March Festivals: Snow forts and whales!

The Snowking Fesitival is held every year in Yellowknife

Clowning around in the castle at the Snowking Winter Festival in Yellowknife. (Brent Reaney/Snowking Festival)

Story by Staff

March is generally the month we associate with the word “break” so most people would expect things to slow down.

But there are unique festivals happening across the country. This month, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival takes place at Tofino and Ucluelet, and the Snowking Winter Festival is kicking off in Yellowknife. Canadian Music Week is a chance for us to groove to good tunes in Toronto, and our nation’s capital is giving everyone an opportunity to discover their “green” side at the Ottawa Irish Festival.

Here is’s list of the top festivals happening across the country during the coming month:

Festival Tips for March 2012

British Columbia

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Pacific Rim Whale Festival
Tofino and Ucluelet
Dates: 17-25

The official kickoff to the beginning of the whale-watching season takes place on the rocky shores of Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.  Witness the annual migration of more than 20,000 Gray Whales on their 13,000-kilometre journey from the waters of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to the Bering Sea — the longest migration of any mammal.

The Kamloops Cowboy Festival
Dates: 8-11

One of the biggest festivals of its kind in North America! Tasty food, dinner theatre, and live music from a wide variety of artists. Cool workshops also, such as “Writing Cowboy Songs”  and “Yodeling don’t have to hurt.”

Vancouver International Dance Festival
Dates: 2-11
Prepare to be blown away by the inspirational art of culturally diverse contemporary dance. Enjoy the creative talents of dancers from Vancouver, San Francisco, Montreal, Tokyo, and Toronto. Festival includes performances by Jay Hirabayashi, Natsu Nakajima and Lucie Grégoire and Yoshito Ohno from Montreal and Tokyo.


Freeze Frame International Film Festival for Kids of All Ages
Dates: 4-11
Freeze Frame is Manitoba’s Media Arts Centre for Young People. Every year they present an award-winning collection of films made for children and young people from all over the world. These are films that your whole family will enjoy.

Brandon Jazz Festival
Dates: 15-17

If you love jazz, then Brandon is the place to be this month. Originating in 1983, the Brandon Jazz Festival is an annual non-competitive event held on the campus of Brandon University. A good opportunity for you to listen to great artists, like the Brandon University Jazz Ensemble, with special guest  Greg Gisber.

Northwest Territories

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Snowking Winter Festival
Dates: Until the 31st

The Snow Castle is open everyday for visitors from 12-5 pm, with various weekend and evening events. We can all remember building a fort in the snow as children, but if you want to see the daddy of all snow castles, this event is for you!


EDITORS’ PICK!!! Canadian Music Week
Dates: 21-25

Love music? Watch Toronto come alive during Canadian Music Week, a chance to listen to some of the coolest bands and vocalists from Canada and around the world. Performances by Hilltop Hoods, I Mother Earth, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Treble Charger and Slash.

Ottawa Irish Festival
Dates: 8-17

A week-long annual celebration of all things Irish in Ottawa! Enjoy the very best Irish music, poetry, history, song, dance, theatre, language, and sport. And, of course, there’s the annual Ottawa St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival
Bronte Creek
Dates: Every weekend in March

Enjoy guided tours and costumed interpreters who will demonstrate how to make maple syrup and sugar. View artifacts in the maple museum or tour the 100-year-old Spruce Lane Farmhouse. Wonderful event everyone will love.

Bronte isn’t the only event being put on by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers association. For a full list, click here.

Food and Drink Fest
Dates: 23-25

Enjoy a variety of local and international wines and culinary treats created by some of the most popular restaurants, breweries and wineries in the region. Live entertainment and cooking demonstrations.


International Festival of Films on Art
Dates: 15-25

This Montreal-held competitive festival features productions from around the globe. It’s the most important annual event of its kind in the world. FIFA has become a mecca for artists and artisans from the art and film communities, as well as for art and cinema enthusiasts. Several networking forums, seminars, presentations, and workshops are offered to professionals.

Roberval Winter Festival
Dates: 2-4 and 9-11

If you love winter machines and feel the need for speed, you’ll love the  ATV and snowmobiling races. Competitions are held on regional, national and international levels. Activities for big kids and small!

Festival Beauceron de l’Érable
Dates: 18-25

Bring your sweet tooth to the Festival Beauceron de l’Érable and enjoy all things maple syrup. This festival promotes maple products to people from the region and beyond. Started in 1990, the Festival Beauceron de l’Érable attracts more than 50,000 each year. Visitors come to enjoy a wide range of activities including music, sports, cultural events, fine cuisine, family and school activities featuring maple products.

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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