*Header image courtesy of Discover Halifax

From coast to coast, Canadian winters can be dark, cold, and lengthy. Once Summer comes around, those who enjoy the outdoors can bask in long hours of daylight and warm, moderate temperatures, often complemented by the country’s beautiful and diverse landscapes. Whether traveling across the country or visiting from abroad, there is plenty to see and do in Canada during the warmer months of July, August, and September. 

One of the best ways to enjoy a Canadian summer is to attend one or more festivals taking place across the country. In particular, the East Coast is home to several events that encompass the distinct culture and rich history of the region. While the festivals are captivating, the charming landscape and friendliness of the people will also add joy to any visit. Whether with family, friends or even traveling solo, grab your tickets and enjoy one of these top East Coast festivals.

Check Out the Charlottetown Festival — the Largest Musical Theatre Festival in Atlantic Canada

2022 Dates: June 14 – September 24

Location: Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PE

One of the most well-known East Coast events occurs in the capital city of Canada’s smallest province — Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Charlottetown Festival is the largest musical theatre festival in Atlantic Canada, running since 1965. The event aims to bolster Canadian stories through vibrant musical theatre. Over the years, the event has produced more than 85 original productions that have traveled around the country and abroad. For example, the Hamlet Rock Musical that debuted at the festival was the first Canadian musical to be played on Broadway. 

Perhaps the most popular draw for visitors is Anne of Green Gables — The Musical. This show holds the Guinness World Record as the longest-running annual musical,’ having been played on this stage every summer between 1965 and 2020. Although abruptly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has made its return in 2022. Planning a trip to the event is easy! The Charlottetown Festival offers visitors something to watch almost every day of the week throughout the summer — with some days offering up to three shows.

Vibe to the Sounds of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival

2022 Dates: July 7 – 9

Location: Cavendish Beach Events Centre, Cavendish, PE

For country music fanatics, the Cavendish Beach Musical Festival, known as Cavy,’ to regular attendees, is the place to be. This East Coast music festival is the largest multi-day outdoor musical event in Atlantic Canada, drawing more than 60,000 attendees each year. Past performers have included well-known artists like Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and even Taylor Swift! 

Cavendish, a resort area on the northern shore of Prince Edward Island, provides an ideal location for the festival. Visitors should consider spending time before or after the festival exploring the picturesque, warm water beaches, seaside dining, shopping, and of course, visiting the breathtaking Prince Edward Island National Park.

Halifax Busker Fest

Image courtesy of Discover Halifax

Enjoy Performances by the Waterfront at the Halifax Busker Festival

2022 Dates: July 27 – August 1

Location: Halifax & Dartmouth Waterfronts, NS

One of the most impressive Eastern Canada festivals is the Halifax Busker Festival. Hosted by the picturesque Halifax Waterfront, it has expanded to include the Dartmouth waterfront for 2022. The Dartmouth side of the event will host the popular midway rides, while the Halifax waterfront is where you’ll find three performance stages and food and craft vendors. 

The real draw of this festival is the incredible displays put on by some of the world’s top street performance artists. Take in outstanding acrobatics, fire shows, comedy acts, and other talents across the six-day event. The electrifying acts draw crowds of over 250,000 each year! Admission to the live shows (excluding the midway) is free, though tipping performers is highly encouraged.

Halifax Jazz Fest

Image courtesy of Discover Halifax

Jazz Music-Lovers Unite at the Halifax Jazz Festival

2022 Dates: July 13 – 17

Location: Downtown Halifax

The TD Halifax Jazz Festival, formerly known as the Atlantic Jazz Festival, is a yearly staple in Downtown Halifax. A great experience, even for those whose musical interests go beyond jazz, the event features over 30 performances and 5 Jazz Labs. The Jazz Labs provide emerging musicians with an interactive workshop to learn new skills — sometimes, the sessions are hosted by well-known artists, allowing for the opportunity to get up close and personal with your musical idols. Best of all, the sessions are free to participate in and open to the public. The festival itself attracts nearly 65,000 attendees and 350 local musicians. If you’re looking to spend time among others with a general passion for local music talent, this is the festival to attend!

Take in the Sights and Tastes of Life by the Sea at the Yarmouth Seafest

2022 Dates: July 13 — 31

Location: Various locations around Yarmouth, NS

If you’re looking for things to do in Eastern Canada, look no further than Seafest in Yarmouth, NS. A truly authentic, Maritime experience, this event takes place every July, dating back to 1979. Locals and visitors come together from mid-July to celebrate the culture, lifestyle, and food of this coastal community. There are several daily events that include live music, float parades, and contests. Are you looking for something a little more exhilarating? The event often features activities like a mackerel toss, rum-running races, and more. The Yarmouth Seafest is suitable for those of all ages, including families with small children.

Celebrate Acadian Arts and Artists at Festival Acadien de Caraquet

2022 Dates: August 5 — 15

Location: Various locations around Caraquet, NB

The Festival Acadien de Caraquet has been celebrating Acadian culture since 1963. An important one to include when talking about summer festivals in Canada, this event has a little bit of everything. The festival offers visitors the chance to take in live music, poetry readings, outdoor shows, film screenings, and the blessing of fishing boats decorated with pennants. This festival is also a fan favorite with kids. There are firework displays and animated events held in several locations around Caraquet. Another highlight of the event is the homemade boxcar race where participants are grouped by age, as young as eight years old and up. There is even a race that includes the local mayors! 

The event closes on August 15 with a traditional Acadian ceremony — the Tintamarre. Participants march through the community, making noise with improvised instruments and other items, some of which can be crafted at on-site workshops leading up to the grand finale.

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