Canada’s Most…Specific Food Festivals
The tenth annual Spot Prawn Festival returns to Fisherman’s Wharf by Granville Island on May 15. Started by the Chefs’ Table Society as a way to keep spot prawns local, this festival has made the sweet and succulent prawns hugely popular in Vancouver. They’re sustainable seafood, and a good way to eat local. The festival is free, but tickets for the main event, the spot prawn boil, are $20.
The What the Truck?! Festival in Edmonton rolls out local food trucks all summer-long. This punderful festival features over 15 food trucks with events throughout the summer season. Goodies like gourmet perogies, huaraches, Bailey’s Rice Krispie squares, and root beer-braised brisket roll through town, giving Edmontonians ample opportunity to dig in.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this August (26-28), the Morden Corn and Apple Festival in Manitoba serves free hot, buttered corn on the cob and cold apple juice. The weekend is chock-full of events, like a farmer’s market, truck and tractor pull, pancake breakfast and more.
Saskatchewan produces almost 80% of the mustard grown for global export; a fact celebrated annually at The Great Saskatchewan Mustard Festival in Regina. Tickets to the festival are $25 for all you can eat. Local restaurants prepare dishes with mustard as the key ingredient. Festivalgoers can sample as much they want, and then vote on favourites. The festival also features live music and beer gardens. This year’s dates haven’t been announced yet, but the festival usually falls at the end of the summer.
The only poutine festival in the province that invented it, Festival de la Poutine in Drummondville is quite a party. Pairing the famous Quebec dish with local music, the festival features a number of children’s shows and three evening concerts. (Last year’s musical guests included Coeur de Pirate and Dumas). Ten guest restaurants provide the signature dishes. This year’s festival runs August 25-27, and a three-day passport costs $35. Single tickets usually run at $20 per person.
The 19th annual Perth Garlic Festival is hosted by the Perth Lions Club August 13 and 14. Admission is $5 and proceeds go to the Lions Club. The festival consists of cooking demonstrations, garlic bread tasting, birds of prey demonstrations and an on-site beer tent. Toronto also has a Garlic Festival and this year it’s at Artscape Wychwood Barns on September 18. Festivalgoers have the opportunity to participate in a garlic breath contest. (Judges are perhaps less thrilled at the opportunity.)
The Wild Blueberry Festival in St. Peters Bay, PEI is no joke. Activities range from learning how to make blueberry tea and preserves, maintaining your own blueberry bushes and a wild blueberry scavenger hunt. Treats include classic pies, ice cream, beer and soup. Some of Toronto’s best bakers attend to compete in a blueberry pie bake-off, judged by lucky festival attendees. The 6th annual Festival will be held on August 23rd.
St. Stephen, in New Brunswick, takes its title as “Canada’s Chocolate Town” very seriously. Home to Ganong Bros. Limited, the country’s oldest, family owned candy company, St. Stephen celebrates its heritage with its annual Chocolate Fest. This year’s festival is July 30-August 7. This weeklong celebration includes making handcrafted chocolates, a Pudding Eating contest and a Chocolate Heritage Walking Tour. There are also inductions into the Chocolate Lovers’ Society that conclude with an award to Chocolate Lover of the Year.