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October Festivals: Ai Weiwei lights up Nuit Blanche in Toronto


Ai Weiwei’s Flying Bicycles are on display at Nathan Phillips Square. During this year’s Nuit Blanche celebrations in Toronto, the Chinese dissident artist figures prominently. (Photo courtesy of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche)

Story by Vacay.ca Staff


The Art Gallery of Ontario has exhibited Ai Weiwei’s work since August. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

It’s not a huge list this month. With kids back in school, summer 2013 a thing of the past, and heavy snow a few weeks away, we’re kind of between festivals.

But that doesn’t mean October isn’t a time to break out the suds — especially if you’re in Ontario, love beer and enjoy seeing good art.

Ontario is also celebrating true artistic expression with the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche again this year. If you’ve never experienced Nuit Blanche aim to do it this year — it’s always intriguing to see this 24-hours-only art exhibit on the streets. How the public interacts with the installations is huge part of the experience. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is back for another thirst-quenching year in the Twin Cities.

In New Brunswick, the Kings Landing Thanksgiving Festival promises good times and in Montreal, the L’OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal will bring Quebec’s jazz scene to centre stage.

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


EDITORS’ PICK!!!   Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Dates: 5
Discover more than 65 independent projects by Toronto’s art community, three curated exhibitions featuring 44 projects produced by the City of Toronto, including a centrepiece installation by world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei at City Hall’s Nathan Phillips Square.

EDITORS’ PICK!!!   Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
Dates: 11-19
It’s back! Crack open a keg and rediscover your inner Bavarian. Since 1969, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has developed its own traditions, becoming the largest Bavarian festival in North America with the greatest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Canada.

Apple Harvest Festival
Dates: 5-6
Over 200 exhibits to visit and shop at including needlework, leather, blacksmithing, woodworking, colonial tinware, wooden and stuffed toys, collectibles, stained glass, pottery, folk art, paintings in various media and photography.

International Festival of Authors
Dates: 18-28
IFOA presents the finest international novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers, and provides Canadian writers with an internationally recognized forum in which to present their work.

Waterford Pumpkin Festival
Dates: 18-20
1,500 carved, lit pumpkins and pumpkin pyramid. Decorated homes and businesses. The marketplace, car show, sit-down meals at various churches and halls, amusement rides and more.

Chocolate Festival
Dates: October 18 – November 3, 2013
The 2013 Toronto Chocolate Festival , is back for its eighth year.

Free Thinking Film Festival
Dates: October 31, 2013 – Sun, November 03, 2013
This year’s festival features four major evening events with private receptions and over 20 films, panel discussion and speakers.


Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival
Calgary and Edmonton
Dates: Calgary October 19-19, Edmonton October 25-26
The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is the largest one of its kind in Alberta.


EDITORS’ PICK!!!   Kings Landing Thanksgiving Festival
Prince William
Dates: 12-14
Visitors to Kings Landing  find themselves in the middle of  historic storylines and immersed in the 1800s by helping the villagers to make butter, fill wood boxes, bake over an open hearth or spin wool every single day.


St. John’s International Women’s Festival
St. John’s
Dates: 22-26
The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF) is one of the longest running women’s film festivals in the world.


Festival International de la Poésie
Dates: 4-14
Lots of outstanding poets, including Patrick Coppens, Madeleine Monette, Marie-Belle Ouellet and Dominique Lauzon.

L’OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal
Dates: 4-142
This event serves as a unique showcase, bringing Quebec’s jazz scene to centre stage. It encourages freedom of expression and unveils ambitious and never-before-seen creative projects.


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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