gift from the Dutch signifying international friendship, the festival is now in its 65th year.

Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa; courtesy of Ottawa Tourism.

The celebrations include musical performances, floral and art installations, fireworks and special tulip-themed culinary experiences. There will also be a unique flower celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday, the red and white “Canada 150 Tulip” which will appear throughout the city. Another location to investigate is Commissioner’s Park, which holds the highest concentration of tulips, at over 300,000. There will also be an opportunity to celebrate Mom with a special treat on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14) with the Mother’s Day Dutch Brunch.


Banff Yoga Festival:  May 26 – May 28, 2017

The perfect festival for yoga enthusiasts, the second annual Banff Yoga Festival will take place over a weekend at the end of May. Providing an ideal mindful escape and chance to learn from experienced yoga masters, this conscious-living event will celebrate all things yoga and promote the knowledge of well-being. Escape city life to attend talks given by health and fitness experts, classes on raw chocolate making, try stand-up paddling in Banff’s picturesque Bow River, do mountain meditations, and take in various yoga classes, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. For more information click here.

Banff Yoga Festival; courtesy of organization.

St. John’s, Newfoundland

Lawnya Vawnya:  May 10-13, 2017

If you’re able to make your way to St. John’s, Newfoundland the beginning of next month, there can be found a gathering unique to Canada’s East Coast. The event’s name, “Lawnya Vawnya” pretty much explains it all – the Newfoundland expression loosely translates as “having a good time at a dance party with plenty to eat.” This will include shows throughout the province’s bright capital city, known for its history as the oldest city in North America. This year’s festival will have panel discussions on inclusivity as well as musical performances by independent artists from across the country. For more information click here.

All the Wiles, a band scheduled to perform at this year’s event.


Full Fathom Five: Shakespeare in Song:  April 23, 2017

This unique event presents choral works inspired by William Shakespeare in the year just after the 400th anniversary of his death. On April 23rd, The Bard’s birthday, the Vancouver Cantata Singers will, for one show only, perform original choral works from composers ranging from Switzerland, Finland, UK, and Canada. Each piece was written to explore the phrase “Full Fathom Five,” a line selected from The Tempest.

The Vancouver Cantata singers are known as one of Canada’s most outstanding and renowned award-winning ensembles. They have been recognized by The Canada Council for the Arts with a top prize for choral singing, The Healey Willan Grand Prize, more than any other choir in the country.

Vancouver Cantata Singers; courtesy of organization.

The performance will take place Sunday, April 23 at 3:00pm at the Orpheum Annex. Tickets are $30 for Adults, $20 Students, and 16 and under are $10. For more information click here.

Ships to Shore, King of the Sea:  May 5-7, 2017

Advertised as “Free Family Fun!” Ships to Shore is a three-day festival at Garry Point Park, just outside Vancouver, where visitors can view one of the world’s largest tall ships and take part in entertaining activities by the sea. The featured ship will be an astonishing 361-foot 1989 Japanese four-masted training barque tall ship called the “Kaiwo Maru,” or King of the Sea.

Japanese ship Kaiwo Maru (“King of the Sea”) on display as part of Ships to Shore.

The Ships to Shore event will have something for everyone, including three stages with musical entertainment, stands to thrill foodies, and lots of free family activities. For more information click here.


Montreal Folk Festival:  June 14–18, 2017

Founded in 2008, the Montreal Folk Festival is a showcase for the best in Canadian folk, roots and bluegrass music. The five-day outdoor event is run by volunteers and celebrates both established and emerging musicians. There will be food and artisanal vendors along the scenic location just off of the historic Lachine Canal. For more information click here.

Montreal Fold Festival; courtesy of organization.

La Fête de Croissant:  May 6, 2017

And if this won’t get you to Montreal, what will? La Fête de Croissant, or, The Croissant Party, will include over 75 of the finest bakeries in the city which will sell their freshly baked croissants for only $1 all day. The requirements are that only pure butter is used and the croissants have to be baked fresh daily. During this day the croissants usually sell out fast within hours, sometimes minutes. The event originated due to a 2011 survey to find the best croissant in Montreal. The winner was Fous Desserts, a quaint and stylish bakery on Laurier Street. Due to the overwhelming 1660 recommendations for the best croissants in the city, La Fête de Croissant was born to thank customers for their support, and to celebrate the dedicated bakers who daily provide such delicious variations on the cultural staple.

La Fête de Croissant.


Cover: Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa; courtesy of Ottawa Tourism.


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