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Canada Cultural Calendar 2014 | 10 Events You Shouldn’t Miss
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Canada Cultural Calendar 2014 | 10 Events You Shouldn’t Miss

Picture of Helen Armitage
Updated: 9 February 2017
Canada’s 2014 cultural calendar is as varied as the country’s beautiful terrain. Remote, rural Dawson City plays home to a stomping, lively music festival, bay-side metropolis Vancouver hosts a three-day food and drink extravaganza, and a Toronto theatre presents the North American premiere of a sell-out British play. Explore what’s on in Canada with our handpicked guide to the country’s ten best art and culture events in 2014.

Mike Nelson: Amnesiac Hide

1 February 2014 – 19 May 2014

The Power Plant, housed in a former 1920s powerhouse, is one of Canada’s foremost public contemporary art galleries, and in 2014, presents the first Toronto-based solo exhibition of British installation artist Mike Nelson. Nelson’s meandering, maze-like installations invite viewers to fully immerse themselves in his artwork as they move through his spaces. These intricate structures have been exhibited at prestigious venues and events such as Tate Britain and the Venice Biennale. Amnesiac Hide is comprised of several of Nelson’s projects including his 2010 large-scale walkthrough installation Quiver of Arrows constructed from four mobile trailers fused together – this piece has only been exhibited once before. Also on display is Nelson’s sculptural work Gang of Seven and his new photographic project Eighty Circles through Canada.

The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 973 4949

Edward Burtynsky: A Terrible Beauty

1 March 2014 – 26 May 2014

Edward Burtynsky is a Toronto-based photographer who, through his captivating images, explores links between nature and industry. Burtynsky’s work has been exhibited at venues across the world including New York City’s Guggenheim Museum and Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum, and he was the 2005 winner of the TED Prize which recognises remarkable people inspiring global change. Vancouver Art Gallery presents A Terrible Beauty, a comprehensive study of 44 works produced by Burtynsky over a thirty-year period between 1983 and 2013, and features landscapes of locations as varied as British Columbia, China and Mexico. Photography from Burtynsky’s latest project Water will be exhibited including awe-inspiring bird’s-eye views of Iceland’s Markarfljot River and the Colorado River delta in San Felipe, Mexico.

Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 662 4700

Edward Burtynsky
Colorado River Delta #2, Near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico 2011 | © Edward Burtynsky

The Last Confession

19 April 2014 – 1 June 2014

Mirvish Productions, the Toronto-based theatre management and production company, presents the North American premiere of Roger Crane’s gripping play, The Last Confession, at the beautiful, beaux-arts style Royal Alexandra Theatre. Directed by British stage director Jonathan Church, The Last Confession has enjoyed sell-out runs at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket and the Chichester Festival Theatre. The thriller explores the mystery behind the sudden death of Pope John Paul I in 1978, just 33 days after his election to the papacy, and follows Cardinal Giovanni Benelli’s quest to discover the truth behind the Pope’s death in the face of the Vatican’s obstruction. The last confession of the title is Benelli’s, played by British actor David Suchet, recounting of his part in Pope John Paul’s death and his losing faith in the Catholic Church.

Royal Alexander Theatre, 260 King Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 872 1212

Transfigured Night at Les Grands Ballets

15 May 2014 – 24 May 2014

Les Grands Ballets presents the world premiere of a contemporary dance performance, Transfigured Night, by internationally renowned Belgian-born choreographer and set designer Stijn Celis at the modern Théâtre Maisonneuve in Montréal’s Place des Arts cultural centre. Inspired by a five stanza poem of the same name (written by German poet Richard Dehmel in 1896), and the subsequent musical composition by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg in 1899, Transfigured Night is the story of a man and woman walking through a moonlit forest whereupon she bestows upon him a dark secret – that she is pregnant with another man’s child. The performance features five distinct sections, each reflecting the themes of the original poem’s five stanzas, beginning with the female character’s sadness and shameful confession, and ending with his forgiveness and acceptance.

