If you have never been to Ontario, Canada get ready: there are some great happenings and events coming up and it will be quite a visit. In addition, Ontario is a really clean, easy-to-travel area with good train service and local hospitality.

MAJOR EVENTS IN ONTARIO 2008-2009:SHAW FESTIVAL (April 1 to November 2, 2008 )The only theatre in the world dedicated to the works of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, the Shaw Festival is located in the historic and charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Productions for the 2008 season include Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession and Getting Married along with the Leonard Bernstein musical Wonderful Town , the Sondheim classic A Little Night Music and Belle Moral by Toronto ’s Ann-Marie Macdonald.

STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (April to November, 2008)This world-renowned theatre festival in Stratford , Ontario features the best in classic Shakespearean theatre as well as contemporary favourites. Productions in 2008 include Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, All’s Well That Ends Well and a one man show entitled Their Reigns Love written by and starring acclaimed actor Simon Callow.

LUMINATO ( June 6 – 15, 2008 ) Toronto’s festival of arts and creativity puts Toronto in a whole new light. Artists working across all disciplines will come together for 10 days of unique collaborations and an incredible showcase of talent, making this festival one of the highlights of the summer events calendar.

PRIDE WEEK ( June 20 – 29, 2008 )Toronto’s Pride Week celebrates the city’s gay, lesbian and queer communities. Week long festivities culminate in the glittering Pride Parade – a joyful sensory assault for over 750,000 spectators; making it one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD (June 26 to August 24, 2008)Witness the ceremonial majesty of the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill, in the nation’s capital.

THE GREAT RENDEZVOUS FESTIVAL ( July 10 – 14, 2008 )This annual event at Fort William, the world’s largest fur trade post, celebrates the anniversary of the first Great Rendezvous, depicting the days of the voyageurs and the fur trade.

CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL (July 30 to September 1, 2008 )Ontario Place is once again host to one of the most unique and exciting displays of Chinese culture and craftsmanship ever to be seen in the Western hemisphere. The Rogers Chinese Lantern Festival lights up Toronto , the only North American city to host the event.

CARIBANA FESTIVAL (July 17 to August 4, 2008 )North America’s largest Caribbean festival is held right in the heart of downtown Toronto . Lakeshore Boulevard shines with sequined splendour as costumed revellers dance to calypso, soca, steel pan and the sounds of the Caribbean!

COLLINGWOOD ELVIS FESTIVAL ( July 24 – 27, 2008)Over 70,000 visitors come to Collingwood, near beautiful Georgian Bay , to pay tribute to Elvis Presley and watch talented impersonators honour the King of Rock and Roll.

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ( September 4 – 13, 2008 )The world’s second largest film festival features over 250 films from around the world. For ten days, Toronto buzzes with public screenings, parties and stargazing, making the festival a favourite among fans, critics and celebrities alike.

NIAGARA WINE FESTIVAL ( September 19 – 28, 2008 )Ontario’s wine region is in for a delicious feast offering an array of wine tastings, vineyard tours, concerts and a street parade. A tribute to Niagara’s 16,000 acres of vineyards, the festival takes place during the annual Niagara grape harvest.

SCOTIABANK NUIT BLANCHE ( October 4, 2008 )Toronto’s arts community and its culture craving citizens take to the streets for an art-filled all-nighter. From sunset to sunrise, Torontonians will encounter the city in a unique way and rediscover Toronto through public art commissions, all-night exhibitions, live performances and creative programs featured throughout the city.

Winter Festival of Lights ( November 8, 2008 to January 5, 2009 )Niagara Falls shines with nearly 2 million lights and over 100 animated light displays during the Winter Festival of Lights. During this two month festival, you’ll witness the spectacular illumination of the Falls themselves along with illuminated night parades, fireworks, children’s shows, the popular Disney parade and Canada ’s largest New Year’s Eve party.

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