As the summer festival season draws to a close in the UK and Canada alike, it’s all too easy for Post-Festival Blues Syndrome to hit you hard. Once the withdrawal symptoms have kicked in, there’s only one cure: keep the festival season alive.
Canada provides plenty of choice to do just that, whether it’s by the riverside in Calgary, along the Dufferin Islands in Niagara Falls or across from the bustling harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
So, whether you’re into film, literature, comedy or culture, Canada has a festival that will reignite your festival fire, and keep it burning well into winter. The only challenge is to pick one!
Be stimulated by Calgary’s Beakerhead spectacle
Described as a ‘smashing together’ of the arts, sciences, and engineering sectors, this exciting festival is fantastic for kids and engaging the local community. Visitors are invited to explore Beakerhead through 14 interactive sites and 60 events united by a common theme: the journey of invention.
The five-day Beakerhead festival starts on the 13th September, and offers a wide variety of events suitable for all ages, from partying on a space station to ‘ape-ing around’. The events on offer include ‘Leap’, which allows you to sit inside an illuminated cylinder two metres in diameter, where your motion activates a mechanism that causes images, inspired by 13 fairy tales, to come to life! Alternatively, head to the RiverWalk overlooking the Bow, where there are 15 giant, motion-aware seesaws that will bring light and sound in exchange for your interaction.
Providing unique experiences, Beakerhead is ideal for curious individuals and energetic families alike.
Where to stay?
Choose to stay in Hotel le Germain Calgary, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Calgary, or perhaps Ramada Hotel Downtown Calgary, located in Calgary’s thriving shopping district.
Alternatively, let us take care of your holiday for you with our Western Journey Holiday package. Just a stone’s throw away from the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Calgary really is the gateway city to the Rockies and so is a great starting or finishing point to your holiday. This package tour takes you through the Rocky Mountains and along the Pacific coastline, with stunning vistas of fjords and glacial valleys, to combine the urban metropolises with natural wonders.
Be enchanted by the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights
Throughout Niagara Park and Dufferin Islands, 8km of light displays bring the most striking features of the region to life. The annual event takes places from 18th November 2017 to 31st January 2018, brightening up winter for everyone.
If Niagara Falls wasn’t a magical tourist destination already, the Winter Festival of Lights transforms it into an entirely new spectacle, with a palette of stunning colours and sparkling lights illuminating one of the world’s most treasured landscapes. The illuminations include 15 Canadian wildlife displays, over 50 trees wrapped in lights in Dufferin Islands alone, the light show on the Toronto Power Generating Station and three-dimensional Angels at the Niagara Parks Police Building. Our advice is to make sure that your camera is fully charged!
Throughout the season, the Winter Festival of Lights also hosts special events such as Laser Light shows, the Niagara Icewine Festival and the Festival of the Stars.
Where to stay?
Treat yourself to a romantic suite with breath-taking views at the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa – the closest hotel to Niagara Falls themselves, or if you’ve got kids to entertain then the Great Wolf Lodge is a sure winner with fantastic facilities including a large indoor waterpark.
Be fascinated by Newfoundland’s Bonavista Biennale art festival
Bonavista Biennale art festival brings together contemporary visual works from 25 artists, both established and new, displayed in a variety of unusual non-gallery locations along the striking coastline of Newfoundland.
Mapping a 50km loop on the rugged peninsula, the festival stimulates exploration and imagination simultaneously as it offers new ways of seeing and thinking about the world. Travelling between the site clusters also brings a great opportunity to make the most of the spectacular scenery. Duntara offers a gazebo with seating, Port Union has a picnic area by the boardwalk and there are stunning vistas everywhere – perfect for an al fresco meal overlooking the beach! If you fancy a dinner out, there are fantastic restaurants located in Upper Amherst Cove, Bonavista, Elliston, Port Rexton and Trinity.
If you weren’t convinced already, from 17th August to 17th September you can count on the diversity of the festival to extend beyond the artwork exhibitions, with a whole host of speakers, workshops, films and events also available.
Where to stay?
Opt for the Gynmill Inn, a beautiful historic hotel, if you’re looking to be in close proximity to downtown Corner Brook too far from home comforts, hosting the cosy English-style pub, King Henry’s so you can get all your favourite pub classics. Corner Brook is a bustling city on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland, boasting mountains, caves, trails and historical sites for the explorers out there. A Newfoundland and Labrador holiday must is to watch the sunrise; it’s the point where the sun rises first in Canada – an unforgettable experience.
Be captivated by the Toronto International Film Festival
TIFF comes to Toronto from 7th September to 17th September, and attracts nearly half a million people annually – which is no surprise when you learn that the 2016 festival showed nearly 400 films from 83 countries!
You can be sure to find a whole range of mind-blowing films that will leave you stunned, whether you’re a fan of thrillers, history or romance. Each year, festival-goers nominate their favourite of the hundreds of films screened for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, of which Lion, The Imitation Game and La La Land have been recipients in previous years.
Where to stay?
Those who relish the buzz of cities will fall for our Eastern Explorer Holiday package, which offers all the charms of French-Canadian cities such as Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
Be inspired by The Word on the Street literary festival
For a line-up of incredible Canadian literary talent, established and emergent, look no further than The Word on the Street in September. Celebrating Canadian reading and writing, the event promises to immerse you in the literature of a culturally rich and diverse nation.
The festival celebrates the works of nearly 600 authors, workshop presenters and arts performers including the likes of Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton and Joy Fielding. What makes The Word on the Street stand out from the crowd, however, is its accessibility. With sites in Lethbridge, Toronto, Saskatoon and Halifax, the festival attracts a quarter of a million visitors from across Canada, leaving you with no excuse not to be one of them!
Where to stay?
Choose the grand chateau-style Delta Bessborough in Saskatoon and immerse yourself in its rich history, alongside the modern luxuries of an indoor pool, gym, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi.
If you’re looking to get some literary inspiration before or after the Halifax festival, you’ll find plenty with our Bay of Fundy Explorer Holiday. Our route takes you through Nova Scotia’s picturesque fishing villages and rugged coastline, to the charming Grand Manan Island and the spectacular coastal views of Cape Chignecto.
Fear not if, like us, you’ve found yourself struggling to pick just one festival. Packages such as The Canadiana Holiday will take you on a three thousand mile journey, sure to take your breath away, day after day. Travelling from East to West, you’ll watch ranchland turn to mountains and canyons to coastlines in a mesmerising tour through Canada’s natural beauties and cosmopolitan cities. As the tour covers Toronto, Niagara Falls, Saskatoon and Calgary, you’ll be able to soak up the festival spirit in each city and yet not end there – why would you, when Canada has so much else to offer?
So, whichever Canadian festivals take your fancy, Canadian Affair is here to help you keep those post-festival blues away, replacing them with an immersion in Canada’s rich cultural heritage, its creative industries and its inspiring innovations.