And now for something completely different. Among other things, travel to Atlantic Canada -- the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- gives you a way to dip into the cultures of Europe without leaving North America. In this part of Canada, there's a rich Irish, Scottish, French Acadian and British heritage. France and Ireland are more expensive places in the summer, but Canada is closer and can be cheaper than flying to Europe in high season and suffering through a terrible exchange rate for the Euro. In addition to an abundance of Franco-Celtic cultural heritage, the region is chockablock with fishing villages, lighthouses, the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, and literary history, as P.E.I. is the home of the fictional Anne of Green Gables.
As for getting there and where to say, each province's tourism association is listed here, but you can also investigate the resources at Bed and Breakfast Canada (www.bbcanada.com). Getting there is a bit easier than it used to be: Six international airlines offer daily service to the four provinces from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262; www.aircanada.com) recently introduced a new non-stop flight from departures within Canada; the airline now also offers a non-stop flight from New York to Halifax from New York-LaGuardia. At press time, a fare sale from New York to Halifax was about to expire and new deals had not yet posted; check the website for updates.
Nova Scotia has the royal designation of "the festival province," as it hosts some 800 of them a year. The International Gathering of the Clans (email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.igc2007.ca/index.asp), will take place this year -- a celebration that pretty much takes place from April through October in many forms -- from what can be described as an extensive family reunions to poetry readings to pipe and fiddle fests. Every four years, Nova Scotia alternates hosting duties with its elder nation sibling, Scotland. Nova Scotia is also home to the Antigonish Highland Games (tel. 902/863-4275; www.antigonishhighlandgames.com) the oldest event of its kind in North America, and it takes place July 20-22. This is the kind of event where men where kilts, and toss heavy stones, or cabers, to see who can throw the furthest. There are also contests in highland dancing, piping and drumming. The province also celebrates its French heritage at the Clare Acadian Festival (tel. 902/769-0832; www.baiesaintemarie.com/festival), July 28 through August 17, with all kinds of events including lumberjack competitions, a parade, outdoor concerts with Acadian, Cajun and bluegrass music, and other events that focus on art, film, storytelling, dance and theater. For more information, the Nova Scotia Tourism site (tel. 800/565-0000; www.novascotia.com) has links to accommodations, among other useful things.
New Brunswick boasts many residents of Irish descent, and that's feted at Canada's 24th Annual Irish Festival (tel. 506/778-8810; www.canadasirishfest.com) in Miramichi on the river, from July 20-22. The festival's schedule includes dancers, performers, children's activities, a 5K race, workshops on genealogy and music, and there are booths with crafts, gifts and other wares. Tickets are a mere C$6 per day. You can head to Fredericton July 27-29 for this province's High Land Games and Scottish Festival. If you like early music, the Lameque International Baroque Music Festival (tel. 800/320-2276; www.festivalbaroque.com) is distinguished by being the only festival in Canada that focuses on music 1600-1760. The festival takes place on Lameque Island, off the northeast coast of New Brunswick and only uses period instruments or exact replicas. Later in the summer, New Brunswick is host to the Acadian Festival (tel. 800/992-4040; www.festivalacadien.ca), in Caraquet, from August 5-15. The festival regularly draws 100,000 attendees and performances (musical, theatrical and otherwise) from about 200 artists, and ends with the Tintamarrre, or "loud racket," a noisy street party on Acadia Day. There's also plenty of activities for kids, a literary festival, exhibits from visual artists, and a blessing of the boast by local Catholic priests. Looking for a place to stay will be easier if you look at Tourism New Brunswick (tel. 800/561-0123; www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/).
Newfoundland and the more remote territory, Labrador, are home to an international choral music festival July 1-8 called Festival 500 Sharing the Voices (tel. 709/738-6013; www.festival500.com). It takes place in St. John's, and about 60 concerts are scheduled, with the theme of Celtic influence on choral music. It's a festival that attracts singers, composers, scholars and conductors from around the world, including Spain, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. You can buy tickets for individual events with prices ranging $8-$40, or a package deal for either $56 or $70. A couple weeks later St. John's Time (www.stjohnstime.ca) goes on for 11 days, July 26-August 5, and generally encompasses several smaller overlapping festivals, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, August 3-5, which celebrates traditional Newfoundland and Celtic music; the St. John's Downtown Buskers Festival August 4-6, and the St. John's Regatta on August 1. You can look for packages in St. John's right from the festival's web site, (the region is also great for whale watching, hiking and architecture) or you can go through the tourism site (tel. 800/563-NFLD; www.newfoundlandandlabradortourism.com)
Price Edward Island, comparatively speaking, is a sleepy, small island north of Nova Scotia that is best explored on bike or foot, and its known for its 30 golf courses. The Women's World Cup Cycling (tel. 902/367-3679; www.tourdepei.com), June 10-14, features a race across the Confederation Bridge, which is eight and a half miles long, and through the island's villages. It typically attracts about 100 professional cyclists from more than 15 countries, and it takes place in five stages. Other items on the calendar include the Legends of Golf, July 29 and 30 at the Links at Crowbush Crove. Mike Weir, the only Canadian to win the Masters, will compete against Vijay Singh at this charity event. Other activities include the Indian River Festival (tel. 866/856-3733; www.indianriverfestival.com), which consists of a series of concerts and workshops, July 1-August 26 at St. Mary's Church, a French Gothic building that is revered for its acoustic properties. Next year, PEI celebrates the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables, but in the meantime, you can go see Anne & Gilbert, a musical about their relationship, which is at the Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre (tel. 800/708/6505; www.anneandgilbert.com) in Summerside, running July 15 through September. You can use the island's tourism website (tel. 800.463-4PEI; www.gentleisland.com) to search for packages based on the type of experience you want to have.
For more events in the region, search Frommers.com's new events database.
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