Why Americans Should Cross The Border For Canada Day

By Natalia Kvitek,

Canadians celebrate their own version of Independence Day, complete with fireworks, fridge’s full of beer and BBQs on Canada Day, July 1st. Why should you be celebrating? If you’re under 21, we remind you that their drinking age is 18 or 19 (depending on the province) but it’s a good time for ALL ages. So pack a weekend bag, your passport and drive a few hours over the border, grab a couple of Molson brews and get ready for a real good time, eh!

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Victoria, British Columbia

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Canada day in Victoria BC
(CC) Courtesy of City of Victoria

Hop the Coho ferry from Port Angeles (yes, the very same from the Twilight novels). It takes two hours and leaves three times daily. This super-chill city of gardens will have loads of free entertainment going on, including folk music, some reggae and a mighty fireworks display. Stop into any pub and sample some local beers like, Phillips Brewing, Vancouver Island Brewery or Lighthouse Brewing Co. Stay in the city before catching the ferry back the next morning.

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Calgary, Alberta

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Calgary, Alberta
(CC) Ryan Reynolds CC BY

Head up to Cowtown! While the stampede doesn’t start until July 4th, Canada Day has long been known as the unofficial kickoff to one of the biggest parties in the West. It’s a 4-hour drive up from the border, but we promise you’ll be in for one of the best times of your life, with plenty of live music and beer tentsoh and, FYI, the Alberta drinking age is 18! Find a place to sleep off that hangover before attempting that long drive back.

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 Regina, Saskatchewan

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Regina, SK
 (CC) Western Canada’s Strongest Man Facebook

A mere two hours north of Montana opens the doors to the Western Canada strongman competition. Drink some beers and cheer on these hunks during a truck pull, a limousine squat and other feats of strength that will make you feel scrawnier than a 10-year-old kid. Headlining the live music stage are Canadian rockers Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason, so get ready to keep chugging those beers well into the night for the fireworks show. If you’re planning on partying hard, don’t drink and drive–sleep it off before turning the key in the ignition.

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Niagara Falls, Ontario

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Niagara Falls Ontario
(CC) John Ryan CC BY

You may as well drive across the bridge to experience Niagara Falls Canada Day celebrations–they host Canada’s longest running fireworks series. Park yourself at Queen Victoria park EARLY (fireworks start at 10 p.m.), get a Timmies run of double-double in (make sure you have the toonies ready) and get ready to watch the light show against the amazing backdrop of the falls. We’re sure the party will be easy to find afterwards, so crash in Canada for the night!

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Montreal, Quebec

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Montreal, QC
(CC) Michael Vesia CC BY

With a drinking age of 18, Montreal is arguably the best party city in Canada. Practice your “bonjours” in either Montreal’s Old Port, the Gay Village or in the hip Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood. Montreal will show you a good time no matter what you’re looking for, but spend at least a few days looking around. Grab some beers at a the dep (convenience store) and see where the night takes you! The biggest crowds will be in Old Montreal and the port watching the buskers and sticking it out for the always impressive Canada Day fireworks show. Finish the night off with a poutine, the best drunk food in existence

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Fredericton, New Brunswick

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Canada Day in Fredericton, NB
(CC) Brennan Schnell CC BY

Fredericton’s Canada Day is essentially a huge block party fueled by awesome music, food vendors, birthday cake and beer! Much beloved Canadian indie bands Hey Rosetta! and Slowcoaster will perform as well as the incredible Rich Aucoin, who will alone make sure your energy levels remain at an optimal sugar-high all night. The city is a two-hour drive from the border crossing in Maine but you might as well stay the night before driving back before breakfast the next morning.