Canadians love a festival, and not even the chill of winter will keep them from celebrating. The Canadian festival calendar is jammed with events celebrating ethnic cultures, food and wine, historical events and characters, the arts, rodeos, music and theater, even salmon and whales. Following is a seasonal list of festival highlights from British Columbia and Alberta.
Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet (www.skilarchhills.ca), January, held in Salmon Arm, is one of Canada's largest cross-country ski races.
TELUS Winter Classic (www.whistlerblackcomb.com), January, brings the world's top skiers and snowboarders, and lots of youthful energy, to Whistler.
Pacific Rim Whale Festival (tel. 250/726-4641; www.pacificrimwhalefestival.org), March, celebrates the yearly return of up to 20,000 gray whales to the waters off Tofino and Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Calgary Stampede (tel. 800/661-1767; www.calgarystampede.com), July, the world's largest and richest rodeo, and Calgary's opportunity to celebrate its cowboy past.
Banff Summer Arts Festival (tel. 800/413-8368; www.banffcentre.ca), July and August, a celebration of classical and jazz music in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Vancouver Folk Festival (tel. 604/602-9798; www.thefestival.bc.ca), July, one of North America's top folk music events, Vancouver's festival brings Summer of Love musical stylings to a gorgeous bayside park.
Marine Festival (www.bathtubbing.com), in Nanaimo, in late July, is highlighted by the World Championship Bathtub Race, in which unusual watercraft (originally claw-foot bathtubs) motor from Nanaimo to Vancouver.
HSBC Celebration of Light (www.celebration-of-light.com), late July and early August, is a fireworks competition culminating with a huge pyrotechnical display accompanied by live music, all at Vancouver's English Bay Beach.
Edmonton International Fringe Festival (www.fringetheatreadventures.ca), August, is the world's second-largest fringe theater festival (after Edinburgh), offering over 1,000 performances in the Old Strathcona neighborhood.
Okanagan Wine Festival (tel. 250/861-6654; www.thewinefestivals.com), October, celebrates B.C.'s Okanagan Valley's fall harvest with wine tastings, winery open houses, and dining events.
Great Canadian Beer Festival (www.gcbf.com), November, brings the country's top brewers to Victoria.
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.