Theâtre Maisonneuve, 175 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, +1 514 842 2112

EAT! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival

30 May 2014 – 1 June 2014

EAT! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival brings together the best professional chefs, local restaurants, artisan producers, and cookbook writers in this three day food and beverage extravaganza. EAT! Vancouver, which for the second year running, takes place at the newly revamped BC Place sports stadium and has everything a discerning food lover could dream. There’s the Bites section, where festivalgoers can sample dishes from Vancouver’s best restaurants, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and hundreds of beers, wines and spirits to sample in the festival’s Tasting Pavillion. Confirmed exhibitors for 2014 include Canadian organic honey producers Honey Bunny Inc and the local craft beer producers Dead Frog Brewery, while Rob Feenie, winner of the Iron Chef America TV show, and Indian-born executive chef and Vancouver restaurateur, Vikram Vij, will be on hand to impart their culinary knowledge.

BC Place Stadium, 777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada, +1 604 669 2300

Montréal International Jazz Festival

26 June 2014 – 6 July 2014

Named by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest jazz festival, the Montréal International Jazz Festival returns in 2014 for its 35th annual run. The festival, which was first held in 1980 and opened with a performance by the late, great Ray Charles, now attracts an average of 2 million festival-goers and jazz enthusiasts each year. Music lovers can enjoy ten days of jazz and jazz-related music in the Québécois metropolis with performances by 3,000 artists from 30 different countries. This year the festival programme includes US singer-songwriter and talented guitarist Ben Harper, who will be accompanied by the legendary electric blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, and Cécile McLorin Salvant, a French-American jazz singer who won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in 2010. The Montréal International Jazz Festival will host 1,000 concerts, over half of which are free, outdoor events.

Venues across downtown Montréal. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Montréal International Jazz Festival
Montréal International Jazz Festival | © Jean-François Leblanc

Dawson City Music Festival

18 July 2014 – 20 July 2014

The small town of Dawson City, nestled on the beautiful, meandering Yukon River in northern Canada, is home to the annual Dawson City Music Festival. The charming former gold rush town, which has a year-round of almost 2,000 people, has held the festival annually since 1979 when it started out as a small, simple jam session amongst friends, followed by a community dance at a local venue. The grassroots festival grew over the years, becoming a registered charity in 1986, and is now organised and overseen by a dedicated group of local volunteers. The festival includes performances in a variety of genres from rock and blues to country and Celtic, and in the past has attracted such Canadian greats as folk singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and alt-country band Elliott Brood.

Venues across downtown Dawson City. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Dawson City Music Festival
© Dawson City Music Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

4 September 2014 – 14 September 2014

Established in 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF as it is affectionately known, has become one of the world’s leading public film festivals, screening over 300 films from 30 countries each year, with a diverse range of genres including Hollywood blockbusters, international cinema, indie flicks and home-grown comedies. TIFF, which has given many notable and critically acclaimed films such as Downfall, Sideways and Silver Linings Playbook their North American premiere, also features a range of complementary events such as Mavericks, a series of on-stage conversations with film industry experts, and TIFF Kids, a family-friendly series showing amusing and informative children’s films from around the world. The festival also features the Short Cuts Canada section, which screens the best short films from esteemed and up-and-coming Canadian directors.

Venues across Toronto. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival

9 September 2014 – 14 September 2014

Head over to historic Fredericton, New Brunswick in eastern Canada for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival which takes place, aptly, in September each year. The picturesque provincial capital is characterised by its maritime hospitality and has hosted the festival since 1991. The event itself takes place in some of Fredericton’s top cultural venues including local theatre The Playhouse and the bohemian Cedar Tree Café. The six-day long festival attracts around 80,000 people with music to please the most eclectic of tastes, including styles as diverse as Cajun, electric blues and funk. Performances at the 2013 Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival included Warren Haynes, formerly of The Allman Brothers Band, Nova Scotian indie rocker Rich Aucoin and legendary reggae giants The Wailers – and this year’s line-up promises to be just as electrifying.

Venues across downtown Fredericton. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

1 November 2014 – 9 November 2014

The 39th annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place in the picturesque Alberta mountain town of Banff and showcases the very best in environmental, sports and mountain culture-based books, films and documentaries. Spread over nine days, the festival programme features screenings of around 60 different films, an exhibition of mountain art and photography and an art and craft sale featuring mountain-themed items produced by local artisans. The festival also holds guest talks from internationally renowned adventurers which in the past has included Aron Ralston, the man who amputated his own forearm to free himself after a fallen boulder had trapped him in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, and Nando Parrado who survived the 1972 Andes plane crash and managed, alongside Roberto Canessa, to find help for his fellow survivors.

Venues across Banff. For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

Banff Mountain Film
2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Signature Image, Ski Touring Mt. Shuksan | © Grant Gunderson

By Helen Armitage