As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of the countrys confederation, visitors are welcome to join in the festivities all year – but 1st July marks a special day for all Canadians. Its not just Canadas capital, Ottawa, or its largest city, Toronto, that will be celebrating the celebrations are country-wide. No matter which city you choose to spend Canada Day in, it is certain there will be a celebratory atmosphere and an extravaganza nearby. Streets will be full of entertainment, authentic delicacies and musical talent, and of course, spectacular firework displays. So, if youre visiting for Canada Day, here are three alternative cities where you can join in celebrating this countrys unique cultural heritage and beauty.
Located in the Canadian province of Alberta, east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary has so much to offer this Canada Day. On your door step is Riverfront Avenue; wander through the food vendors and displays leading you to the iconic Fort Calgary, where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. Wake up in one of the Premiere Suites Riverfront Pointe apartments, with views stretching out over the busy Business District and unforgettable Bow River. Here is where the entertainment begins for all the family. Spoilt for location, youre right next to Downtown Calgary and the East Village which will host festivities from dawn till dusk.
If you want to continue your stay, starting from 7th July the city hosts the Calgary Stampede. This not-for-profit event celebrates Western heritage and culture, and attracts 1.2 million visitors to the city each year. Its packed with shows, music, attractions and cultural Western events that cant be missed.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the streets, you can transport yourself back a hundred years at the Millarville Races, as Calgarys horses take to the track. Take a stroll to the beer garden or relax in the VIP tent with a cocktail and be sure to dress up in your best cowboy gear.
As the day comes to an end, the celebrations are still getting started. Enjoy a glass of champagne on the hotel balcony, taking in the fireworks while listening to the music of Canadas own Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. Make a reservation at one of Canadas top restaurants, The River Caf, which serves local specialties such as Alberta bison and wild boar on the banks of the river. You can even take away one of the chefs bespoke seasonal picnics to Princes Island Park to enjoy while you gaze up at the fireworks.
The capital of Alberta province, Edmonton sits north of the Saskatchewan River. Embrace the history of the city and stay in the iconic chateau on the river, the charming Fairmont Hotel MacDonald. You can explore the hotels stunning gardens or nestle into a leather chair with a scotch and taste the limited edition Birthday menu.
Grab a croissant at the quaint Duchess Bake Shop and wander to the City Hall which will be featuring performances throughout the day praising Canadas diverse culture.
For sports lovers, visit the Commonwealth Stadium to enjoy Canadas beloved ice hockey and cheer on the Edmonton Eskimos as they host the Montreal Alouettes on Friday 30th June. Daily performances from 23rd June to 2nd July showcase the sounds of the city at The Edmonton International Jazz Festival. Hosting intimate club shows and cabaret performances with everything from Afro-Cuban to R&B, its an event that everyone is sure to enjoy.
To end the day, dine at Daniel Corses indulgent Italian-inspired restaurants, Bar Bricco or Corso 22 followed by a stroll to watch the closing fireworks display. To get the best view in the city, head to the Alberta Legislature Grounds near Centennial Fame.
Its impossible not to fall for the charm of Montreals mix of cultural communities. Located at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, Montreal offers an unforgettable experience. This year marks the 375th birthday of Montreal with the celebrations continuing for the duration of the year, acknowledging the citys French founders and the Native inhabitants of the area. The island will attract people from all over the world to join the festivities on a historic day in a unique city. Stay in the heart of Montreal to be immersed in the French-colonial past, at the luxury La Maison Pierre du Calvet, just a few steps from the Vieux-Port.
Take a walk alongside the Canada Day Parade honouring the citys heritage and find yourself at the Old Port – aside from enjoying the performances and testing giant cakes, you can hit the beach. Wander to the Clock Tower beach and take a relaxing stop to enjoy the incredible harbour views.
Celebrate the French-Canadian culture and visit Toqu where you can enjoy champagne, fine wines and fresh seafood offered by the renowned chef, Normand Laprise. In the evening, you can find music playing at Village Au Pied-Du-Courant, Montreals boardwalk, where youll also find yourself in the best spot to see the fireworks.
Become an honorary Canadian for the month and explore the treasures of Canadas wonderful cities. If you still cant pick one, jet set between them all. You wont be late to the party, so put the date in the diary and pack your suitcase. This is set to be a summer getaway like no other!
Kathryn Munro is Managing Director at Canadian Affair.
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