Ontario: Events guide
Niagara Icewine Festival Ontario is famous for its icewine, a special sweet wine made from grapes which have been frozen while still on the vine. The Niagara wine region comes alive around January for the festival, with gala dinners, outdoor “ice bars”, winery tours and tastings, and carriage rides along Niagara’s famously beautiful wine route.
Winterlude One of Ottowa’s biggest tourist draws is Winterlude. Hundreds of thousands flock to the capital every year to join in the fun on the Rideau Canal, which is the largest skating rink in the world and a UNESCO World heritage site. Other attractions include performances by snow and ice sculptors, live music, interactive art displays and plenty of activities for kids to enjoy.
Canada Blooms Held in Toronto, this ten-day event is the biggest indoor garden and flower show in the country. It features breath-taking flower displays and informative lectures and demonstrations by gardening experts and horticulturalists, as well as competitions that will excite and inspire garden hobbyists. Canadian Music Week With award shows, conferences, trade expos, film festivals and of course live performances, this relatively new festival has grown quickly. Expect almost a thousand live acts to choose from across 60 music venues in downtown Toronto.
Welcome the Toronto Blue Jays With the MLB season getting starting in April, this is a good time to check out the Ontario baseball favourites at the Rogers Stadium.
Held annually in Ottawa for over 60 years, the Canadian Tulip Festival continues a tradition which began with a gift of 100,000 tulips from Holland, where the tulip is the national flower. The event now features displays of over three million tulips, spread across a specially designated 15-kilometre tulip route.
Toronto Pride Week This ten-day event takes place in downtown Toronto (specifically in the Church and Wellesley Village area) to celebrate the diversity of the city’s LGBT community. With several outdoor stages, special events and specials at bars and restaurants, retails stalls on the street and live performers and DJs, it’s a proudly-pink initiative that the whole city enjoys. Canada Dance Festival This Ottawa festival sets the stage for performances by leading edge dance choreographers and dance companies, and also spreads to special events at the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Canada, as well as outdoor dance parties in parks and closed streets.
Canada Day On July 1st, Canada celebrates its independence. The place to be is the nation’s capital, Ottawa, where hundreds of thousands gather for concerts, fireworks, street markets and more. RBC Royal Bank Blues Fest Taking place in mid-July, this three-day Ottawan music festival draws from both renowned international acts and local talent. Although the name might suggest a true-blues gathering, line-ups have included the likes of Lady Gaga, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Snoop Dogg, and Journey, amongst others.
Taste of the Danforth The most eagerly anticipated culinary experience of the year takes place on the Danforth, a road that goes through Toronto’s east side and is informally known as “Greek Town”. During the event shops and restaurants open their doors, and revellers spill onto the streets, where thousands enjoy free food tasting, music and live performances. CNE – Canadian National Exhibition
Held in Toronto, this is one of Canada’s longest-running annual exhibitions. The event is a carnival and a cultural celebration all in one. Visitors can expect air shows, great food, thrilling rides, live music and theatrical performances.
TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival One of the biggest film festivals in the world, the TIFF offers a chance to catch premiers of the newest films and enjoy some star-spotting. In 2012, 372 films from 72 countries were shown across 34 screens around downtown Toronto, with over 400,000 attendees, thousands of whom were industry professionals looking to get in on the Oscar buzz. Variety Magazine described TIFF as second in the world in terms of its ability to attract high-profile films and stars, second only to Cannes.
Return of the Raptors and the Maple Leafs The Toronto basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, and their ice-hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, both launch their seasons in October. Catch both the Toronto Raptors and the Maple Leafs home games at the Air Canada Theatre. Scotiabank Nuite Blanche This art-filled all-nighter draws the Toronto creative community out into the streets for a party. Live shows on the street, dress up, exhibitions and art installations are just a few things you can expect to see walking around downtown Toronto on the ”Sleepless Night”. Another attraction is that museums and gallery spaces, which usually close at night, open their doors for special events.
Festival of Northern Lights Beginning in mid-November and running until January every year, the Festival of Northern Lights is an award-winning fireworks display that takes place annually in the North Ontario town of Owen Sound. Using over 25 kilometres of light strings, 400 lighted designs erupt over city streets and parks, making this one of the largest fireworks displays in Canada.
Toronto Christmas Market This free annual event takes place in the historic Distillery District, and captures the tradition of a European Christmas Market. You’ll enjoy handcrafted products, carollers, Christmas choirs, holiday-themed stage presentations, and of course Santa and his roaming elves feature too.