Traditionally when we think of Canada we tend to evoke wild and majestic images; snow-capped mountain, glacier-fed lakes, the beaver in all his flat-tailed glory.  Tourism in our country is largely focused on natural beauty or cityscapes and shopping.  If you’re looking for something a bit more unconventional, check out some of the more unusual festivals our beautiful country has to offer.

Toronto’s Burlesque Festival, Toronto, Ontario

There are many reasons to love burlesque and the city of Toronto loves it so much they have put together a festival.  This year marks the 6th annual Burlesque Festival where cheeky ladies from around the globe will gather to sass the stage.  Leave your tassels at home and embrace a sexy and fun festival!  The Burlesque Festival runs from July 25th – 28th, 2013.  For more information see the Official Website.

Collingwood Elvis Festival, Collingwood, Ontario

The King is back!  But then again, it seems like he never left – not when there are so many people dressing up as him.  The Collingwood Elvis festival has been drawing tourists and locals to this small Ontario city for years to celebrate Elvis in all his glory.  Past events have included tribute artists, carnival rides, classic car parade, hosted dinners and of course the Elvis competition where impersonators of all ages are awarded prizes for their performances.  July 25th – 28th, 2013.  For more information check out the Official Website.

Squamish Days and Lumberjack Competition, Squamish, British Columbia

Few professions say “Canadian” like being a lumberjack, and while you might think that this job has gone the way of the Dodo you would be wrong.  The folks over in Squamish, British Columbia, pay homage to the lumberjack like few others with their annual celebration. Competitors from around the globe gather and compete in activities ranging from tree toppling to axe throwing.  Other competitions include the Chair Carving Contest and Bed Races.  Squamish Days is on from August 1st – 5th, 2013.  Check out the Official Website for more details.

World Poutine Eating Championships, Toronto, Ontario

Yep.  This exists. Smokes Poutinerie sponsors this mouth-watering event each year in the heart of Toronto.  “Professional Eaters” and amateurs from around the globe show up on TOs doorstep to stuff their mouths with as much poutine as their body can handle.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.  The competition takes place each year in October.  Check out the Smokes Poutinerie website for more information.

Mummers Festival, St Johns, Newfoundland

Many people don’t know what Mummering is, which is a sad when you think about how cool the tradition is.  Likely linking back to similar traditions in the United Kingdom, Mummering involves people dressing up in silly costumes and visiting people in their neighbourhood – challenging them to guess their identity.  There are a variety of cheeky games and food is shared. The annual Mummers Festival will involve workshops leading up to the parade to help you learn to Mummer, build a hobby horse and make your own ugly stick.   A great Canadian tradition, the Mummers Festival happens in St John’s, Newfoundland, each year in December.  For more information, check out the Official Website.

Ice Magic Festival, Lake Louise, Alberta

Set against the stunning Canadian iconic Lake Louise, the Ice Magic Festival is truly something worth celebrating. Each year competitors duke it out in the hotly anticipated Ice Carving Competition where international entrants go head to head on a 34 hour battle to create the finest sculpture. The sculptures are made from blocks of ice that weigh over 300 lbs each.  The next festival will be held on January 17th – 26th, 2014.  For more information, see the Official Website.

Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Quebec

Ah, Carnival.  While the folks over in Brazil might be shaking it up in their skivvies we tend to do it a bit differently in Canada – in the freezing cold.  And where better to enjoy the brisk winter air than Quebec City?  Each year thousands gather for festive fun including Dog Sled Racing, Snow Baths, Night Parades, Canoe Races and, of course, human table soccer! Say hi to Bonhomme for us.  The next Winter Carnival will be from Jan 31st – Feb 16th, 2014.  For more information, see the Official Website.

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Elmira, Ontario

Loving maple syrup is a national obligation as much as loving hockey is.  The folks in Elmira, Ontario, have been celebrating the sugary syrup for 49 years, attracting 70,000 syrup lovers each year.  Enjoy some maple toffee, test your log sawing skills and compete in the Pancake Flipping Contest! The next festival will be April 5th, 2014.  For more information, check out the Official Website.

BC Open Gold Panning Competition, Cherryville, British Columbia

Like the Lumberjack competition in Squamish, the folks over in Cherryville are also throwing back to some old school professions. Competitors from the province and abroad test their skills and see just how much gold they can muster up.  Events include gold pan tossing, after-dark metal detecting, bannock baking contest and flat-pan events.  The competition happens during the May long weekend.  Check out the Cherryville website for more information.

Chetwynd International Chainsaw Championships, Chetwynd, British Columbia

Few skills are as artistic and badass as Chainsaw Carving.  Competitors around the globe gather in Chetwynd, British Columbia, to partake in one cool competition.  Shining up their blades, competitors take giant chunks of wood and transform them into stunning sculptures.  The Festival happens each June.  Check out the Official Website for more information.

For more information on the wildest world festivals, check out our website Wicked and Weird Around the World or to take peek at our web series, see our Youtube Channel.

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