Travel Guide to Oktoberfest in Canada
By: Tiasha Chatterjee
Although it may have originated in Germany, Oktoberfest is now widely associated with beer, lederhosen, and an excessive amount of bratwurst. Oktoberfest is a significant event in Canada. To commemorate the Bavarian celebration, both locals and travelers from Canada turn out to celebrate Oktoberfest in large numbers.
There are many places to celebrate Oktoberfest across Canada if you want to participate in the festivities. The top annual festivals have been chosen by our team. Prost!
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What is the Oktoberfest in Canada like?
Oktoberfest is a festival that began in Germany but has since extended throughout the world, including the Great White North. Some locations hosted Oktoberfest simply for the experience, while others did so for cultural or historical reasons.
When tempted to consider attending Oktoberfest in Germany, the cost of a plane ticket, especially for a brief visit, makes it seem like a silly idea. But those are the times when you wish there was an Oktoberfest nearby so you could enjoy the festivities as the Bavarians do.
Since Germany has a long history in Canada, we are fortunate to have both established and more recent Oktoberfest celebrations to suit our tastes. While Oktoberfest in Canada is back, here are a few suggestions on how you might celebrate it close to home.
Additionally, you will get details on how to take in the German Beer Festival in authentic Canadian fashion!
Food & Drink during Oktoberfest
At a German beer festival, the latter is largely self-explanatory in terms of food and drink.
You may be sure to find the German or Ontario beer to sate your craving at this establishment, which serves everything from traditional Bavarian beers like Paulaner and Erdinger to beer from Ontario producers.
Regarding the cuisine you should taste at an Oktoberfest, the following is a list of some of the traditional dishes you can find both in Munich and during an Oktoberfest in Ontario:
A traditional dish served at Oktoberfest is schnitzel. Schnitzel is traditionally made from veal chops (also known as "wiener schnitzel"), although it can also be produced from chicken or pork chops. It is made by seasoning a cutlet with a variety of seasonings to create a delicious and crunchy surface, then frying it. Without it, no celebration of German beer would be complete.
If schnitzel on a bun is available where you are, it also makes a terrific lunch that can be readily transported if you are moving from place to place or around a tent. No matter how you want your schnitzel, it always comes with a side of potatoes, which may or may not be creamy.
Bratwurst, or sausage from Oktoberfest
A typical German sausage, also known as a Bratwurst, is a must-have item on any Oktoberfest menu. No matter whatever German beer festival you attend, this is a dish from Oktoberfest that you are certain to see.
A bratwurst is an excellent food choice when you are toasting with friends and is made of a blend of herbs and spices that only the family recipe keeper or your preferred local butcher knows.
Of the aforementioned Oktoberfest dishes, the typical large soft pretzel is probably the most Instagrammable and famous. It is the perfect snack for any occasion.
These are assured to be present at every Oktoberfest in Ontario. They are made with soft, supple bread, customarily slathered in butter, and served either plain or with sizable bits of salt.
Actually, Oktoberfest would not be the same without some pretzels!
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The live music played at Oktoberfest is in the traditional Bavarian Polka style. While some tracks are instrumental, others are more lyrical and feature well-known voices.
"Ein Prosit," which translates to "I Salute You," is a favorite tune that you are likely to hear. Give it a listen before your first visit so you can get an idea of what to expect and know it when it plays because it is played repeatedly throughout a festival and loudly sung by individuals who are familiar with the song. Even better, you can master the lyrics!
There are plenty of additional timeless songs to mention. When you go to Oktoberfest, no matter what songs are playing, you will want to jump up and dance or sing along. And if you are unable to perform one of those things, just pretending will be excellent!
Outfits for Oktoberfest
The authentic Oktoberfest Lederhosen or Dirndl, which are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "Oktoberfest costumes," are something that Germans and German Canadians take very seriously.
They see it as a garment honoring traditional Bavarian culture and history rather than a costume, and they consider it to be an essential part of Oktoberfest.
Women dress in dirndls for Oktoberfest. It is crucial to keep in mind that a classic Dirndl should be elegant and respectable. The "sexy" costume variation of the classic garb is not acceptable attire for an Oktoberfest in Munich, and the same is true for any Oktoberfest in Toronto.
Typically, a dress is worn over a white or light-coloured shirt when wearing a dirndl. Lederhosen are typically worn by men and include a white shirt layered under a pair of overall-style shorts, usually accessorized with a hat.
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Unsurprisingly, Toronto is the location to take part in an excellent Oktoberfest. The festival typically lasts for 2 days and is held at Ontario Place in a large tent and an outdoor Bavarian village.
The first Oktoberfest to be held in Toronto happened at this facility, which opened its doors in 2012. Toronto Oktoberfest takes place over 3 days in late September, from a Thursday to a Saturday.
