Pink tulips swaying in the breeze, a canopy of white fragrant cherry blossoms raining petals… spring marks the end of winter and ushers in a cheery sense of optimism. And it’s the kick-off of Canada’s festival season, plus the start of patio socializing at sidewalk cafes in places like Vancouver and Quebec City. It’s also the perfect time to tour in the less crowded shoulder season. Here’s how to celebrate the best of spring in Canada.
Meet local farmers at the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival (two hours from Halifax), a spring mainstay since 1933. If you want the full festival experience, be sure to drive through the orchards along the Bay of Fundy, join a community tea, take a tour, catch the fireworks and watch the Grand Parade, among Canada’s largest.
Celebrate the best new artists and music in jazz, rock, Francophone and indie at the Canadian Music Week Festival, the largest of its kind in the country. Choose from performances from 900 musicians from 35 countries at 40 venues across Toronto at this popular event.
Home-grown and bohemian is the vibe of up-and-comer Bass in the Bush, a refreshingly no-frills annual electronic music and art fest in “the bush” south of Porcupine Plain, about three hours east of Saskatoon by car. Friendly and small, the event’s natural setting, vendors and crowd itself are the big draws aside from the music.
Montreal loves fests. Join locals in the fun: see art at June’s MURAL Festival and sample craft brew at May’s beer fest. Watch the botanical garden release thousands of butterflies in the greenhouse, indulge at the croissant festival and revel at the four-month-long open-air dance party, Piknic Electronik in the park.
Yukoners toast winter’s end with the Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival in historical Dawson City, a six-hour drive from Whitehorse. Find a “loonie” (dollar) in a haystack, watch a snow sculpture contest, try your hand at axe tossing or lip syncing, dogsled races and fireworks, or judge chili at this spirited, and free, community event.
Spring is an idyllic, serene time to visit this West Coast city set between ocean and mountains. Either stroll the spectacular blooms at the much-loved Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival or peruse contemporary works from talented artists and leading galleries around the world — or both at the international Art Vancouver fair, showcasing new creatives and established names.
In what started as a gift from Holland to Canada for the country’s support during World War II, the Canadian Tulip Festival all across Canada’s capital region is now the world’s largest tulip celebration. See 250,000 flowers in 60 varieties at the showiest concentration in Commissioners Park downtown, plus along the Rideau Canal.