For Canadians, the 3rd weekend in May, or the “May Long” (weekend is implied), is the unofficial start to summer. While technically this is the Victoria Day weekend — named in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday — most Canadians are feeling victorious for surviving yet another cold northern winter. This is a nation where we break out the shorts at the first thaw; so, we’re pretty pleased to kick off the season with a weekend at the cottage or in our backyards with a barbecue. For tourists, here are 5 classic things to do in Canada this summer:
1. Bard on the Beach, Vancouver (June 11 – Sept. 20)
This city’s true love of theatre runs deep with the 25th anniversary of this renowned theatre event. This year, A Midsummer’s Night Dream kicks it off, and runs Tuesdays to Sundays from June 11 to September 20, on the BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park.
2. The Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal (June 26 – July 6)
Jazz your summer up during the 35th annual, world-famous Montreal International Jazz Festival. The festival plays host to dozens of live music concerts featuring music legends like B.B. King and Aretha Franklin.
3. Canada Day, Ottawa (July 1)
From the fireworks to the open-air concert, to the feeling of “Oh, Canada,” this is the place to be on July 1. Canadians feel more Canadian and visitors get a sense of what we’re all about. Get there early to wander over to the Byward Market and to taste a true Canadian delight — the Beaver Tail.
4. Calgary Stampede, Calgary (July 4 -13)
Billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth,” the Stampede brings out the cowboy or cowgirl in every Calgarian and visitor to the city. Feel at home with your boots, hat and stitched shirts, and don’t miss out on the pancake breakfasts and beer at 9 am.
5. Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), Toronto (Aug. 14 – Sept. 1)
Billed as the “Grand Old Lady of the Waterfront,” “The Ex” marks the end of the summer, running August 14 to September 1 — the day before the kids go back school. But not before they ride the Midway and test their stomachs after sampling the ubiquitous deep fried delights at various vendors.
– By Kathy Buckworth
Kathy Buckworth is an award winning writer and author of six books including, “I Am So The Boss Of You,” which has just been optioned by Warner Bros. Follow Kathy @KathyBuckworth on Twitter and visit www.kathybuckworth.com