When you think about Canadian festivals, what usually comes to mind? A stage with some folk singers, rock music, food trucks, dancing, booths, and maybe even a bouncy castle or two. What probably doesn’t come to mind are images of viking battles or bath tub races.
Here are five of the weirdest festivals you’ve probably never heard of.
Did you know Canada is home to the largest ethnic Icelandic population in the world outside of Iceland? Manitoba is home to the countries largest Icelandic-Canadian population. Every summer, people of all background flock to Gimli for Islendingadagurinn, the second oldest ethnic festival in North America. There is a viking battle, frisbee event, parade, sandcastle contest and the crowning of the Maid of the Mountain. You’ll be surrounded by Icelandic food, music and by the end of it all, you may be convinced you’re Icelandic too!
Since 1967, Nanaimo has been the home of the Nanaimo Marine Festival and the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. Yes, you read the correctly. Participants race along the Strait of Georgia for 36 miles, with the finishing line located at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park. There is fierce competition as most bathtubs cost thousands of dollars and have 8 horsepower motors. On top of the race you can enjoy live music, food stalls and fireworks.
Are you a fan of the British Soap, Coronation Street? Four times a year in Halifax, they hold a festival just for you. Fans get together to discuss old story lines, play trivia, and celebrate this this show. You may even spot a cast member.
For all you hot chocolate fans out there, this festival is for you. Attendees can visit an array of vendors throughout Vancouver, each with a variety of weird and wonderful flavours of hot chocolate. Flavours have included Umami (less a flavour and more a sensation!), Detox Ginger, and a Unicorn inspired concoction!
If you don’t know who Elvis Presley is well you’ve probably been living under a rock. But, the people of Collingwood make it their business to pay tribute to this music legend every summer. Thousands of visitors, Elvis impersonators, tribute artists, and diehard fans flock to this small town. There are more gold sequins and curled lips than you could ever find in Las Vegas. Elvis impersonators take part in a competition that sees them perform in front of a panel of judges in three different rounds. The winner will go on to perform at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis!