February in Canada is more than just a bridge between the New Year's resolutions we're still trying to keep and the anticipation of spring. It's a month brimming with unique celebrations, awareness weeks, and traditions that bring Canadians together, despite the chilly weather. Here's a whirlwind tour of what makes February in Canada so special, from coast to coast.
February 2 – 19: Chinook Blast: Calgary's Winter Extravaganza
Chinook Blast, Calgary's premier winter festival running from February 2 to 19, 2024, is a celebration of art, culture, sports, and culinary delights that light up the city during the cold months. Transforming Calgary into a vibrant spectacle, the festival features dazzling light and art installations by local artists, thrilling winter sports activities including the high-octane Nitrocross, and culinary tours along Stephen Avenue. With music performances that span genres and cultures, and markets showcasing Indigenous and local craftsmanship, Chinook Blast offers an inclusive mix of free and ticketed events, making it a must-attend for both locals and visitors seeking to experience the warmth and vibrancy of Calgary's community spirit in winter.
February 3-12: Carnaval de Quebec
Quebec City becomes a winter wonderland for the Carnaval de Quebec, the world's largest winter carnival. This vibrant festival is a showcase of snow sculptures, ice palaces, and parades. Don't miss the chance to meet Bonhomme Carnaval, the jolly snowman ambassador of the festivities. From thrilling night parades to the iconic canoe race on the icy St. Lawrence River, the Carnaval is a testament to the joyous spirit of Quebecers and their love for winter.
February 15: National Flag Day
On February 15, Canada proudly celebrates National Flag Day, commemorating the day in 1965 when the red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill. This day is a tribute to the symbol of Canadian identity, unity, and pride. Across the country, schools and communities host ceremonies and events to honour the flag and what it represents — a reminder of the diversity and unity that shapes Canada.
February 17-20: Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a delightful opportunity for bird enthusiasts and families to engage in citizen science. For four days, Canadians are encouraged to observe and count birds in their backyards, local parks, or natural areas. This global event helps scientists collect valuable data on bird populations. Grab your binoculars and contribute to conservation efforts, all while enjoying the beauty of Canadian wildlife.
February 19: Family Day
In many provinces, February 19 is Family Day, a statutory holiday dedicated to celebrating the importance of families and family life to people and their communities. It's a day off to enjoy activities and events with loved ones, from outdoor adventures to cozy indoor gatherings. Family Day is a reminder of the joy and warmth that family brings, especially during the cold winter months.
February 28: Pink Shirt Day
Ending the month on a note of solidarity and kindness, Pink Shirt Day is an anti-bullying initiative that has gained momentum across Canada. Originating from a Nova Scotia incident where students wore pink shirts in support of a peer bullied for wearing pink, this day encourages everyone to stand against bullying by donning pink. Schools, workplaces, and communities come together to raise awareness and foster environments of inclusivity and respect.
February in Canada is a mosaic of celebrations, awareness, and traditions that reflect the country's diverse culture and values. From the whimsical prediction of spring's arrival on Groundhog Day to the profound message of Pink Shirt Day, each event adds colour to the Canadian winter, reminding us of the strength found in community, kindness, and the joy of togetherness.