10 Canadian Summer Food Festivals Totally Worth Road Tripping To
The country's best eats.
If there's one thing that's going to put me in a car to drive for hours on end with friends to a far-off city, it's definitely food. All worries about feeling cramped or bathroom breaks melt away when the final destination is filled with some mighty fine edibles, and you no doubt feel the same if you're reading this.
And since the weather has finally lightened up to the point that driving on the nation's roads is no longer perilous, we can finally head to cities across Canada for fantastic meals we can't get in Montreal. Yes, they do exist.
To give you some hunger-inducing inspiration, we've mapped out some of Canada's greatest food festivals, all of which are totally worth road tripping coast. From the east coast to the west, Canada has plenty to offer every kind of foodie, so discover what's in store for your taste buds below.
The Drummondville Poutine Festival
- Driving time: 1h 15 mins
- Date: August 25th to 27th
For nearly ten years, Drummondville's Festival de la Poutine has been the premiere poutine-festival in the province. While Montreal may have launched its own version of the cheese, gravy, and fries festival last year, it has nothing on Festival de la Poutine. More than just a food festival (although poutine is obviously the showstopper), you can expect tons to do at the event, which is so close (and so delicious) to Montreal.
Canada's Largest RibFest (Burlington, Ontario)
- Driving time: 5h 31 mins
- Date: September 2nd to 5th
Everything you need to know is in this food festival's name, because who doesn't want to enjoy the gustatory pleasures of ribs? Regularly boasting an attendance of over 175,000, with 150,000 pounds of ribs sold from 20 different BBQ vendors, this four day rib-tacular extravaganza earns the title of Canada's Largest Rib Festival. And thanks to its convenient Labour Day Weekend date, you can easily road trip to this rib festival and take in all that delicious meat.
La Fête du Chocolat de Bromont
- Driving time: 1h
- Date: May 21st-23rd + 28 & 29
A mere hour drive will take you to chocolate heaven, aka Bromont's La Fête du Chocolat. Celebrating all things made with cocoa, the food festival is religious experience for those of you packing a sweet tooth (so basically everyone) with all-things chocolate present and ready to be enjoyed. But while chocolate is at the core of this festival, you can also expect theatrical performances, live music, and painting stations (with chocolate, of course).
The Shediac Lobster Festival
- Driving time: 9 h 34 min
- Date: July 6th to 10th
It only makes sense that the city named the world lobster capital, Shediac, NB, would play host to the country's most celebrated lobster festival. Succinctly titled the Shediac Lobster Festival, the culinary celebration of everyone's favourite seafood has been running for a full 66 years with incredibly enticing events and features including the world's longest lobster dining table, the longest lobster roll, and a lobster eating contest. Yes, a near ten hour drive out to New Brunswick may be a trek, but it's definitely worth it for all that delicious lobster.
Porkapalooza BBQ Festival (Edmonton, Alberta)
- Driving time: 38h
- Date: June 17th to 19th
Don't be fooled by the name of this Canadian food fest, because while an abundance of barbecue pork can be enjoyed/eaten at the festival, it's more of a celebration of BBQ culture as a true art form than anything else. Simultaneously a barbecue competition, visitors reap the delicious benefits of the two-day BBQ showdown as some of Canada's best chefs compete for the title of top griller. Plus there's a beer garden on-site to wash all that BBQ down.
The Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto, Ontario)
- Driving time: 5h 19 mins
- Date: August 19th to September 5th
Technically the Canadian National Exhibition (otherwise known simply as "The Ex") isn't a food festival, but there are enough culinary creations on-site to warrant its inclusion on this list. With its infamous food building that houses cuisines from scores of nations, a mini rib fest, a CNE "food truck frenzy," insane fried food creations, and a craft beer festival it's pretty easy to see why the CNE can be seen as a food-centered event. If anything, go for the food and enjoy everything else if you feel like moving after your gorge.
Sherbrooke's Festival du Bacon
- Driving time: 1h 36 min
- Date: May 21st to 22nd
Lets be honest here, as soon as you saw "bacon" in this culinary event's name, you were pretty much sold. Tie in the fact that it's barely an hour and a half away, features over sixty vendors selling all-things bacon, and a "Bacon Marathon" that combines physical exercise with eating bacon (apparently it can be done) and you have a road trip done-deal.
The Great Canadian Beer Festival (Victoria, BC)
- Driving time: 48h
- Date: September 9th & 10th
Driving out to BC is something that should be on the bucket list of every Montrealer. Not only do you get to see more than half of the country as you make the trip, but you can also make the Great Canadian Beer Festival your alcoholic end-celebration. Situated at the seaside city of Victoria, you can drink beer for two days and enjoy the sun, sipping on more than 170 different types of craft beer from local and international brewers. Best of all, some of the best drunk-food ever will be on-site, including pizza, tacos, barbecue, perogies and more.
The Calgary Stampede
- Driving time: 37h
- Date: July 7th to 18th
Don't be fooled by the rodeo-element of the Calgary Stampede, because all of foods to be enjoyed are the real reason to attend the event. Festival food are out in full force at the Calgary Stempede, including mini donuts, deep-fried everything, candy apples, churros, deep fried cheesecake, glazed donut grilled cheeses, and so much more. Like actually, there's almost too much to name, and it's all indulgent to the max.
Toronto's Veg Food Fest
- Driving time: 5h 19 mins
- Date: September 11th to 13th
The largest vegetarian food festival in all of North America, the Veg Food Fest is perfect for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Delicious burgers, sinful sweets, and even hotdogs will be found on-site, all with a healthy-veg twist. But beyond just enjoying food, Veg Fest is also a place of learning new cooking techniques and the latest healthy eating trends.