The COVID-19 pandemic has brought most people’s vacation plans for this year to a screaming halt. This is particularly the case when it comes to trips to far-off destinations and once-in-a-lifetime events. 

However, if you’re pining for a vacation and starting to think about ways you might take some time out and get a culture fix next year, a trip to Canada could be perfect. Here are some must-visit options to investigate.

Calgary Stampede

One of the biggest festivals in Canada each year is the Calgary Stampede. Held in the Alberta city, Calgary, annually in July, this is said to be the largest rodeo in the world. The organizers call it “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” as it’s a multifaceted event featuring a wide variety of activities. 

This list includes the main rodeo competition, which began back in 1912, plus a parade, art show, chuck-wagon races, agricultural contest, carnival, live entertainment, and more. The Stampede draws farmers and horse riders from across the country, plus tourists from around the world who want to experience the festival’s many exciting elements for themselves. 

Niagara Folk Arts Festival 

If you’ve always wanted to see the globe’s most iconic waterfall, book your day-long Niagara Falls tours to explore the natural phenomenon and other highlights of the region, and then put a festival on your itinerary, too. If you can, visit Niagara during May to attend the fun Niagara Folk Arts Festival while you’re in town. Running over roughly three weeks, the arts event has been held near the Canadian-American border for more than five decades. 

Vacationers at the festival get to discover how the diverse blend of people and cultures in the North American nation came to be what it is today. There is live entertainment, art shows, exhibitions, and dances to see, as well as open houses in community buildings that educate attendees about Canadian cultures. 

During the festival, which is suitable for young and old alike, you can also try out a wide variety of tasty cuisines. Most events are held in St. Catharines, a town close by to the main tourist spot of Niagara Falls. As such, you can stay in the heart of Niagara and explore everything it has to offer while also getting your festival fix. 

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Are you a music or, in particular, a jazz lover? If so, you won’t be disappointed if you arrive in Montreal in July so you can witness the city’s famous International Jazz Festival. People come from across the globe each year to attend the event, which lasts for approximately 11 days. It is, in fact, the largest jazz festival in the world, and millions of people buy tickets to it annually. 

The Montreal International Jazz Festival has operated for 40 years now and grown during that time. Today, the event boasts hundreds of concerts, most of which are free or low-cost for people to enjoy. Book in to be a part of the action next year, and you can see a variety of international and home-grown acts perform, both up-and-comers and established musicians. 

Since it began, the festival has had many famous jazz musos play, including Diana Krall and Norah Jones. The event celebrates both the traditions and art of jazz and is suitable for aficionados of the genre and people who want to learn more about it. 

Toronto International Film Festival

If film is more your passion, head to Toronto so you can be a part of the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). A roughly ten-day event that began in 1976, the annual festival attracts filmmakers from Hollywood studios and independent artists, as well as those who love watching and analyzing great movies. For those looking to do some star-spotting, this is also the place to be, as many celebrities come along. 

The film festival celebrates new productions for the big screen and is ranked up there with other key industry events such as Sundance and Cannes. Across the ten days, you can typically see more than 250 different movies screened at 20-plus theaters located around Toronto. 

Often, award-winning films are first shown at this festival since it’s one of the earliest in the season. For example, American Beauty and The Big Chill, which both went on to win Academy Awards, debuted to audiences at TIFF. Filmmakers also receive awards in a variety of categories at the Toronto festival each year, including those given out as part of Perspective Canada, for local Canadian films. 

Spending time at world-class events is always fun, and you can be guaranteed a great time at any of the above Canadian festivals. Choose one or choose them all, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.