Canada being such a huge country means that it is a melting pot of culinary delights, from popular favourites like maple syrup to lesser-known treats like bison meat.
If you are looking for some food-filled adventures for your next holiday in Canada then there are a number of food festivals you can visit.
Some of these festivals have been around for years whilst others are relatively new, but all have one common theme and that is to showcase and celebrate the best food Canada has to offer. Read on to see how you can eat your way across the country by visiting these tasty festivals.
Richmond Night Market festival
Richmond Night Market is the biggest night market in North America and is even bigger than the famous night markets of Hong Kong and Macau.
The night market attracts thousands of people with its entertainers, merchandise and most of all its rows and rows of food vendors.
Open every week on Friday and Saturday from 7pm to 12am and Sunday from 7pm to 11pm, the Richmond Night Market has delectable treats on offer, whether you love sweet or savoury.
The market’s international food fair has been expanded to include over a hundred vendors with over five hundred food items from all over the world. With foods like Singapore-style beef and pork jerky, crazy and delicious milkshakes, Japanese tempura and Ice Cane, a type of ice cream, available, you will want to come hungry!
Visitors can also enjoy the Magical Dino Park, home to 18 dinosaurs that move, roar and take you on a prehistoric adventure. Alongside the food stalls there are 200 retail stalls packed with fashion accessories, beauty products and more. There is also an entertainment stage with exciting live performances from singers, dancers, magicians and daredevils.
Richmond neighbours Vancouver and is easy to get to by hopping on the Skytrain from downtown Vancouver.
Spot Prawn Festival
This free, family-friendly festival has been running for 10 years and aims to coincide with the start of the spot prawn season in British Columbia and to educate visitors about the spot prawn delicacy. The festival is held at Fisherman’s Wharf on False Creek in Vancouver, and celebrates the delectable and sustainable crustaceans that inhabit BC’s coastal waters.
The Spot Prawn Festival was founded by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC and has evolved to offer visitors a range of free entertainment, activities for kids and cooking demonstrations from the best local chefs.
Visitors can also buy locally sourced prawns from the dock and enjoy the prawns alongside beer and wine samples.
To celebrate the events tenth anniversary, attendees this year even enjoyed a six-course gala meal that was prepared by six chefs from across Canada. The black tie event cost $200 to attend and diners were not just treated to delicious food, but the best wine available too.
The date for the 2017 festival has not yet been announced.
Mondial des Cidres Festival
The Mondial des Cidres Festival is a non-profit event that is organised by the Association des Cidriculteurs artisans du Québec.
The Montreal-based annual event helps promote cider and aims to showcase the craftsmanship of Quebec’s artisan cider producers. Attendees can get their taste buds flowing by trying cider from over 20 local cider producers, as well as visiting gourmet stations serving oysters, foie gras and cold cuts.
The festival, which will be taking place in February in 2017, will also be putting on a speed tasting session where visitors can try three products from one cider-maker.
If you are more interested in the brewing process, then there will be a number of guest speakers attending the festival to discuss how they make their cider so delicious.
Taste of Edmonton
The Taste of Edmonton festival has become a summer tradition as it celebrates all the culinary delights of the city.
After a humble beginning in 1984, the event has now become the largest food festival in Canada and allows visitors to sample the best food and drink Edmonton restaurants have to offer.
Located in Sir Winston Churchill Square, the festival offers guests whatever they fancy, from sweet and savoury foods to gluten-free meals, beer and wine to folk and jazz music.
Food vendors from across the city attend the event and on top of sampling the best food in Edmonton, foodies can sign up to culinary adventure weekends at the festival and take part in workshops to learn how to cook traditional Canadian dishes alongside the best chefs in the city.
The Taste of Edmonton festival also appeals to everyone’s musical palate as some of the country’s best artists perform at the event. Well-known Canadian performers such as Shawn Desman and Alyssa Reid appeared at this year’s show, which boasted a line-up of dozens of artists across 10 days.
Organisers of the event have not announced when the 2017 event will take place, but usually the Taste of Edmonton festival is in July.
Corn and Apple Festival
This year’s festival, taking place from August 26-28 in Morden in Manitoba, will be celebrating its 50th year.
The Corn and Apple Festival usually attracts over 50,000 people over the three days and has now become one of the largest street festivals in Manitoba.
Visitors to this year’s festival will enjoy free admission, free hot buttered corn-on-the-cob and free apple cider.
The Corn and Apple Festival also has vendors selling a variety of other foods that are popular in this part of Canada such as Elk BBQ and more.
After wiping the butter from your chin, you can get involved in all the activities this family-friendly event has to offer. The festival’s organisers also put on the largest parade in the province and there are a number of mud racing activities for something a little different!
Best festivals for….
The BC Shellfish and Seafood festival is one of the best seafood festivals in Canada, offering visitors 11 days of non-stop tastings, demonstrations, competitions and education. The festival shows off British Columbia’s booming seafood industry by offering tours to oyster farms and inviting celebrity chefs to prepare dishes for the public to try.
Another festival seafood lovers have to visit is the Shediac Lobster Festival in New Brunswick. The 68th annual festival will be taking place from July 5th-9th in 2017. The festival is an enormous lobster feast where 1,000 lobsters and 1,000 people eat at a 1,000 foot table. Crowds watch as participants aim to make the longest lobster roll in the world.
For three weekends in January, the Niagara IceWine Festival transforms the area into a winter wonderland by celebrating Ontario IceWine, one of the region’s most famed products. The 22nd edition of the Niagara IceWine Festival offers visitors a variety of tastes with its food and wine pairings, roasted chestnuts and IceWine Marshmallows.
Winefest Edmonton is another playground for the palate as lucky visitors get the chance to sample wines from all over the world, whilst to complement the wines guests can choose from a selection of hors d’oeuvres. The Winefest Edmonton event will be taking place on 17th and 18th of February in 2017.
A sweet tooth
If you love a sweet treat, then Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival should be on your bucket list as it celebrates the Canadian classic tart with a one-day celebration. There are usually over 100 vendors serving more than 100,000 butter tarts, which is topped off with a competition to find the best one.
A maple syrup festival just has to be included in this section and there are lots to choose from! One of our favourites is the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival in Ontario, which will be celebrating its 22nd anniversary on April 1st-2nd. People come from across the country to taste this sweet liquid gold; visitors can try all-day pancakes with fresh local maple syrup, as well as munch on burgers and hotdogs.
An international flavour
If you want to try something with an international flavour, then the Taste of the Danforth, which is located on Danforth Avenue in Toronto, is the food festival you need to attend. Greek town vendors come out in force and serve classic Greek dishes such as souvlaki and spanakopita. With over 1.65 million people visiting the festival over one delicious weekend, the Taste of the Danforth has become Canada’s largest street festival.
The Taste of the Caribbean in Montreal celebrates authentic Caribbean cuisine. Celebrity chefs from the Caribbean and Montreal showcase a variety of dishes and attendees can taste jerk chicken and other iconic dishes from over 20 local restaurants. There are also Caribbean orchestras, dancers, folk singers and a Trinidadian style street carnival as well.
Image Credit: Richmond Night Market festival, Ryan Bissell, helen, Charlton Clemens, sean_hickin.