Spotlight on Business Magazine Presents: The Top 10 Canada Day Events and Destinations

Whether it’s fireworks or frankfurters or frosty craft beers, Spotlight on Business has got your back this year. Well, that’s a little misleading, albeit lyrical. Let’s put it this way: this Canada Day, we happen to know a lot of great places from coast-to-coast to watch the awesome and inspiring creations of some of Canada’s world-class pyro-technicians, to relish in relish-topped gourmet BBQ, and to imbibe the pinnacle of locally-brewed beers and lagers. We’ve also stumbled across a whole lot of family fun! The party vibe certainly hasn’t gone away since Canada celebrated its 150th birthday last year.

10. OH CANADA! In Dawson City, Dawson City, YT

Pack your Klondike-era best and get yourself to Dawson City in Yukon Territory. The prospectors know how to party and they know how to include everyone who visits their small town nestled on the confluence of the Klondike River and Yukon River (better pack your fishing rod and gear). Multi-day events from June 28 to June 30 include the 20th Annual Yukon River Quest – a paddle race from Whitehorse to Dawson City – as well as the Canada Day Classic Golf Tourney, a pancake breakfast, an artists market, farmers market, the Frontier Ball, bike rodeo, and parade. The Canada Day Party kicks-off July 1st with a flag-raising at noon followed by a community BBQ, live music featuring Ten Souljers, free cake and watermelon, and fun and games for the whole family.

9. Canada Day ENMAX Fireworks, Calgary, AB

At 11 pm on July 1st be sure to head to the Max Bell Centre, Nose Hill Park, Tom Campbell’s Hill Park, Riverfront Avenue, or the South Bow River pathway between Third Street SW and First Street SW – just look towards the Centre Street Bridge if you’re in any of these Calgary hotspots for a world-class fireworks show! If bedtimes are a factor, this year Canada Day at Prince’s Island Park is presented by the Powwow & Indigenous Showcase from 11 am to 5 pm and will include a children’s area with arts and crafts, Metis entertainment, and airbrush tattoos.

8. Canada Day in Montreal, Old Port of Montreal, Jacques-Cartier Pier, Montreal, PQ

When the fireworks take to the sky in the Old Port at 10 pm, there will be a lot of Montrealers holding their sleeping, face-painted petit patriotes. The day at Jacques-Cartier Pier couldn’t be more fun-filled! Unity is the theme of this Canada Day celebration and it looks like this:

  • United through arts: a juggling workshop & a giant masterpiece by two Montreal tag artists
  • United through the future: participants will be invited to write their dreams on a white maple leaf and to pin it on a white wire structure
  • United through sports: a street hockey tournament and giant baby foot soccer
  • United through family: inflatable games, dancing, photobooth, picnic area
  • United through nature: airbrush tattoos, green space photos, learn to track wildlife, learn about birds, stones, and fossils
  • United through diversity: a percussion activity with various musical instruments from multiple cultures
  • United through peacekeeping: participate in an interactive virtual reality workshop, visit a tent dedicated to the Canadian Armed Forces’ peacekeeping missions

7. Canada Day at Canada Place, Vancouver, BC

This one is so big, so iconic that it spills out into the streets of Downtown Vancouver. Food trucks are everywhere, the Picnic Plaza is full of families and kid-friendly games and activities and entertainment, 60 new Canadians are sworn-in as citizens, the National Film Board of Canada hosts Canada on Screen, and daytime performances will include Kutapira, Early Spirit, En Karma, Leisure Club, and Weaves – the main stage that night will feature JoJo Mason. 

6. Toronto Ribfest, Toronto, ON

More than a dozen rib teams. A bevy of burgers, a flotilla of fries, a network of nachos. Celebrity food judging. A Kids Zone. Karaoke. A sports bar with craft beer and World Cup soccer. Live music. Did I mention more than a dozen rib teams? The Toronto Ribfest has other ways of making you feel like you made the best decision this Canada Day. The festival is run by the Etobicoke Rotary Club and is entirely non-profit. All staff members are volunteers and all proceeds go directly to charity!

5. 2018 Capital City Canada Day, Charlottetown, PE

There’s nothing like a patriot’s pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island. After all, Charlottetown is where Canada was born! The Birthplace of Confederation is hosting an event for the whole family at Victoria Park on Sunday, July 1st from noon to 10 pm. Every event is family-friendly and includes a Living Flag activity, a Family Fun Zone, giveaways, and a fireworks show hardly rivaled throughout the Maritimes. And it being a Maritime Province, the music won’t be in short supply. The Victoria Park Cultural Pavilion will play host to folk artist Irish Mythen and indie-pop band Paper Lions. 

4. Halifax-Dartmouth Presents Canada Day 2018, Halifax & Dartmouth, NS

Come for The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo but stay for the Canada Day celebrations in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Once again, the Canada Day Concert has returned to Alderney Landing in Downtown Dartmouth. This year’s lineup includes Alfie, Allan Rayman, Mo Kenney, Skratch Bastid, and T Thomason. All of your Spring Garden Road food truck regulars will be there along with a few special vendors who have some Canada Day-themed treats in store for people of all ages. The 19+ Molson Zone and Halifax Ribfest will also be back by popular demand for Canada Day weekend festivities! 

3. This party starts with a BANG! St. John’s, NL

Start the party a half hour earlier than anyone else in Canada. For Newfoundlanders, Canada Day Celebrations begin at sun-up with a ceremonial canon shot from the Signal Hill National Historic Site. This is a free event with free transportation from the Visitor Centre to the hill-top ceremony – and free birthday cupcakes upon your return! Later that afternoon, free family-friendly entertainment will be provided at King George V Park complete with bouncy castles, games, activities, face painting, balloon animals and shapes, a cultural showcase and concert with even more cupcakes! On the mainstage that evening will be live music featuring the likes of Greeley’s Reek at the Quidi Vidi Bandstand. Fireworks, weather permitting, will take place at 10 pm.

2. Regina Canada Day, Regina, SK

Nobody does a prairie-themed Canada Day like the city of Regina. On July 1st, Saskatchewan’s capital plays host to the Western Canada’s Strongest Man competition which includes events like the harness and rope truck pull, the keg toss, the car deadlift, Atlas stones, and the overhead press medley. The day also sees the highly-anticipated Plywood Cup up for grabs where teams of four build a boat with limited materials and time before one brave team member races across Wascana Lake. This year’s mainstage area includes a Molson Beer Garden and performances by Conrad Big Knife, Etienne Fletcher, Tilted Kilts, T. Jay Wrangler, Smoke Break, Big Bad Storm, and The Trews.

  1. Canada Day in the Capital, Ottawa, ON

If you’ve never spent a Canada Day weekend in the nation’s capital, I seriously recommend stopping by a Visitors Centre or, at the very least, browse for more information – and to find a complete list of events and their official websites. If you’re looking for that As Seen on TV experience, you’re eyeing the stage on Parliament Hill where the likes of the Arkells, Brigitte Boisjoli, Ruth B., Iskwe, Jean-Marc Couture, DJ Shub, The Dead South, and Martina Ortiz Luis will be serving up memories that will last a lifetime! The President’s Choice Canada Day fireworks display will undoubtedly drape the front page of every Canadian newspaper on July 2nd!

So regardless where you are on Canada Day, we hope you enjoy time with friends and family.  Take in the many attractions, food and of coarse amazing fireworks.

Happy Canada Day from our family to yours!!!!


By David MacDonald