Despite many pre-conceptions about Canada being an arctic tundra that sits above the US, our summers are actually hot, hot, hot. Like, scorching hot. Like, hot enough for some of North America’s best summer concerts, festivals and events to take place on our lovely land. If you’re heading on a Contiki trip through the Great (Hot!) North this July and August, don’t miss out on some of the summer’s must-have tickets.
Oh, mama – this is gonna be a goodie. Combine 3 days of amazing live acts with Canada’s cultural hub of Montreal and you’ve got yourself one helluva long weekend. And when I say amazing live acts, I mean amazing. Think Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, Justice, Sigur Ros, Feist, Florence & The Machine, Brand New, The Weeknd, Garbage, A$AP Rocky and Aloe Blacc just to name a few. Pass me my party pants ‘cause I’m ready to rock.
August 3rd-5th, Jean Drapeau Parc, Montreal; osheaga.com
I have pretty varied tastes when it comes to music (everything from Motown to hip hop to indie rock), but nothing gets me more amped than a dirty punk rock show. Backtrack to 1998 when influential Swedish hardcore band Refused announced their split much to my dismay. Fast forward again to spring of this year when the band reunited at Coachella in California and I hurrah-ed from afar. Now they’re doing a North American tour and Toronto is the only city with two dates lined up. Grab your credit card and burn a hole in that plastic because this is the most anticipated hardcore show of the summer and you do not want to miss it.
July 29th & 30th, Sound Academy, Toronto; ticketmaster.ca
3 Vancouver Celebration of Lights
Did you know that countries actually compete in the world of fireworks? Well, you do now, and Vancouver is the meeting point for all things loud and sparkly. Over a million people come yearly to watch the spectacle on the beaches of downtown Van as each night one of the selected three nations gives their best display, complete with music and theatrics. Get ready for an epic show – these ain’t your grandma’s fireworks!
July 28th – August 4th, Vancouver; hondacelebrationoflight.com
4 Just For Laughs
Every year, Montreal hosts Just For Laughs, the world’s largest international comedy festival. Well, this year they’re celebrating their 30th birthday and it is on like Donkey Kong. The festival runs until July 29th, featuring comedy’s hottest acts as well as the most talked about up-and-comers. Snag tix to see Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, Jim Gaffigan, Joel McHale, Wayne Brady and more. Prepare to laugh your ass off.
Until July 29th, various locations in Montreal; www.hahaha.com
5 Heavy TO & Heavy MTL
If you’re jonesin’ for a heavy dose of electric guitar, this is your jam. Heavy TO & MTL is a showcase of the best of the best in metal and hard rock, including the biggest acts in the world like System of a Down, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage and also local screaming sweethearts, Protest the Hero. For those about to rock, we salute you!
August 11th-12th, Montreal & Toronto; various locations in Montreal; heavymtl.com/en/ & heavyto.com/
Written by Lauren McPhillips