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Your coast-to-coast guide to Canada’s best summer food fests

@lindork via Instagram

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This summer, we have a myriad of reasons to shout out how loud and proud we are of our unique, beautiful country. Not only are we celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, but during every summer weekend, we get to sample our country’s best food. That’s right, foodies, it’s food festival time! From the east coast to the west coast, there are literally hundreds of culinary celebrations taking place.

We spoke with locals and scoured the most reliable sources to bring you our meticulously-crafted selection of the top food festivals you can’t miss out on this year.

The Shediac Lobster Festival (Shediac, N.B.)

As one of the longest running food festivals from the lobster capital of the world (chew on that, Boston!), The Shediac Lobster Festival is a must for lobster lovers. Running from July 5th to the 9th, the 68th annual event will serve up the longest lobster roll you’ve ever seen, the “corks and claws” program (where you try out wine and lobster pairings), and the world’s longest lobster dining table (you really have to see it to believe it).

P.E.I. Shellfish Festival (Charlottetown, P.E.I.)

From the best lobster festival to Canada’s largest shellfish festival, we’ve got you seafood lovers covered. Though this east coast fest takes place in mid-September (from September 14th to 17th to be exact), the rolling festivities will make you feel like it’s the lazy, hazy days of summer all over again. Each day is jammed with programming, from oyster shucking competitions to demonstrations by celebrated chefs Chuck Hughes and Lynn Crawford. Then once the sun sets it becomes party central, with Atlantic Canada’s best bands performing until the wee hours of the night. This is sure to be one of the most unforgettable experiences you’ll have all summer!

The Gathering (Burlington, N.L.)

The slogan at this festival is ‘Welcome ‘ome’ and founder and comedian Shaun Majumder really does make you feel like the tucked away area of Newfoundland is your home sweet home. Of course, ‘Ome is also the name of the nonprofit organization that runs this cozy food, music and fire festival. From August 24th to 26th, guests (or gatherers, if you will) can venture on informative hikes with chefs, relax with a locally-sourced meal by the ocean, and then go glamping while musical acts such as Joel & Bill Plaskett slowly lull you to sleep.

Canada’s Largest Ribfest (Burlington, ON.)

From Burlington Newfoundland, we travel over to Canada’s other Burlington – Burlington, Ontario. There you’ll discover Canada’s largest ribfest, and the well-earned name really does say it all. Serving up close to 200,000 pounds of mouthwatering ribs each year from many of the best BBQ vendors in the industry, this culinary smorgasboard on Labour Day weekend is rib-tastic.

#ribfest #burlingtonwaterfront Gonna get my big appetite on and eat this #deliciousness #905 #ontario

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Richmond Night Market (Richmond, B.C.)

Be sure to arrive hungry to this nightly feast, because your growling tummy is in for a treat. With over 500 dishes to choose from and over 100 different varieties of food vendors, you’re going to need more than one night to eat through all the savoury options. Luckily, the night market runs from now until October 9th, so there’s plenty of time to try a bit of everything.

Taste of Edmonton (Edmonton, AB.)

For 10 days in July (20th to 29th), close to half a million people nosh on the best of Edmonton’s local food scene. Fresh cuisine and drinks are prepared right before your eyes in, and you do not want to miss out on the Canadian food championship, where some of the country’s top professional and amateur chefs compete in a spicy showdown.

Taste of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK.)

For over 20 years, this little-known food festival gem has been filling the bellies of loyal attendees. With over 30 of the best local restaurants participating and over 60 bands performing, this six-day fest (July 11th to July 16th) at the gorgeous Kiwanis Park has much to offer. Our personal highlight is the Chef Series, which takes place every day at six p.m. and features professional chefs having to compete in a barbecue competition using mystery ingredients.

Taste of the Caribbean (Montreal QC.)

This year, Taste of the Caribbean organizers are dubbing it the ‘Rum Edition,’ but even if rum isn’t your drink of choice, there’s still plenty of island-themed foods to sample. Taking place at the Old Port in Montreal from June 21st to 25th, your taste buds will take delight in Jamaican jerk chicken (among a whole slew of other Caribbean culinary temptations) as you dance to the rhythms of the Calypso singers. The festival also promises an exotic feast for the senses, so you know you’re bound to enjoy it!

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