8 oddball Canadian festivals

Cheese rolling, anyone? Or perhaps you’re headed to the accordion festival?

David Buzzard/Marketwire Photo

1. Giant Omelette Get-Together (Granby, Que., June): In a celebration of the area’s French heritage, chefs from the region gather to cook a massive omelette—containing up to 5,000 eggs—over an enormous fire.

2. Elvis Festival (Collingwood, Ont., July): For 18 years, people have travelled to Collingwood to celebrate all things Elvis Presley. What special link exists between Collingwood and the King? None, really. That has never stopped the more than 100 professional and amateur Elvis impersonators who take part, or the crowds who come to see them curl their lips.

3. Accordion Extravaganza (Edmonton, September): Billed as “Alberta’s largest accordion festival,” the annual event attracts enthusiasts from across North America who come to perform and listen.

4. Pingfest (Halifax, usually four times a year): Ignore the name—no one is quite sure where it originated—but if you’re a fan of the long-running British TV show Coronation Street, this is the festival for you, offering “food, games, showings of Corrie material, and discussions of current and sometimes future storylines.”

5. Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival (Whistler, B.C., August): If you love cheese and running, this festival has it all. A five-kilogram wheel of cheese is rolled down a hill with contestants in tow. Whoever catches the cheese gets to keep it, and wins two season passes to Whistler Blackcomb.

6. World Championship Bathtub Race (Nanaimo, B.C., July): Evolving out of the first-ever bathtub race in Nanaimo in 1967, racers in their custom-made bathtubs motor out of Nanaimo harbour on a 58-km course before finishing in Departure Bay.

7. Icelandic Festival of Manitoba (Gimli, Man., August): Or as they’d say in Iceland, Islendingadagurinn. The festival, in its 123rd year, includes Viking warfare demonstrations and the naming of the Fjallkonur (maid of the mountain).

8. Shag Harbour UFO Festival (Shag Harbour, N.S., August): In 1967 a UFO crashed here. Or so some locals believe. Visitors can tour the UFO museum, head out to the crash site by boat, and meet with residents who witnessed the event.

Sources: Canadian Space Agency, Mike Dixon
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