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summer fun

Calgary Ultimate Summer Festival Guide


Are you all about the tunes? Focused on food? Looking for new experiences? Calgary’s summer festivals have it all!

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary


From July 26-29, over 70 folk music artists from 14 countries perform, including Neko Case, Rhye, Stars, Lee Ann Womack and Clinton St. John. Many performers participate in collaborative sessions, improvising and riffing music never heard before or again.

Not in the mood for sunny skies? From July 27 – 29, head underground to Terminus, a festival specializing in dark electronic, synth and industrial music. Performers are coming from all over the world, among them TR/ST, Mesh, Leaether Strip, iVardensphere, Boy Harsher and Die Scum Inc.

From July 30-August 5, enjoy non-stop music including nightly dance parties — world-class blues music reigns supreme at this fest, featuring artists such as Dawn Tyler Watson, Popa Chubby and BB King’s Blues Band.

From August 4-5, Martin Garrix and DJ Snake are headlining at this year’s Chasing Summer, western Canada’s biggest EDM festival, and they’ll be joined by many more. The festival is 18+ due to a site-wide alcohol license.

Ready the bandanas and cowboy hats for this country music bonanza from August 17-19. This huge outdoor festival features headliners Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Eric Church and other big names.

Photo: courtesy Taste of Calgary


From August 3-11, expect the unexpected at this uncensored, non-juried theatre festival. See more than 160 performances over nine days — performing artists receive 100 per cent of the ticket revenue. Located in Inglewood, all theatres are within walking distance of each other.

There are activities for all ages at this warm-weather fest on August 4, from bouncy castles to summer patios to street performers to a Show and Shine, as well as more than 200 vendors. Take the opportunity to check out some of Calgary’s hottest boutiques and eateries.

Discover the global cuisines of Calgary from Cajun to Indian from August 9-12, with dozens of eateries selling samples of their most mouth-watering food and drinks. There’s also a music stage and a foodies stage with cooking demos.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll on August 12 at this free, New Orleans-themed street festival featuring cultural performers, dance and music, and outdoor activities. This family-friendly fest has a kids area, unique shopping and lots of tasty food.

The skies are set ablaze with a jaw-dropping, five-night international fireworks competition reflected in the placid water of Elliston Lake. On the ground, enjoy food vendors, a night market, live performances and cultural heritage pavilions. From August 16-25.

Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary


Take in the culture, cuisine, music and folklore of Mexico at Mexifest from July 6-7. The entertainment will include authentic luchadores from Mexico City, a 12-piece mariachi band called Mariachi Internacional Sol Azteca and more.

Latin American culture is at the centre of this free, multicultural arts and entertainment festival from July 20-22, featuring plenty of music and dance, brightly coloured costumes, food and shopping vendors and more.

An omatsuri is a traditional Japanese festival, and Calgary’s version on August 11 features traditional music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts, food and sake tasting.

Dragon boat racing is an ancient tradition that encourages comradery, teamwork and inspiration. With more than 4,000 spectators and 1,850 competitors, the dragon boat race is a can’t-miss spectacle combined with cultural entertainment, food and activities. From August 11-12.

Arriba! Presented by the Hispanic Arts Society, this outdoor festival on Prince’s Island Park from August 17-19 features world-class music, dancing, a food fair, a beer garden and an arts market.

The festival kicks off with a spectacular parade that pays homage to the splendour of Caribbean masquerade, followed by a whirlwind of music, dance, food and crafts celebrating the culture and diaspora of the Caribbean. On August 25.

7 STEPS to a Sensational Summer

Summertime was built for family fun, and there are few places better to indulge those passions than here in Greater Victoria!

Buskers Festival

Victoria International Buskers Festival
1. Fab Family-Friendly Festivals

Festival season is in full swing, meaning there’s no shortage of special events to keep families busy this summer. Art lovers will want to visit the Art Gallery Paint-In, July 19,  the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s annual outdoor summer art festival, while for music fans, it doesn’t get any better than the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, taking over the Inner Harbour August 3 to perform a full concert from a barge anchored in front of the Causeway. Highlights include Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons, bell ringing and fireworks. Make it a full-day event and enjoy the pre-concert entertainment.

