The Canadian Celtic Celebration is a three-day festival that happens in late June each year in Thunder Bay. It is an event for the community that brings in top notch Celtic musicians and dancers from across Canada, the USA, the British Isles and Ireland.
The main event of the Canadian Celtic Celebration is the Feature Concert which happens on the Saturday evening at the TBCA. At this show you will be transported to magical places by the hauntingly beautiful Celtic airs, so evocative of the Celtic landscapes, and by the high energy jigs and reels masterfully executed by some of the top musicians in the field. Dazzling traditional dancers of various Celtic styles will knock your socks off.
Each year Pierre Schryer, the festival’s founder and artistic director, brings in different guest artists for you to enjoy. This keeps the Canadian Celtic Celebration fresh and exciting from year to year.
In addition to watching these fine artists perform, the festival integrates into the community in a way that is truly a unique opportunity for Thunder Bay. Friday night is a Ceilidh Dance which has become the most popular inter-generational event in town. A master caller will lead you through contra, circle and square dances to keep you laughing, learning and full of good times - all to the live music of the guest artists of the Canadian Celtic Celebration. No experience is needed to come and try this popular pastime for all ages.
This is a weekend you’ll want to mark on your calendars!
How did it all start? Here is a bit of history:
In 1999, Internationally renowned champion Canadian fiddler Pierre Schryer create the first Canadian Celtic Celebration as a single show event in his native Sault Ste. Marie to showcase the spirit and authenticity of Celtic roots and traditional music. As artistic producer, Pierre's vision was to reach out to the communities of Northern Ontario to offer world-class entertainment and to influence and inspire people through the joie de vivre of this music. The show enjoyed 11 years in Sault Ste. Marie as well as performances in Marathon, Sudbury and Parry Sound. The celebration has taken place in Thunder Bay since 2002.
Today, the Canadian Celtic Celebration is presented exclusively in Thunder Bay by Pierre and his wife, the TBSO’s prized trumpeter, Merrie Klazek. The new format of a the three-day festival kicked off in 2010, and Thunder Bay and its surrounding communities have really taken to it as it continues to grow each year. The vision is still to present high-calibre world class entertainment to the community, as well as to enrich the community through interactive involvement and other elements such as featuring young local artists alongside the invited guests.
Of course one of the highlights each year is hearing the invited guest musicians and dancers in collaboration with Pierre Schryer, our local ambassador of Celtic music and Canadian iconic gem. In addition to its offering to the public, the Canadian Celtic Celebration enriches the creativity of the performing artists who collaborate, inspire, and influence each other during this weekend of music making.
Pierre and Merrie plan to continue to nurture the development of the Canadian Celtic Celebration as a premier cultural offering that radiates beyond the thrill of the performance, by inspiring local Celtic enthusiasts to continue learning about this wonderful music throughout the year. Other events such as additional Ceilidh dances and traditional music sessions are offered to sustain the momentum of the Canadian Celtic Celebration. We appreciate the ongoing generous support of the Ontario Arts Council and the numerous sponsors who make the Canadian Celtic Celebration a success.