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Bucket List Celebrations & Festivals


As a Canadian, I am kicking myself for not being in Toronto for the Raptors Victory party. after winning the NBA Championship, but only rabid fans would come into town, game after game, on the off chance this would be the definitive win.

Fortunately, there are events we can plan for that happen annually or at least regularly but we only need to experience once in a lifetime to capture the joy. The list below contains five items from my life’s bucket list that I’ve already checked off.

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The Canada Concert on the hill from the Ottawa Tourism website.

# 1. Canada Day in Ottawa, July 1. You only have to do this once in your life as the crowds are huge, but the free concerts, entertainment, exhibitions, activities, fireworks and overall feeling of national love are fantastic.  We took our kids the summer before the eldest headed off to university. They’d grown up in a small rural New Brunswick village, so the experience was life changing  It may be the reason they all live there now.

For a list of this years Canada Day activities in Ottawa  visit https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/canada-day.html

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Stock image of the stage at Quartier des Spectacles

#2 Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26 – July 6 Celebrating its 40th year in 2019, it is slated as the Largest Jazz Festival in the World with over 3000 artists from more than 30  countries. It hosts 650 concerts including 450 free concerts on the open air stages in the Quartier des Spectacles.  Colin and I attended this in 1994  while visiting family in nearby St. Bruno. It was unforgettable! Just be a part of this mass of music lovers strolling the streets from stage to stage, stopping in a bars for a beer before moving on with the dancing crowd.

 For a list of this year’s events visit  https://www.montrealjazzfest.com/en-CA#

Hirosaki

Stock photo of Hirosaki Castle

#3 Japan’s Cherry Blossom Festival,  late March to the early of May This is a moving visual feast of blossoms. The blossoms are best in early April in Kyoto and Tokyo but the blossoming moves in a wave of colour up the islands over the month. The azaleas had taken over from the cherry blossoms in Kyoto when we visited in late April and saw the Miyako Odori, a must see the annual performance by all the geishas of Kyoto. We then travelled north to the ruins of Hirosaki Castle where 50 varieties of 3000 cherry trees were in full bloom on its grounds. It was a deeply spiritual experience.

My Japanese Cherry Blossom blog https://thewinetourist.ca/2014/05/07/toasting-the-japanese-cherry-blossom-festival-with-canadian-wine/

 

Olympics

Stock image from the London Olympics

 

#4 Any Olympic Games  Most of us choose to see the Olympic Games wherever they are held through television coverage but once in your life you should try to be there in person, Whether it’s for the big opening or closing celebrations or just to stroll the venues and attend individual events. It’s a whole different feeling being there, with a stadium of people from around the world rooting for their team be they superstars or underdogs. You are part of the athletes’ journey. You are part of the collective energy that fuels their efforts. The TV coverage has a national focus on only our athletes. When you are there, everyone has their moment to shine. I still remember the Montreal Olympics. Canada failed to win a single gold medal, but it is still a golden memory.

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Me after the Silom water fights

#5. Thailand’s New Year festival Songkran April 13,  Songkran begins with a religious ceremony when Thais and visitors alike go to the temple to have a small amount of paste dabbed on their faces to remind them of earth and are sprinkled with a dipper of water to cleanse away the bad luck of the old year. After that, it becomes the biggest water festival you will ever experience. We were in Bangkok for the Silom water fights. Revellers crowd ta four-mile street to celebrate armed with super soakers, buckets of water and pots of paste.  It was fun, wet and wild. Considering the temperatures were around 42 degrees Celsius, the water was a total blessing. When we returned to our hotel, soaked to our skins, covered in paste and giggling from a wild tuk-tuk water pistol chase, our hotel staff welcomed us with us “Sa was di bi mai. Happy New Year and thank you for playing with us!” then they splashed us with another dipper of water.

What events are on your bucket list?  Please, share them, past or future. in the comments below.

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