September Festivals: Stars out for TIFF


This Oscar, which the Canadian movie “The Barbarian Invasions” received at the 2003 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, is on display at the Bell Lightbox, the main festival theatre during TIFF 2013. The festival often debuts films that wind up as Academy Awards nominations. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Story by Vacay.ca Staff

George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Radcliffe, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston are just a few of the big names that will be at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013.

Oh, you’re looking for more reasons to check out TIFF? Okay, how about Mila Kunis, Keira Knightley, Hugh Jackman, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, and Idris Elba? And, yes, we could go on and on and on.

If you love movies and stargazing, then Toronto is the place to be in September as Hollywood’s heavy-hitters descend on Canada’s biggest city for 11 days of fun and excitement. Other excellent film festivals happening across the country include Cinéfest – Sudbury’s International Film FestivalCalgary International Film FestivalVancouver International Film Festival, and the Atlantic Film Festival.

Speaking of celebrities, another event happening in Toronto will be Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival. This year Craig and Marc Kielburger, Bob Ezrin, Terry Fox, Oscar Peterson, Christine Sinclair, and Alan Thicke (aka Robin’s dad) will be inducted.

If you’re thinking family fun and adventure, get out to Saint-Tite Western Festival for one of Canada’s best rodeos, second in this country only to the Calgary Stampede. There’s also the Fredericton Exhibition (FREX) filled with rides, games, and food that the whole family will love.

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


EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Toronto International Film Festival
Dates: 5 – 15


Idris Elba plays Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which makes its world premiere at TIFF 2013. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

TIFF is dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema to film lovers. The big releases are the world premieres of “The Fifth Estate,” about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” chronicling the life of the South African leader and Nobel Prize winner. Also, fans will want to see “Gravity,” starring Clooney and Bullock, and “August: Osage County,” with Streep and Roberts. New releases kick off this season with insightful documentaries, including Zachary Heinzerling’s “Cutie and the Boxer” (2013); a look at the true story behind Academy Award-winning “Argo,” with Drew Taylor and Larry Weinstein’s “Our Man In Tehran” (2013); Jennifer Baichwal’s latest collaboration with artist Edward Burtynsky in “Watermark” (2013); David Roach and Warwick Ross’s look deeper into the red wine boom in China with “Red Obsession” (2013) — to name a few.


Read further Vacay.ca TIFF coverage: 

TIFF scores big with ‘The Fifth Estate’

When Justin Bieber and JLo come to town


Niagara Wine Festival
Niagara Falls
Dates: 14-29
Several beverages to choose from in one of Canada’s favourite wine regions.


3 Niagara wineries you must visit

Niagara Icewine Festival brings cheer


Ottawa Folk Festival
Dates: 5-8
Several wonderful performers including Amanda Rheaume, Kat Edmonson and Robyn Hitchcock.

29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival
Dates: 6 – 8
Free talks and cooking demonstrations from leading vegetarian experts.

Cabbagetown Festival
Dates: 6
Activities include stage entertainment, pubs and patio entertainers, and street vendors.

EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Cinéfest – Sudbury’s International Film Festival
Dates: 15-23
Currently screening approximately 135 films, including full-length features, shorts, documentaries and animation, Cinéfest Sudbury provides first-class film works and industry discourse each September.

Toronto Ukranian Festival
Dates: 14-16
The Festival takes pride in turning its spotlight on contemporary professional and amateur artists and performers from North America and Ukraine, and in celebration of Toronto’s diversity.

EDITORS’ PICK!!!  Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival
Dates: 19-21
Wow! The class of 2013 includes Terry Fox, Victor Garber, Alan Thicke and Oscar Peterson.

Port Hope All Canadian Jazz Festival
Dates: 20-22
The All-Canadian Jazz Festival Port Hope has earned recognition as a showcase for the finest in Canadian jazz. Artists include  Powder Bluesthe Club Django Sextet and Alex Pangman.

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 Ottawa into the centre of the animation universe.


EDITORS’ PICK!!!   Saint-Tite Western Festival
Dates: 6-15
Great shows, jaw-dropping rodeo. Saint- Tite is one of the best rodeos in the world and a Canadian favourite.

POP Montreal International Music Festival
Dates: 25-29
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.


FireFit National Championships
Dates: 5-8
More than 350 firefighters from across the country are expected to be at this annual event taking place in the parking lot of the West Edmonton Mall. FireFit has travelled from coast to coast this summer putting on regional events that lead up to the national finals. This is the 20th anniversary for the event.

Calgary International Film Festival
Dates: 19 – 29
An 11-day celebration of visual arts and cinema, screening over 200 multi-genre films from around the world and highlighted by a series of gala events, awards ceremonies, and special presentations.


Fringe Festival
Dates: 5-15
A celebration of theatre for everyone featuring more than 600 performances by 89 artists over 11 days. The Fringe employs an “everyone welcome” selection technique — the Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, giving all artists a chance to participate.

Cowichan Wine & Culinary Festival 
Dates: 7-15
With many first-class chefs and wine makers now calling the Cowichan area home, it is  becoming renowned for a vibrant wine and culinary scene with beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing country backroads to explore.

Vancouver International Film Festival
Dates: September 26 – October 11
The VIFF is among the five largest film festivals in North America. It screens film from 80 countries on 10 screens. The international line-up includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.


Harvest Moon Festival
Dates: 13-15
An important economic development activity, the festival brings in over 1,200 patrons annually and revenue generated from the festival gives an important boost to Clearwater organizations and businesses.

Dates: 14-21
FemFest is a national festival celebrating female theatrical artists.

Winnipeg International Writers Festival – Thin Air
Dates: 20-28
Winnipeg welcomes writers from Canada and around the world for a week of readings, lectures, interviews, conversations, book launches, and other events.


EDITORS’ PICK!!!   Fredericton Exhibition (FREX)
Dates: 1-7
Attractions this year include lumberjack competition, chainsaw carving, draft horses and gospel music.

The Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival
Dates: 10-15
Several outstanding artists, including Alvin Youngblood HartBlack Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and Billie Dre & The Poor Boys.

Miramichi Country Music Festival
Dates: 20-22
Great food and music at affordable prices. All are welcome.

Giant Pumpkin Provincial Festival
Dates: 22
This festival attracts on the last Sunday of September of each year a crowd estimated to be over 1,500 spectators from around the province and abroad.


Festival of the Midnight Sun
Performers include Eel House, Gary “Alaska” Sloan and Marc Brown.


Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival
Several locations
Dates: September 13 – October 14, 2013
The festival promotes Nova Scotia’s amazing wines and wineries. It also celebrates the harvest season and provides consumers with a month of entertaining wine and food events — including grape stomps, winemakers’ dinners, wine education seminars, accommodation packages and much more.

Hike the Highlands Festival
Dates: 13-22
A 10-day hiking festival that features guided hikes, evening activities, presentations, the hiker distance award, opening and closing ceremonies, and a photo contest.

Whirligig and Weather Vane Festival
Dates: 21 – 22
This year’s special guest judge and master of ceremonies is award-winning journalist and radio host Don Connolly. His “Information Morning” show is a favourite among Nova Scotians.

Atlantic Film Festival
Dates: 12 – 19
The Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) is an eight-day celebration of film, media, and music from around the world. It’s a festival that turns Halifax — a charming and historic coastal city — into an international centre for the arts.


Inummarit Music Festival
Dates: September
Each September, the southern Nunavut community of Arviat hosts one of the territory’s liveliest musical celebrations at the Mark Kalluak Hall. Visitors and residents alike enjoy these four days of music and entertainment.

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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