Tickets are available in the levels of a single entrance, table for ten, VIP entry, and a VIP table for ten. Single entrance tickets start at $16 - 26 for the date and time you want, and they increase from there, depending on the time and date you want.
They had a deal with Hotel X the previous year. If you stayed at Hotel X, you could receive a weekend pass to the tent for free for the remainder of the weekend. It's only across the street. One of Toronto's many top luxury experiences is staying at this hotel.
Around 5,000 revelers wearing their best dirndls and lederhosen attend the festival every year. The biggest Oktoberfest in the city, the official Toronto Oktoberfest features food, music, and beer from Bavaria.
Before a day of festivity at the Volksfest, the year's celebration begins with the tapping of the keg. Most of the Bavarian party goers are crowned in the dance, strongman, and a best dressed competition is held!
Visitors can have the best Oktoberfest pigtails at the Braid Bar, and the more competitive ones can participate in a barrel rolling tournament.
Although Oktoberfest is known for its beer, foodies from all over the world also adore the event. You can sample regional specialities from Bavaria, like Weisswurst, Schnitzel, and many pretzel varieties.
Festival date: Typically, it occurs between the end of September and the beginning of October.
Make sure to stop by and see the Edmonton Oktoberfest if you are in Alberta at the time. This festival not only honors genuine Bavarian brewers but also highlights Edmonton's other regional breweries and best eateries.
Visitors can sample locally produced craft beer and eat at some of Edmonton's best restaurants, which prepare classic Bavarian fare in addition to specialities that are uniquely Edmontonian.
But at the Expo Center at Northlands, just like at the best Oktoberfest celebrations, there will be music, dancers, and games for everyone to enjoy.
More than 400 different kinds of beer were offered on-site in prior years. So start sampling immediately to broaden your knowledge of beers!
Festival date: This event typically occurs between the end of September and the beginning of October.
The Oktoberfest Ottawa is unique from other Canadian Oktoberfest celebrations since it doubles as a big music festival.
Schteev and the Lederhosers, the most well-known Oompah band in Ottawa, performed at the 2016 festival, which was held at Clarke Fields Park in Barrhaven, Ontario. Their concerts are renowned for the genuine Bavarian music, instruments, and well-known Oktoberfest tunes they perform. The well-known Lemon Cash, an Ottawa-based five-piece indie rock fusion band, was added to the lineup last year.
This year, the Myers Volkswagen Auto Haus Tent had seven craft beers in addition to the amazing music. The festival's final statistics showed that there were 5650 contented guests, 275 songs and dances, and 16,800 beers consumed!
Festival date: This event typically occurs between the end of September and the beginning of October.
The largest Oktoberfest event outside of Germany is held annually for 9 days in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. The event, which is billed as Canada's largest Bavarian festival, often draws more than 700,000 festival-goers over the course of nine days.
Throughout the event, you can also stop by 17 German-Canadian clubs or festhallens. German beer, food, and traditional music and dance are all combined at these festhallens.
The festival provides a variety of family-friendly and cultural events, while the celebrations centered around beer draw the majority of guests. The largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Canada is put on by the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and spectators can enjoy the colorful floats, performers, and bands. It happens on Monday, October 10th, this year.
There are also farmers' markets, a 5k race, and an Oktoberfest golf experience, to mention a few. There is lots of food available at this festival, so don't just fill up on beer! The OktoberFEAST event capitalizes on the food truck craze by drawing some of the most cutting-edge restaurants in the area. The fact that the public is welcome to attend is an extra plus.
The Festival runs from October 7 - 15.
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One of the best festivities in Canada, the 7th annual Penticton Oktoberfest in British Columbia is expected to cram a lot of fun into a single day.
To experience the best German beer has to offer, visit the Penticton Trade and Convention Center. Since the participating brewers compete with one another to produce a unique beer each year, the beers created for this Oktoberfest are unique.
In addition to the enormous beer tents and the vast amounts of German beer offered, visitors can take pleasure in mouthwatering food and traditional German drinking music.
Since the festival's revival in 2010, it has not merely imported Oktoberfest beers like those served in Munich, which makes this Oktoberfest special. It offers locally produced wine and beer, which is entirely appropriate given that the event is held in the renowned Okanagan wine region.
Festival day is October 22.
The next best thing to attending an Oktoberfest in Germany is to celebrate this legendary Bavarian event in Ontario! Even though it may not be well-known worldwide, experiencing Oktoberfest in Ontario is a fantastic experience.
In fact, if you are not in central Europe, more specifically Germany, an Ontario Oktoberfest is going to be the most you can hope for.
The traditional German customs are upheld, yet they are combined with contemporary Ontario touches. Everything just keeps getting better and better, just like our beer in Ontario!
