Suzy McNeil

February Festivals in Canada: Music, dining, and hockey!

Suzy McNeil

Suzie McNeil will play at the Wiarton Willie Festival this weekend. Word is, if she sees her shadow she plays “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the song that won her fame on Rockstar:INXS. (©Julia Pelish/

Story by Staff

Even though it’s still cold in most of the country, February is packed with tons of hot events throughout Canada. This month, we have winter carnivals across the land from WinterPRIDE in Whistler to the Barrie Winterfest and Festival of Ice. For those of you who would rather stay inside and keep warm there’s a Blues Festival happening in Saskatoon and WinterDine in Charlottetown. And, of course, the joyous Quebec Carnival is ongoing.

Here is’s list of all the happenings across the country for the coming month:

Festival Tips for February 2012


Festival du Voyageur
Dates: February 17-26

Western Canada’s largest winter festival celebrates Canada’s fur-trading era and combines the joie de vivre of the voyageurs with more than 300 music performances, magnificent snow sculptures, historical interpretation of the early 19th century at Fort Gibraltar, live entertainment, traditional dishes, arts and crafts, the voyageur International Sled Dog Classic, a governor’s ball, and more.

British Columbia

Dates: February 5-12

Don’t miss one of the biggest and best gay ski weeks in the world. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Whistler’s WinterPRIDE. Whether you’re a novice at snow sports, an aspiring culinary artist, a wine enthusiast, a spa queen, a health and wellness fan, a social butterfly, hot-tub bear, or just someone looking for a good time, we guarantee that there will be something for everyone to do during the week-long festivities.

Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival
Dates: February 2-12

The mission of the Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival is to expose youth and adults to a broad range of cultural, artistic and philosophical ideas and lifestyles through the presentation of film, video, and new media in order to stimulate critical analysis and inspire an interest in using the medium as a creative tool.


EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Quebec Winter Carnival – Carnaval de Quebec
Quebec City
Dates: Until February 12

The largest winter carnival in the world has loads of family fun and plenty of nightlife too. In its 58th year, the Carnival is only getting bigger and better as Bonhomme and crew bring a merry atmosphere to the Plains of Abraham, site of the festivities.

EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Nuit Blanche
Dates: February 16-26

Montréal en Lumière is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, an annual celebration drawing hundreds of thousands of fans to experience the joy of winter through a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor family activities, and a full night of exquisitely original discoveries.


Barrie Winterfest and Festival of Ice
Dates: February 4-5

Named one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario, Winterfest is a great way to celebrate the season with family-friendly adventures.

EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Wiarton Willie Festival
Dates: February 1-5

Willie is an albino groundhog that resides in Wiarton, Ontario. On February 2, he comes out to make his annual prediction of the spring weather, and local residents rejoice, one way or the other. This year, Canadian singer Suzie McNeil will be on hand to provide additional entertainment.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Winterlude Ottawa
Dates: February 3-20

Three fun-filled weekends of excitement and activity await in the nation’s capital. From glittering ice carvings and majestic snow sculptures to a gigantic snow playground and explosive shows under the sky, Winterlude is a great way to celebrate and enjoy the season. Also, experience the Rideau Canal — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest skating rink.

New Brunswick

EDITORS’ PICK!!!  World Pond Hockey Championships
Roulston Lake (Plaster Rock Tourist Park)
Dates:  February 9-12

From humble beginnings in 2002, when only 40 teams in close proximity of each other competed, the event has grown to 120 teams from around the world. Aside from the hundreds of hockey enthusiasts that travel to Plaster Rock each February to compete, the event attracts thousands of spectators and media.

Corner Brook Winter Carnival
Corner Brook
Dates: February 17-26

The Corner Brook Winter Carnival is an annual community festival dedicated to the celebration of winter, fostering of community spirit and pride, and encouragement of economic development and tourism. Opportunities are provided for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy unique experiences in sports, recreation, entertainment and culture within a “snowfunland” theme.

Dates: February 4-5

New Brunswick’s greatest winter celebration takes place in the province’s Capital Region. Winterfesthiver is a fun-filled weekend featuring an amazing playground of snow and dazzling sculptures.


Jack Frost Children’s WinterFest
Dates: February 10-12

Jack Frost Children’s WinterFest is partnering with Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada 2012 to provide lots and lots of hockey-related activities on site.

Winterdine – A Toast to Winter
Dates: February 2-4

Downtown Charlottetown Inc. has organized Winterdine, a food festival that is a great time to plan a social event, meet up with some friends for a fabulous meal or plan a romantic dinner — and all at an exceptional value.


Saskatoon Blues Festival
Dates: February 23-26

The 10th Annual Saskatoon Blues Festival celebrates a decade of blues with an exciting lineup of artists, including Coco Montoya, performing around the city.

Prince Albert Winter Festival
Prince Albert
Date: February 14

A great opportunity to have fun with the whole family.


EDITORS’ PICK!!! Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race
Fairbanks Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territories
Dates: Join the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race starting February 4 in Fairbanks, Alaska, and finishing 10-14 days later in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories.

The Yukon Quest has been run every year since 1984 over the 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) of rough, sometimes hazardous terrain. The Yukon Quest Race Start alternates annually between the host cities, so this year it starts in Alaska and winds up in the capital of the Yukon.


Mount Pearl Frosty Festival
Mount Pearl
Dates: February 3-11

The Frosty Festival has been a fixture in the City of Mount Pearl for more than 29 years. It began in 1983 as a volunteer-driven initiative that was supported by a group of community organizations. Now, as it enters its 30th year, the Frosty Festival has grown into the largest winter event of its kind in the region.

Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

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