Canada Day Special: Canadian Style Events

Canada DayToday, from coast-to-coast, Canadians are celebrating Canada Day. (Here's What Happens on Canada Day) I thought it would be fun to explore ideas for creating Canadian themed events. There are many ways to approach them.

  1. Pick a region.
    A variety of themes are possible based on Canada's diverse regions. Event colour palettes can either be red and white, based on the Canadian flag, or colours from a provincial (e.g. blue and white for Quebec). Choose from:
    • A maritime theme: Seafood dishes and Celtic music are excellent choices for celebrating the unique flavour of Canada's Maritime provinces (i.e. Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia).
    • A Quebec themed event with a French flair: It's the perfect way to add excitement to an event. For brunch try Montreal style bagels, and for fun try poutine. Quebec has many famous cheeses that can be incorporated into menus. Cirque de Soleil is a Canadian company which started in Montreal. Cirque style entertainment has become popular for special events in Canada.
    • Prairie theme: Canada's Prairie provinces (i.e. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta) have a lot of cattle ranches in the Prairie so beef dishes would in order. Equestrian events would also be a good fit. 

This portal created by the Canadian Government gives a feel for Canada's diverse regions.

  1. Pick a holiday.
    Canada isn't the only distinctly Canadian holiday. Build an event around:
    • Canadian Thanksgiving (2nd Monday in October)
    • A Canadian Christmas
    • Victoria Day (the last Monday before May 25th)
    • National Patriot's Day/Fete des patriotes (celebrated in Quebec when the rest of Canada is celebrating Victoria Day)
    • Fete Nationale/St. Jean Baptise Day (June 24 in Quebec)
  2. Pick a special event for your theme.
    • Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo in early to mid July
    • K-Days (formerly Klondike Days, a gold rush themed event) from mid to late July in Edmonton
    • Canadian National Exhibition, in Toronto in August
    • Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, in Toronto in November
    • Black History Month in February, celebrating the achievements of Black Canadians dating back to the underground railroad.
  3. Pick a season.
    Canada's 4 seasons give the option of events with a seasonal theme. Choose summer, fall, spring and match the menu and activities to the season. If your area gets an unexpected snowfall, seize the opportunity for a Canadian winter themed event. The Cvent Event Blog has many suggestions for snow houses, luxury ski resorts, chalets, and other winter event venues.
  4. Use a Canadian-themed venue.
    Examples include Ontario in Brooklyn, Rockies Sports Bar in Belfast, Ireland, Pioneer Centre near Birmingham, England, and Canadian Coffee Culture in Ibiza, Spain
  5. Pick the music.
    Traditional folks songs are one option but there's also Anne Murray, Michael Buble (who is giving a concert in Toronto and Montreal this week), Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, rock 'n roll artists Glass Tiger, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Nickelback, or Blue Rodeo; or, if the event is for a younger demographic, Drake or Justin Bieber.

  1. Pick a sports theme.
    Build an event around a sports theme if event participants are predominantly male. Hockey comes to mind but the official sport is actually lacrosse. Curling and Canadian football are popular. As Canada becomes more multi-cultural, soccer fever always hits Canada's urban centres during FIFA World club play-offs.
  2. Make it Multi-cultural.
    Reflect Canada's diversity. At Canada Day events, you'll find First Nations dancing, Celtic music, performances of the highland fling, Caribbean steel drums, and clogging.
  3. Of course you can always schedule it for Canada Day - July 1st.
    Here is how it all came together in London's Trafalgar Square last year at one of the biggest Canada Day Events outside Canada. The video is filled with ideas for Canadian style events.

Canada's Sesquicentennial will be a year-long celebration in 2017 with major events planned on Canada Day. It's an ideal time to plan a Canadian-themed event.

For more information about Canada Day, read Canada Day Events Showcase Historical Event Venues or check out our comprehensive Canada Meeting & Event Planning City Guide.

Photo Credit: Bud

To all our Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day/Bonne fete du Canada!

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