The best Oktoberfest fare, music, and Ontario beer are available in a number of locations this fall. Here is a list that includes some information about what you can do and where to go for more specifics.
Oktoberfest in London, Ontario
The Western Fair District Oktoberfest lasts for 2 days and is a little more recent in its history, having held festivities for four years.
In the middle of October, this Oktoberfest location is held at the Festhalle (also known as the Carousel Room) in the Western Fair District. Tickets cost $8 to $11 and can be purchased online or at the door.
At this place, visitors can witness polka performances, pick up some basic polka moves, or enjoy some timeless polka music.
Oktoberfest in Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario
With a beginning in 1969, this Oktoberfest is the oldest in Ontario. To honor the customs of the German Canadians with deep roots in the area, the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest was founded.
Since then, it has continued, and in October it lasts for 8 days. This event was started and has since expanded to become the biggest Bavarian celebration in North America. Each year, thousands of people visit their Festhallen.
Speaking of Festhallen, this German beer festival has grown to include a number of Festhallen across the region. As a result, you should do some research beforehand to get a sense of the kinds of halls, times, and tickets that are offered so that you can choose the Oktoberfest location that's best for you.
Kitchener, Ontario, was originally known as Berlin, Ontario, so you know the German history here is as authentic as it gets. This is a big reason why many people believe it to be the best Oktoberfest in Ontario.
History Of The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
The biggest Bavarian celebration in North America, Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo, debuted on October 14, 1969, with a ceremonial keg tapping.
The local German club had previously held a scaled-down Oktoberfest. Being the business-minded Canadians they are, they recognised this as a fantastic opportunity to launch a much larger tourism event to draw tourists to Kitchener-Waterloo.
Unsurprisingly, the local German community warmly backed this endeavor and even brought on board a tourist official from Munich, Germany. The Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo was launched with just $200 and perhaps a lot of hope that everything would go smoothly.
They had drawn nearly 75,000 people in only 5 days, who consumed 50,000 pounds of sausages and drank 57,000 gallons of beer. Today, Canada's largest Thanksgiving festival is Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo.
When, Where, And How Much Is Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest?
Today, Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo is held yearly over 9 days and features Canada's most renowned Thanksgiving Day procession. But first, let us clarify: Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of every October. The Canadian Thanksgiving weekend's Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo begins on the Friday and runs through the following Saturday.
In contrast to Oktoberfest in Munich, which is held in a single location, Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo is spread out around the city. Love one another; it is Canadian culture! The official center of Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo is the Kitchener Willkommen Platz, which is situated in the city's central business district.
This hamlet in the style of Bavaria houses a festhalle as well as daily entertainment, activities, food and drink, souvenirs, and various visitor information. The German method is to spread the beer out.
The remainder of Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo is spread throughout 17 festhallen and more than 40 cultural events taking place all over the city. While each festhallen offers guests a distinctive experience, they are all run by regional German clubs and offer food, beer (and possibly other beverages as well) as well as traditional German music and dancing.
Depending on when you go and which festhallen you plan to drink in, the price of Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo varies.
What To Expect Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo
Although the Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo is not as well-known as the one in Munich, it is still the biggest and most important one in North America. An average of 700,000 people attend Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo every year to celebrate beer, German heritage, and, ostensibly, giving thanks.
The only significant parade that is televised in Canada is Oktoberfest Kitchener-spectacular Waterloo's Thanksgiving Day procession, which is the talk of the nation. And that is definitely a parade we can get behind with a cast of characters including Onkel Hans, Tante Frieda, and their comical beer stein nephews.
Special Events In The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
Kitchener-Oktoberfest Waterloo's is jam-packed with unique events of all kinds. The Miss Oktoberfest gala and crowning, an Oktoberfest fashion show, an ax-throwing competition, a barrel race, and my personal favorite, the Media Meister, in which regional radio stations compete to produce Oktoberfest versions of well-known songs from their respective stations, are among the other events.
The Oktoberfest Golf Experience, a 5k Fun Run, the Tour de Hans, and yes, even an Oktoberfest bodybuilding competition, are among the sports and fitness events that Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo also hosts. Show off those stein-lifting muscles if you want!
Therefore, if you want to enjoy Oktoberfest but find yourself on the other side of the globe, have no fear - Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo has the best beer!
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Is it really October already in Canada?
When you read this, keep in mind that it will never hurt to start thinking about your Ontario Oktoberfest experience. You should plan soon since, particularly during Oktoberfest Kitchener-Waterloo, events fill up years in advance.
Additionally, you need to plan. You should, at the very least, begin training a few months in advance by consuming liters of German beer!
Enjoy the beaches in Ontario if it is summer. When October arrives, make sure to head to the closest Oktoberfest and party like you are in Bavaria — there are plenty of places in this province to do just that!
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