St. John’s and surrounding areas offer a plethora of festivals and events year round. Here are some of the highlights, but follow us on Twitter @DestinationSJ for updates and announcements of new colourful experiences.
February 8 – 16
City of Mount Pearl
This unique community winter carnival combines a quality package of entertainment with very reasonable admission costs, so that everyone can participate. It is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbours, as thousands of people pass through the Festival gates every year. The Frosty Festival is always a wonderful week of music, magic, laughter and sportsmanship.
February 9 – 17
Town of Conception Bay South
Events for all ages at Winterfest 2013 in Conception Bay South. There will be family activities, skating, hockey and more.
April 17 – 21, 2013
Named for a Newfoundland expression that – according the Dictionary of Newfoundland English – means “having a good time at a dance or party with plenty to eat,” Lawnya Vawnya burst onto the Canadian festival calendar two years ago with creative programming throughout colourful downtown St. John’s. The third annual Lawnya Vawnya festival of independent music and arts will take place April 17-21, 2013.
April 26 – 28
“Sci-fi on the Rock” is NL’s premiere science fiction & fantasy convention, entering its 7th year at the Holiday Inn. Special guests are Mike Dopud (Stargate), Dean Haglund (Lone Gunman, X-files), Gary Jones (Stargate, improv), Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise), and Ginny McQueen (cosplay, model). Events include workshops, panels, social networking – something for everyone!
May 21 – June 23
The 2013 festival includes two fully-staged and costumed productions with orchestra; Verdi’s La Traviata (Michael Cavanagh), Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Chas Rader-Shieber), and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Distinguished conductors Judith Yan and and Marc David, along with the creative team, will present these master works. Other program performances include public masterclasses, Art Song Recital evenings, and Petro Canada Hall performances.
June – late September – check our website for show schedule
Rising Tide Theatre
Toll Free: 888.464.3377
Join us this summer and fall in beautiful Trinity Bight as we celebrate 20 years of the Seasons in the Bight Festival. Spend some time in the company of our company as we present 10 different plays featuring our award-winning blend of drama, humour, and history by more than 40 of the province’s most talented artists.
Renowned Newfoundland and Labrador artist Mary Pratt will be celebrated in a 50-year retrospective exhibition that will open at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in June 2013, then tour Canada until January 2015. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Mary Pratt became fascinated by light on the surfaces of everyday objects in her home. She began to create powerful oil paintings; the first in this genre, Supper Table (1969) will be in this exhibition. Other iconic works to be included are Jelly Shelf (1999), Eviscerated Chickens (1971) and Service Station (1976).
A project by The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Museums Assistance Program.
June 22 -23, 2013
Celebrate the City’s birthday through outdoor concerts, historical characters and exciting art and cultural events.
Join the festivities and be amongst the first citizens in Canada to celebrate our national birthday. In addition to its traditionally strong entertainment line-up, plans include activities such as outdoor barbecues, busker performances, children’s programming and fireworks.
Each July 1st, when the sun rises over Signal Hill, the people of St. John’s become the first in Canada to celebrate this country’s birthday. Outdoor entertainment caps off the day of birthday celebrations. Fireworks at Quidi Vidi Lake. Happy Birthday Canada!
City of Mount Pearl, NL
Residents and visitors are invited to come along and enjoy Canada Day Celebrations in the City of Mount Pearl at St. David’s Park from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Admission is a non-perishable food item. (Rainy day site is the Reid Community Centre.) Watch for more details at www.mountpearl.ca or call 709.748.1008.
During the Signal Hill Tattoo the sound of musket and cannon fire boom across St. John’s like ghostly echoes from bygone days. This exciting battle re-enactment performed by the Royal Newfoundland Companies from July to early August, commemorates the final battle of the Seven Years’ War, which was fought on Signal Hill on September 16, 1762, between the British and the French. Held Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
July – August
Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site, Brigus
A series of four vignettes performed by the Baccalieu Players that covers major events in the career of Capt. Bob Bartlett, the famous Brigus son and ice pilot and life in Brigus at Hawthorne Cottage during the first half of the 20th century. Call for days and times.
June – July
Torbay has unique culture and heritage, help us share and promote this by attending our summer festival! There’s something for all the family and we’ll have some of the best local music that Newfoundland has to offer. Check www.torbay.ca regularly for event updates and announcements!
July – August
Join us on the hillsides of Torbay for music and drama with the Torbay Museum’s summer musical theatre production. Written by award winning playwright Ben Pittman, our musical celebrates Torbay’s history and heritage with toe-tapping melodies and heart-warming stories. Check out our website for a full list of show dates, times and location.
The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium IX offers something for everyone! Teachers, researchers, performers, students and indeed anyone interested in singing and the power of song… come and attend this wonderful gathering of people and experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador… a place filled with singing and song
A great coming together of over 150 local, national and international jazz, blues and world music artists at various venues throughout the city. A 6-day festival of sound, artistry, exploration and collaboration set in the oldest city in North America…an explosion of creativity on the edge of the continent…an unforgettable experience.
July 19 – 21
City of Mount Pearl
It is the 25th Anniversary for City Days Celebrations. Enjoy a weekend jam packed with activities, events and outdoor concerts!
