September Festivals: TIFF 2012 rolls in


This Oscar, which the Canadian movie “The Barbarian Invasions” won at the 2003 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, is on display at the Bell Lightbox, the main festival theatre during TIFF 2012. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Story by Vacay.ca Staff


The Bell Lightbox theatre will be showcasing many of the top films during TIFF 2012. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Welcome to September! The bad news — school is just around the corner (sorry kids). The good news? The Toronto International Film Festival is back in town, along with several Hollywood stars and more than a few awesome parties!

Other outstanding film festivals not to be missed this month are the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Sudbury International Film Festival, the Prince Edward Island International Film Festival and the Atlantic Film Festival.

Besides TIFF 2012, Ontario is rockin’ this month with several events including Niagara Wine Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, the Cabbagetown Festival and, of course, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche on September 29 in Toronto.

The Fredericton Exhibition (FREX) is always lots of fun. And if you can pull it off, get to Quebec and the Saint-Tite Western Festival, without question one of the best rodeos in the country outside of Alberta.

Here is Vacay.ca’s list of the top festivals happening across the country this month:


EDITORS’ PICK!!! Toronto International Film Festival
Dates: 6-16
The grandaddy of all film festivals in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. It’s also a major showcase of Canadian films. Expect to see some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Will Smith, Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightley. What should the stars do while they’re in town? We thought you might want to know.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Niagara Wine Festival
Niagara Falls
Dates: 21-30
From the wineries and vineyards to tastings and events, you can look forward to all these activities when you visit the Niagara Peninsula, one of Canada’s leading wine-growing regions.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Ottawa Folk Festival
Dates: 6-10
Over 50 artists will perform, including Matt Mays, Kathleen Edwards and Ben Harper.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Cinéfest – Sudbury’s International Film Festival
Dates: 15-23
Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival is thrilled to announce that A Late Quartet will be presented as the Closing Night Gala Presentation at the 24th edition of the event.

Toronto Ukranian Festival
Dates: 14-16
The festival’s main stage has hosted top performers from Ukraine, including Ruslana, Vopli Vidopliassova, Mad Heads XL, Mandry and Pikardiska Tersia.

The Port Hope & District Agricultural Society Annual Fall Fair
Port Hope
Dates: 14-16
A celebration of the diversity of produce and products grown and created in the vicinity of Port Hope, about two hours north of Toronto.

Lambeth Harvest Festival
Dates: 6-9
In 2012, the Lambeth and Community Harvest Festival will celebrate 34 years of existence.

Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival
Port Hope
Dates: 21-23
A showcase for the finest in Canadian jazz. Several great artists will be performing at this event.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Cabbagetown Festival
Dates: 8-9
Parliament Street (Wellesley to Gerrard) and Carlton Street (Parliament to Berkeley) will be closed to automobile traffic for both days of the festival — making it a raucous and lively spot in the city.

Richmond Fair
Dates: 13-16
The fair offers a venue for those in the community to showcase their arts, crafts, livestock and produce.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Word on the Street Festival
Dates: 23
Each year, The Word On The Street provides 20 literacy organizations with free exhibit space in the Marketplace.

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Dates: 19-23
Every September, the Ottawa International Animation Festival presents the world’s most cutting-edge, quirky and important animation — and transforms nation’s capital into the centre of the animation universe.

Stamford Center Volunteer Firemens Association Harvestfest
Niagara Falls
Dates: 22-23
Corn maze, hay rides, and a 5K run through the park.

Metcalfe Fair
Dates: 27 – 30
The Metcalfe Fair is an annual agricultural fair held in Metcalfe Ontario, a town located about 15 miles south of Ottawa. This fair has been held in the fall of each year since 1856.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Dates: 29
For one sleepless night, experience the city transformed by artists for Toronto’s seventh annual sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art. One night only. All night long. Get out and enjoy!

Prince Edward Island

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Fall Flavours
Dates: 7-30
Some of the most fabulous food experiences you can imagine, including Signature Events hosted by FOOD NETWORK guest chefs. Michael Smith, Susur Lee, Bob Blumer and Anna Olson just a few of the skilled celebrity chefs taking part.

Prince Edward Island International Film Festival
Dates: 5-11
Come for a truly international film festival showcasing the best in independent films from around the world, and take in a breathtaking journey across an island of fairytale views.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! PEI International Shellfish Festival
Dates: 13-16
The “Biggest Kitchen Party in Atlantic Canada” boasting good friends, good times, good music and lots of world famous Prince Edward Island shellfish.

PEI Scarecrow Festival
Arlington Orchards
Dates: 30 (Rain Date: October 7)
Bring the children and let them roam the orchard. Pick fresh fruit, enjoy rides on the straw filled farm wagons, paint pumpkin faces, make a button, romp in the straw piles, and pet miniature horses. Kids will love competing in the Scarecrow Contest.


Calgary Highland Games
Dates: 1
The Calgary Highland Games is one of the premier Highland Games in Western Canada. Started in 1913, it’s one of the oldest gatherings in North America and will be celebrating 100 years in 2013.

