Life

Make this the year to take in Ontario's festivals

QMI Agency writer Jim Fox.

By Jim Fox, Special to Postmedia Network

A top summer event is the Cobourg Sandcastle Festival where sculptor Sandi Stirling creates a work of sand art on the beach. (Photo by Stephen Della Casa)

A top summer event is the Cobourg Sandcastle Festival where sculptor Sandi Stirling creates a work of sand art on the beach. (Photo by Stephen Della Casa)

Across Ontario are some 3,000 festivals and events each year and from that total the top 100 are determined.

The current list of the best of the best include a select group of Festivals and Events of Distinction that “represent some of the most well-known and respected celebrations in the province.”

Submissions from members of the industry group Festivals & Events Ontario were received for consideration and judged by an independent panel.

“Festivals and events of all kinds from every corner of Ontario were represented in the submissions – from community festivals to internationally recognized events,” the Woodstock-based organization said.

The top fests include the Oshawa Peony Festival; Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft; TD Sunfest: Canada’s Premier Celebration of World Cultures, and Home County Music and Art Festival, both in London; and the Mount Forest Fireworks Festival. Others include the Cobourg Sandcastle Festival; Kingston Sheep Dog Trials; Balloonapalooza in Windsor; Supercrawl in Hamilton; Meaford Scarecrow Invasion and Family Festival; Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg and the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest.

CREAM OF THE CROP

A select group of 23 best-known events attracting both an international and domestic audience are in the Level of Distinction Awards.

The Stratford Festival, now through Oct. 18, heads the list compiled by date, followed by the Sound of Music in Burlington, from June 13 to 21; the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, June 18 to 27; and the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, June 19 to July 1. Next up are Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival from June 19 to 21; Luminato Festival, June 19 to 28; and the Pride Festival, June 21 to 28.

Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa/Gatineau on July 1; the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto, July 7 to Aug. 3; RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, July 9; and the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, July 23 to Aug. 6, also make the esteemed list. Guelph’s renowned Hillside Festival, July 24 to 26; Rogers Cup, Toronto, Aug. 8 to 16; the Havelock Country Jamboree , Aug. 13 to 16; make way for the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7.

September festival notables begin with the Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 10 to 20; London’s Western Fair, Sept. 11 to 20; and the Niagara Wine Festival in St. Catharines, from Sept. 12 to 27. Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry host this year’s International Plowing Match & Rural Expo in Ivy from Sept. 22 to 26; and then it’s time for “ein prosit (a toast to good times)” at Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, Oct. 9 to 17; and the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Nov. 14 to Jan. 11.

Upcoming fests of distinction next winter are Winterlude in Ottawa/Gatineau from Jan. 29 to Feb. 15; and Canada Blooms: The Flower and Garden Festival in Toronto, March 11 to 20.

MOVE TO THE BEAT

Song and dance help to make for a great event and the Collingwood Elvis Festival from July 23 to 26 is again among the latest top 100 events in the province. There’s also the Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival, Aug. 21 to 23, thank you very much.

The hot Salsa at Blue Mountain Festival, June 19 to 21, is a “showcase of Latin life with pulsating music and passionate dancing.”

Other top fests for tunes are the Peterborough Musicfest, June 27 to Aug. 22; Lighthouse Blues Festival, Kincardine, July 10 to 12; and the TD Kitchener Blues Festival, Aug. 6 to 9.

NEED TO KNOW

Festivals & Events Ontario has a website with details about all the festivals and publishes an annual guide (also available for downloading): festivalsandeventsontario.ca.


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