Tournament of Roses Parade - Pasadena, California, US: This parade, and the following Rose Bowl college football game, have been American New Year’s traditions for several years.
Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service, US: This holiday, which takes place on the Monday closest to Dr King’s January 15 birthday, was officially observed by all 50 American states for the first time in 2000. Recently, this holiday has also become a day of volunteer service in honor of the civil rights leader assassinated in 1968.
Gasparilla Pirate Festival - Tampa, Florida, US: This Tampa festival is held in late January to celebrate the Spanish pirate known as Gasparilla, who operated in the area. Highlights include a mock invasion of Tampa by Gasparilla and his crew, followed by a parade.
Quebec Winter Carnival - Quebec City, Canada: Over one million people attend this 17-day long winter carnival, the world’s largest, each year. The carnival’s official ambassador is Bonhomme Carnaval, a large snowman with black buttons, a red cap, and an arrowhead sash.
Groundhog Day, Canada and the US: Celebrated on February 2, this is the date when Canadian and Americans hope the groundhog won’t see its shadow, since that means winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow, winter continues for another six weeks.
Mardi Gras - New Orleans, Louisiana, US: Although parties and parades traditionally begin on January 6, the carnival New Orleans residents refer to as Mardi Gras occurs 46 days before Easter, the first day of Lent. This is one of the world’s most famous festivals.
Iditarod - Anchorage, Alaska, US: This annual sled dog race, known as ‘the last great race on Earth,’ begins in Anchorage and ends 1,100 miles later in Nome. Competitors pass some of the world’s most beautiful and unforgiving terrain along the way.
St Patrick’s Day, Canada and the US: Canadians and Americans celebrate this March 17 holiday in honor of Ireland’s patron saint by wearing green clothing and attending parades. People not wearing green are traditionally pinched.
St Stupid’s Day Parade - San Francisco, California, US: This parade by the First Church of the Last Laugh marches through San Francisco’s financial district each April Fool’s Day at noon as a satire on the religion of business. Marchers chant, ‘No more chanting’ and stage events in front of corporate buildings along the way.
Masters Tournament - Augusta, Georgia, US: This is the first major golf tournament held each year and is best known by the famous green jacket presented to the winner each year. Last year’s winners traditionally put the jacket on the next winner at the tournament’s end.
Memorial Day, US: Americans observe this holiday on the last Monday of May to honor the soldiers who died while serving their country.
Victoria Day, Canada: Canadians celebrate this holiday on May 24 or the last Monday beforehand in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Victoria Day is also the unofficial beginning of Canada’s summer tourist season.
Los Angeles Pride Festival - Los Angeles, California, US: This three-day festival held in West Hollywood Park includes several shows, parties, and a parade down Santa Monica boulevard to celebrate the gay spirit. Over 350,000 people attend each year.
Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival - Ottawa, Canada: Over 5,500 boaters and 65,000 spectators attend this annual event celebrating a 2,400 year-old Chinese ritual to guarantee plentiful crops. The race also doubles as a fundraiser for local charities, raising over CD$1.2 million to date.
Canada Day, Canada: Canadians celebrate this holiday on July 1, the day the country was first formed in 1867. Most Canadian cities hold parades and firework displays on Canada Day.
Independence Day, US: Americans celebrate this holiday on July 4, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Parades, fireworks, and baseball games are just a few of the events held on Independence Day.
Calgary Stampede - Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Known as ‘the greatest outdoor show on Earth,’ this 10-day event is one of Canada’s largest festivals. Highlights include an opening parade, a midway, concerts, and the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. Locals and tourists alike dress in western clothing during the stampede.
New France Festival - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: This Quebec City festival held in early August is a tribute to 17th century New France. Highlights include traditional French food, parades, concerts, and period re-enactments.
Seafood Festival - Miquelon, Saint Pierre and Miquelon : Held on August 10, over 450 people attend this festival and taste local seafood and French desserts made by volunteer cooks.
Canadian National Exhibition - Toronto, Canada: Held during the 18 days before Labor Day, Canada’s largest annual fair features a carnival, animal shows, concerts, air shows, and much more. Over 1.3 million people attend each year.
Labor Day - Canada and the US: Canadians, Americans, and Bermudians observe Labor Day on the first Monday in September. Labor Day traditionally marks the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year for children.
Great Canadian Beer Festival - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Over 7,000 people from around the world attend this festival featuring food, entertainment, and samples from over 45 Canadian breweries.
Adirondack Balloon Festival - Glens Falls, New York, US: The sight of 100 balloons taking off in sunrise is worth the 05:00 start time. This festival also features music, aircraft displays, and kite flying.
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest - Ontario, Canada: Over 700,000 visitors attend this nine-day festival - based on the original German Oktoberfest - in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo. As the largest Oktoberfest outside Germany, the opening parade is televised nationally on Canadian Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving, Canada: Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October with fall activities, one last cottage weekend, and a big family meal.
Halloween, Canada and the US: Canadians and Americans celebrate Halloween on October 31. Children trick-or-treat door-to-door for candy while older people attend costume parties, ghost tours, or bonfires. Irish immigrants first brought Halloween to North America in the 19th century.
New York City Marathon, US: The New York City Marathon, the world’s largest marathon, attracts over 37,000 competitors annually, who run through all five New York City boroughs.
Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day, Canada and the US: Known as Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada and Bermuda, this November 11 holiday honors the sacrifices made by soldiers during wartime. Canadians traditionally wear red poppies during the two weeks before Remembrance Day.
Thanksgiving, US: Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November by enjoying a big family meal. Thanksgiving is also America’s busiest travel period and traditionally marks the beginning of the winter holiday season. December
New Year’s Eve in Times square - New York, US: This is North America’s biggest and most famous New Year’s celebration. Over a billion people worldwide tune in to see the New Year’s Ball descend from the flagpole in bustling Times square each year.