July 27, 2013
Activities in the Park kick off mid-afternoon on Festival Day with a line-up of music, dance, demonstrations, community booths, a glass jar lantern workshop and other entertainment. At dusk, the crowd swells. Following a mass lantern-lighting in the lower Park the lantern process winds its way up the hill to the installation and everyone settles down to enjoy the fire show.
11 days of fun with four major festivals and a whole raft of other activities, incorporating the George Street Festival, Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, The Busker’s Festival, Royal St. John’s Regatta, plus much more.
George Street, in downtown St. John’s, is the focal point of the City’s nightlife. The pubs and taverns lining this historic cobblestone street offer everything from traditional Newfoundland music to the latest rock music. The festival features five nights of live outdoor entertainment featuring some of Newfoundland’s top acts.
The Tuckamore Festival offers both an outstanding chamber music series featuring internationally acclaimed artists and an educational/mentorship program for emerging young artists. Throughout the two-week festival, over 25 events including concerts, free lunch-time recitals, open rehearsals, master classes and workshops are presented in a number of superb venues in historic St. John’s. Join us for our 13th season!
What probably began as a few fishermen competing to see who could row his dory the fastest has grown into the annual Royal St. John’s Regatta, North America’s oldest continuing sporting event. The Regatta began officially in 1825 and has run the first Wednesday in August ever since.
Regatta Day is probably the only Municipal Holiday in Canada that is dependent on the weather. If it is raining or too windy, the holiday is simply put off until the next suitable day.
The good times in St. John’s keep roaring in August with the annual Provincial Folk Festival held in Bannerman Park featuring musicians, dancers and storytellers from around the province. It is a perfect opportunity to get a taste of the traditional Newfoundland lifestyle with music, dancing, storytelling and traditional good times.
Town of Conception Bay South
Come out and enjoy great entertainment, a visit from the Pirates and much more.
Doors Open is an opportunity for the citizens and visitors of St. John’s to celebrate our architecture and heritage through the exploration of some of our hidden historical, architectural and cultural gems. Buildings that are normally closed to the public or charge an entrance fee welcome visitors to look around for FREE! This year there are 17 participating sites, so something for everyone! For more information visit our website or like Doors Open Days on Facebook.
September 20 – 28, 2013
Various Locations throughout St. John’s
An annual event designed to promote cultural, historic and community ties between Southeast Ireland and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, as well as the global Irish diaspora. This year’s festival will focus on three areas of the province, Tilting, Fogo Island (Sept 20-23), CBS (Sept 24-25), and St. John’s (Sept 26-28). Come out and enjoy historical tours, storytelling sessions, lunches & brunches, boat tours, school twinning, dinner/dances, local musical entertainment/local artists, a hurling match, and more!
September 27 – 29, 2013
Various Locations throughout St. John’s
Culture Days is a collaborative, Canada-wide volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. This year’s Culture Days weekend will take place on September 28, 29 & 30. The event will feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes”—and to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community.
October 8 -12, 2013
The Festival of New Dance has been presented annually since 1990 by Neighbourhood Dance Works. Since its inception, the Festival has grown into one of the premier festivals of contemporary dance in the country, and the largest east of Quebec. Every year FND presents some of the most sought-after contemporary dance produced in Canada and provides main stage opportunities for local choreographers. The Festival’s programming committee strives each year to bring a diverse program of dance to St. John’s: presenting work that will appeal to new audiences, as well as challenge and inspire long-time supporters.
Jack Byrne Arena, Torbay
Join us at the Jack Byrne Arena as you browse over 80 vendors and local businesses selling arts and crafts, Christmas gift ideas, fresh fruit and vegetable along with a wide variety of Torbay based small and medium sized businesses.
Held in October at various venues throughout St. John’s, this week-long screening series of 50-70 works by women directors, producers and writers also features a workshop/seminar series (for filmmakers, the general public and youth), galas, receptions and other networking events. This dynamic event attracts over 4,000 film industry players and enthusiasts from around the province, Canada and the world.
If you thought you had to go to New Orleans to experience a real Mardi Gras, then you have not been to the annual St. John’s Halloween Mardi Gras. This is an event of all-out fun with spectacular costumes, good music, good fun and good times on George Street.
With over 100 entries and a crowd estimated at 40,000 people, the parade is the largest in the province. It features zany clowns, marching bands, colourful cheerleaders and fantastic floats. A food drive is included in the festivities benefiting the community food sharing association.
The Crow’s Nest Officer Club, St. John’s
Chris Brookes. With a microphone, he is an award-winning independent radio producer. With his keyboard he is a published author and playwright. With his voice, he tells traditional Newfoundland stories and recitations. He seems to be obsessed with narrative, which makes him keep telling stories in one form or another with hopes of one day getting them right.
When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, the people of St. John’s are the first in North America to celebrate the New Year. The New Year’s Eve Celebrations include a spectacular fireworks display at Quidi Vidi Lake.
If you are travelling to St. Pierre et Miquelon here are some special dates to keep in mind.
Fête des Marins
16 Juin / June 16th
Fête de la Musique Music Festival
21 Juin / June 21th
Les 25 km de Miquelon – Miquelon Half Marathon
22 Juin / June 22th
Fête Nationale – Bastille Day
14 Juillet / July 14th
Les Déferlantes Festival de Musique
30 Juillet au 3 Août / July 30th to August 3th
Festival des Fruits de Mer -Miquelon Seafood Festival
4 Août / August 4th
Fête Basque – Basque Festival
Août / August