Activities

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the country

From the east coast to the west, we've found awesome Canada Day festivals and celebrations that the whole family can enjoy—without breaking the bank.

By Jody Robbins

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the country

Top Canada Day celebrations for families

Celebrate Canada

It's nearly time to break out the flags and perfect your face-painting skills for Canada's 147th birthday! Canada Day is one wallet-friendly holiday the whole family can easily celebrate without having to travel long distances.

Read on to discover our favourite festive Canada Day events from coast to coast this year.

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Stephen Harris

Victoria, B.C.

Canada’s city of gardens offers awesome activities around the Inner Harbour, including live music on two stages, local food trucks and a fantastic fireworks display to cap off the evening. Anyone can take part in the living flag outside the Legislative Building or suss out A Flavour of Canada, an international food village brimming with family-friendly activities.

Get more information here: Victoria Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Tourism Victoria/Robert Gubiani

Vancouver, B.C.

Families have two fun options in this coastal city. The waterfront party at Canada Place brings together a 50 vendor market, lumberjack show, music and dance performances all day long.

Alternatively, hop aboard an Aquabus or False Creek Ferry to Granville Island and take in a colourful parade, chat up roving characters and cool off in the splash park. Don't forget to pack bathing suits!

Get more information here: Canada Day at Canada Place and Canada Day at Granville Island>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Port Metro Vancouver

Osoyoos, B.C.

Surrounded by lush orchards, vineyards and Canada's warmest freshwater lake, Osoyoos is the ultimate summer destination—especially on July 1. Cherry Fiesta, Osoyoos' annual Canada Day celebration, features a pancake breakfast, parade and the largest Canada Day fireworks display in Western Canada. But the biggest draw (for those not doing laundry, at least) is the Cherry Pit Spit and Cherry Pie Eating Contest.

Get more information here: Cherry Fiesta>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Destination Osoyoos

Banff, AB

You'd be hard pressed to find a more majestic setting for Canada Day than Banff National Park. The quaint town of Banff boasts an impressive parade, artisan market and food booths in Central Park.

This year expect to see an expanded Family Fun Zone tricked out with old-fashioned games, bouncy castles and crafts galore!

Get more information here: Banff Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Town of Banff

Calgary, AB

Families are getting reading to flock to Fort Calgary for a Canada Day pancake breakfast, pony rides and petting zoo. As a special treat, the Strathcona Mounted Troop Musical Ride will make an appearance along with the YYC Food Trucks.

A free Canada Day shuttle takes you to all the downtown events, so you can hop from Fort Calgary to Chinatown to the East Village street fair, where another family-friendly fun zone will tempt tots and teens with fun activities.

Get more information here: Calgary Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Fort Calgary

Regina, SK

Wascana Centre, one of North America's largest urban parks, is where you want to be come July 1. A 21-round gun salute gets the festivities going with a bang, followed by inflatable games and a musical stage for children. Don't miss the Plywood Cup, where teams build then race plywood boats on Wascana Lake.

Get more information here: Regina Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto credit: Jennifer Nelson

Winnipeg, MB

On Canada Day, Winnipeggers don their best red and white duds and head to The Forks for crafts, entertainment and buskers in this historic setting. Over 5,000 folks will form a living Canadian flag and free performances by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra lend a touch of culture to the festivities.  

Get more information here: Canada Day at The Forks>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Ron Gilfillan

Ottawa, ON

Add Canada Day in Ottawa to your family's bucket list. This massive celebration boasts three party areas across the capital. For families, events at Major's Hill Park are geared towards youth while Jacques-Cartier Park is focused on children aged 3 to 12, with interactive games, a massive sandbox and birds of prey demonstrations throughout the day.

Bonus: Families who ride their bikes in get free valet bicycle parking at both Major's Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park.

Get more information here: Canada Day in the Capital>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Ottawa Tourism

Montreal, QC

Flag-waving fun is ready to be had at the Quays of Old Montreal, where bombastic beats will be belted out by a brass ban, along with a 21-gun salute. Layer on a parade, an inflatable games park plus street performers, and you've got an action-packed day along the Saint Lawrence River.

Should you need a break from all this patriotism, the Montreal Jazz Festival's 35th anniversary is in full swing on Canada Day, providing a pleasant tempo change with their family-friendly activities.

Get more information here: Canada Day Montreal>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Canada Day Montreal

Saint John, N.B.

Canada's oldest incorporated city takes Canada Day so seriously, they start the celebrations June 20 and don't stop until Canada Day itself ends. During Canada Day Week, you'll find live entertainment on Market Square boardwalk and free admission to the New Brunswick Museum plus wagon rides and face-painting in Rockwood Park.

On the big day itself, you can't miss the big parade nor the children's activities set up in several locations throughout Uptown. 

Get more information here: St. John Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: Discover Saint John

Halifax, N.S.

Home of the oldest legislative in Canada, Halifax has a myriad free family activities within walking distance of downtown. There will be several pancake breakfasts, a cool tattoo parade and fireworks over the Halifax Harbour.

A great pick for young families is Maple Lodge Farms Family Fun-Fest on the Halifax Commons, where wee ones can dive into an obstacle course and complimentary birthday cake (while it lasts).

Get more information here: Halifax Canada Day>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the country Photo: Steve Kaiser

Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The Charlottetown waterfront at Confederation Landing turns into a celebration zone from July 1 to Sept. 7 during the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference. A children's area with interactive stations can be found at the Charlottetown Event Grounds, and music lovers won't want to miss Concert for Canada with free performances by the Barenaked Ladies, George Canyon and DRUM!.
 
Get more information here: PEI 2014>

12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: John Sylvester

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12 fun Canada Day festivals across the countryPhoto: iStockphoto

This article was originally published on Jun 25, 2014
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