July 18 to 27 brings the excitement of the Victoria International Buskers Festival to a variety of downtown locations while the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat Festival fills the Inner Harbour August 15 to 17 with colourful boats, hundreds of paddlers and many more supporters. Head to the harbour for a weekend full of exhilarating races and cultural entertainment for the whole family!

Other options include July’s SkaFest, August’s Fringe Fest and the Vancouver Island Blues Bash. Now there’s a summer festival line-up!

 2.Canada Day

Happy Canada Day, July 1! Celebrate downtown around the Inner Harbour – including fireworks to finish the festivities – on the West Shore at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, and in Sidney where Canada’s birthday rounds out the annual Sidney Days celebrations.


 3. In the Market for Fun

The fertile South Island is home to many farms growing a multitude of products. Many of these can be found at the local farmers’ markets, along with kids’ activities, entertainment, crafts and more. Check out the James Bay Community Market, Saturdays from 9am to 3pm at the corner of Menzies and Superior streets, Moss Street Market, Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at Moss and Fairfield streets, the Peninsula Country Market, Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at the Saanich Fairgrounds, and the Sidney Summer Night Market, Thursdays from 5 to 8pm along Beacon Avenue.

 4.Outdoor Adventure & Whale watching

Discover some of the wonders of the West Coast during an exhilarating whale watching trip with the local experts, Prince of Whales. Whether a thrilling zodiac ride or a trip aboard the Ocean Magic, there’s no better way to discover the majestic creatures making their home in local waters.

Prefer dry land? Take to the trees – Vancouver Island-style with AdrenaLine – boasting eight ziplines that will send you soaring through the towering trees of Victoria’s wild west coast – and WildPlay Adventure Park in the West Shore, with fun and challenging adventure courses through the trees.

Feature 1-Vikings 2

Vikings exhibit at the Royal BC Museum

 5. Creature comforts

Experience some of nature’s most beautiful creatures up close at the Saanich Peninsula’s Butterfly Gardens or enjoy a hands-on experience at another local favourite, the Children’s Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill Park.

Nearby, the Bug Zoo is a hit for kids (and adults) of all ages. Discover amazing insects from around the world, including live giant walking sticks, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and hairy tarantulas. Don’t forget your camera!

 6.Indoor Escapes

With its fascinating First Nations exhibits, Natural History Gallery, and wonderful modern history displays, the Royal BC Museum is a must-see attraction  for all ages. Of special interest this summer  is the Vikings exhibit, not to mention a full line-up of films at the National Geographic IMAX Theatre, also on-site. Just outside the Fairmont Empress Hotel sits a Victoria institution, Miniature World, with more than 80 scenes from history and literature whose detail and realism are a favourite with kids. New this year, the attraction has added a brand new exhibit depicting the tales of King Arthur and Camelot.

Just a short walk from the Inner Harbour in Bastion Square is the Maritime Museum of BC. Climb the life-size crowsnest, keep an eye out for pirates and explorers, trace the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and BC Ferries and  visit the restored Vice-Admiralty Courtroom where Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, “the hanging judge,” once presided.


 7. Just Chill

Cool off with an ice cream! After a busy afternoon at the park, museum or sightseeing, stop by the Beacon Drive-in, a Victoria landmark with some of the tastiest soft-serve in town.


Assiniboine Park Zoo Named Best Summer Attraction 2012 by Where Winnipeg

Each summer, regional Where editors announce their picks for Canada’s Best New Summer Attractions.

Assiniboine Park Zoo has completed two new attractions as part of a $120 million expansion plan to be completed in 2014 with a state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit, Journey to Churchill. This year’s makeover phase actualized a South American tropical house of lush, jungle vegetation showcasing species such as Caiman crocodiles, a 2,000-square-foot enclosed butterfly garden with more than 700 winged creatures, a live-action birds-of-flight show, and an educational International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

“Assiniboine Park Zoo is one of Winnipeg’s most extraordinary places, and has been an integral part of our urban life for decades. Many lasting memories have been formed while kids of all ages have discovered its magic. This makeover will attract people from all over the province and beyond, and keeps this family attraction a great reason to visit Winnipeg,” says Where Winnipeg publisher Laurie Hughes.

“The changes underway are going to transform the Assiniboine Park Zoo into a world-class attraction that  all Manitobans can be proud of,” said Margaret Redmond, President & CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “We are thrilled that the community is enjoying the new additions so far and I can assure you this is just the beginning.”