Canmore Highland Games
Dates: 2
Held annually on the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend, this event has become one of the signature summer events of Canmore.

British Columbia

Vancouver Island Blues Bash
Dates: 1-3
Joe Louis Walker, Bill Johnson, Adam Karch, Auntie Kate & The Uncles of Funk are just a few of the performers at this show.

Annual Pentastic Hot Jazz
Dates: 7-9
Penticton hosts three days of World Class Jazz to entertain and excite music lovers of all ages. Bands include The Terrier Brothers, Lance Buller, and our very own Dixieland Express Jazz Band from Victoria, BC.

Fringe Festival
Dates: 6-16
An eclectic mix of theatrical offerings. Over 550 performances by more than 80 different groups for 11 days make this one of Vancouver’s most diverse sources of entertainment.

Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival
Dates: 8 – 16
Get into the spirit – enjoy a variety of wine & culinary related events at various venues throughout the Cowichan region.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Vancouver International Film Festival
Dates: September 27 to October 12, 2012
One of the largest film festivals in North America, VIFF brings Vancouver audiences some of the best films from around the globe.

Powell River Sunshine Music Festival
Powell River
Dates: 1-2
Expect to see world class performances in a picturesque setting at Palm Beach Park on the waterfront. Shop at the craft market and enjoy some tasty treats from the many food vendors.

The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival
Dates: September 28 – October 7
The Okanagan Wine Festivals are an experience for all who love fabulous wine accompanied by great food, unique events and a breathtaking setting.


Dates: 15-22
Sarasvàti Productions presents FemFest 2012: Staging Identity, the 10th annual theatre festival of plays by women for everyone.

Winnipeg International Writers Festival – Thin Air
Dates: 21-29
Fifteen years ago, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival was created by three individuals from the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. Their goal was to create a week of literary events that featured some of the best writers around.

New Brunswick

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Fredericton Exhibition (FREX)
Dates: 2-8
Events, food and fun for the whole family. Fireworks, rides, and musical performances.

Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta
Dates: 7-9
Balloons launch twice each day, weather permitting. Other events include craft fair, live music at the bandstand, car show on Sunday, midway, Appaloosa horses and the Fundy Model Forest.

The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival
Dates: 11-16
With 135 shows, 350 artists, 2 dozen stages all in 5 city blocks, this event is Atlantic Canada’s biggest celebration of jazz, blues and a whole lot more.

Miramichi Country Music Festival
Dates: 14-16
Enjoy and participate in a great country music weekend in beautiful Miramichi.

Nova Scotia

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival
Province Wide
Dates: September 13 – October 14, 2012
If you love wine, get ready! The 7th Annual Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival has several wine and food related events taking place that you’ll love.

Pictou North Colchester Exhibition
Dates: 5-9
It has grown to become a four day exposition with an agricultural theme including musical entertainment, dairy and commercial beef displays, milking contests, events, demolition derby, truck pulls, strongman competition, and 4-H events.

Hike the Highlands Festival
Dates: 14-23
Ten days of guided hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands of Cape Breton Island, evening presentations, opening & closing ceremonies, and a photocontest. Hikes take place in in North Cape Breton, Cape Breton Highlands National Park and other parts of the Cabot Trail.

Whirligig and Weather Vane Festival
Dates: 15-16
Over $1,500 in prizes are up for grabs in the 13th Annual Whirligig & Weathervane Festival, scheduled for Shelburne’s Historic waterfront.

The Canadian Deep Roots Music Festival 
Dates: 28-30
Featuring the music of the cultures that have settled this region – Mi’kmaq, Acadian, African Nova Scotian, and the British Isles.

Atlantic Film Festival
Dates: 13-20
International, Canadian and Atlantic Canadian films. The festival is community-based, supported by both The Town of Wolfville and Acadia University and built on countless hours of volunteerism by a stable base of over 100 volunteers.

Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival
Dates: September 13 – October 14, 2012
The 7th Annual Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival has several events taking place throughout the province!

Queens County Fair
Dates: 18-22
A wonderful event that the entire family will enjoy.


POP Montreal International Music Festival
Dates: 19-23
POP Montreal International Music Festival is an annual not-for-profit curated cultural event that champions independence in the arts by presenting emerging and celebrated artistic talents from around the world.

EDITORS’ PICK!!! Saint-Tite Western Festival
Dates: 9-18
If you love rodeo, you have to get to Saint-Tite! The Festival Western de St-Tite is a unique Country and Western experience and one of the most popular rodeos in North America.

Festival des musiques sacrées de Québec
Dates: 8-16
From gospel to Gregorian chants, from Corsican polyphonies to early music, the Festival offers musical forms inspired by spirituality performed by internationally renowned artists.

Rêves d’automne
Dates: 21-30
Rêves d’automne, Festival of Painting, a continuation of artistic tradition over time. In the heart of Baie-Saint-Paul, come celebrate the sheer beauty of the Charlevoix landscapes that have always inspired the most talented artists.


Vicky is the worldly publisher of Vacay.ca. 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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