Canada has a long and diverse summer festival season, but what happens in the winter? Wherever you are located, you probably live within driving distance of a couple of dozen festivals and events which would result in a warmer season. Now that the colder months and Red Bull Winter Edition have landed, let us guide you through these compulsory events below.
January 17-February 2, 2019
Quite possibly the world’s coldest music festival, Igloofest is back this season because of its 13th edition in Montréal, Quebec. Around three weekends and nine days of programming, this year’s full lineup includes sets from renowned globetrotting DJ Diplo and revered electronic producer Four Tet, which are certain to package the outside dance floor with warmth.
January 17-27, 2019
Picturesque Banff adopts the colder months with SnowDays, a ten day festival packed with winter activities, from ice carving competitions to sleigh rides. The party kicks off Banff Avenue with a huge block party, which enlists ice climbing and bonfires on the schedule. The event is among the first of its type to take over the area, dating back to the 1900s. If you can not beat’em, combine’em!
Big Winter Classic
January 24-27, 2019
BIG Winter Classic is much more than an event. A party of Calgary’s thriving music scene, the four day music festival pits together pockets of the community creative community to provide shared cultural experiences in the realms of art and music. BIG Winter Classic’s 2019 version includes over 75 acts on the bill, such as The Courtneys, Yonatan Gat, The Coathangers and more.
Wavelength Winter Music Festival
There is no better place to find your new favorite band than in a Wavelength showcase. In February, the yearly Toronto music show takes over town with three nights of the finest in independent music in the North American underground. Attendees can also except an array of visual art installations and immersive projections. Stay tuned for the entire lineup — last year’s edition included sets from Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning and local digital trio Odonis Odonis.
February 1 to 18, 2019
Winterlude, a festival celebrating the intersection of colder months and its creative potential, invites attendees to test out ice sculptures and snow playgrounds enclosing town’s famed Rideau Canal — that also plays home to the world’s biggest ice rink. The first three weekends of February in Ottawa are certain to be eventful!
Carnaval de Québec
Québec City, Quebec
February 8-17, 2019
Québec City’s prestigious Carnaval de Québec is back for the 65th year. Participate in two Saturday night parades over Grande Allée! If you are feeling adventuresome, fall into the iconic annual canoe race, which will see near 60 teams square off across the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River, competing in one of four groups: Elite Men’s, Elite Women’s, Competitive and Sports. Be watching for the entire program announcement in the upcoming weeks!
Festival de Voyageur
February 15-24, 2019
Winnipeg’s biggest event of the season, Festival de Voyageur, isn’t one to miss. The gigantic nine day event gathers the whole town in the Saint Boniface neighbourhood, offering a wide assortment of activities. The huge selection of activities brings you to a choose-your-own-adventure crossroads: embrace your inner lumberjack with the beard growing competition and wood carving challenge or research your winter loving side with the yearly International Snow Sculpting Symposium.
Montréal en Lumière
February 21st-March 3rd, 2019
A party of gastronomy as well as the arts, Montréal en Lumière is coming back this year because of its trademark 20th edition. Enjoy immersive light installations in key downtown locations and on select building façades, or test free activities like curling and ziplining. A highlight from 2018’s edition is an ice slide measuring 110 metres long that ran through the town’s Quartier des Spectacles district. 2019’s festival will come to a close with the town’s Nuit Blanche blowout on March 2nd, which is set to feature protracted club nights and unique musical performances scattered throughout the town at all hours of the night.
Monthly from November to April, beginning November 16th, 2018
An institution in Toronto’s DIY art landscape, Long Winter makes its prodigal coming this season, and we could be sure the programming will not be short of electrifying. A series that runs exclusively through winter, the events provide components of music, spoken word and visual art in a multi-room design, offering a choose-your-own experience experience for anybody who is feeling daring. Kick off the show on November 16th in Tranzac, with performances from Perfect Health, WLMRT, Hezi, Chippy Nonstop, Harrison, Nice Going and much more.
Red Bull Sledhammers
Ski La Réserve, Quebec
April 6, 2019
Red Bull is set to bring the roar of snowmobile motors back to the slopes of Ski La Réserve this spring for the next running Red Bull Sledhammers, a one of a kind head-to-head mountain cross event. The race will follow a conventional knockout format with cyclists ascending two interwoven paths in a pursuit of reaching the top first. The all-new Red Bull Sledhammers hill will see over 10 attributes for riders to navigate as they climb over 100m vertically to the end line. As was the case in the inaugural running of Red Bull Sledhammers, the attributes include a never-before paired combination of banked turns, a bridge, gap jumps, transfers and rollers. Competition registration for the amateur category as well as the all-new pro class will start in early 2019.