September 14, 2021

The Strangest Events You Did Not Know Existed During COVID

Showpass, an event discovery platform, recently conducted a study investigating the top events from July 2020-July 2021 across each Canadian province and the results were fascinating! Surprisingly, concerts were among the lowest searched events while food-based searches were prominent in the data. Showpass dug into this further to see what all the hype was about.

Showpass' Approach

To discover event-goer’s interests, Showpass used the well-known keyword research site Semrush and analyzed sheets of data from every Canadian province, showing results from July 2020 - July 2021. Whether this data truly showed the most attended and desired events or just primarily showed the most searched events, the findings indicate some interesting trends in the events industry nonetheless.

Festivals Are Ruling The Event World

Showpass collected data on six broad event categories: festivals, concerts, shows, competitions, tours, and attractions. Across these categories, festivals were the most searched, whereas concerts were the second last. Is this lower result due to COVID or could this be an indication live music is no longer the giant of events? Are attendees looking for more variety?

Food Festivals

Food populated Canadian festival searches across the majority of provinces . Check out the delicious results below:


Beer festivals ranked as the most popular food search, and Albertans took the crown for hunting these down. Some leading beer festivals in Alberta include the Calgary International Beerfest and Edmonton Craft Beer Festival, which are noted as two of Canada’s largest beer festivals.

A Canadian classic also ranked high - maple syrup. Did you know there is such a thing as maple syrup popcorn, pie, cocktails, and butter? No wonder there is a festival for it. Ontario appeared to be the most interested in maple syrup festivals with Nova Scotia, Quebec, and New Brunswick also ranking high.

Data revealed garlic festivals appeared across multiple provinces, but Ontario folks especially love their garlic! They host over eight different garlic festivals a year. From farmers markets to small towns to the well-known Niagra, you can find garlic festivals across the majority of Ontario.

Seafood and fish related festivals also stood out with many of the searches originating from PEI. A notable search in this category was the “Michael Smith Food Festival”, also known as “PEI Fall Flavours Festival”. This festival features Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs. He has hosted cooking shows seen on Food Network Canada, has a best-selling cookbook and is a business owner. If you have not been down to this festival yet, the results show it’s a must-see.

It seems like everyone had food on their brain during the pandemic! With limited options to get out of the house, it is no wonder food remained a constant in peoples lives. Survey data mentioned “cooking, sharing, experimenting [with food]” can bring joy to lives and an easy way for people to connect.

This research also notes, how individuals turn to comfort food during stressful and uncertain times, making it more clear why food searches were of interest during this past year. CNBC mentioned that during the pandemic, people “expanded their palates with new flavors and gravitated toward premium items as an indulgence”.

It is safe to say we are all in on this trend - delicious fun with friends? Serve us up a plate. Most searches were defined by niche food groups for a festival rather than all-encompassing food festivals. It looks like Canadians like to go all-in on their favourite foods. A passion and desire for shared food and discovering cultural plates could be on the rise. We want to leave readers with a question - if you could choose one food festival to come to Canada, what would be your top choice?

More Data Collected

When looking at data from all provinces, it is important to note data in the territories will appear lower based on reduced search volumes.


About Showpass

Established in 2014 in Calgary, Canada, Showpass is a global leader in event technology, primary ticketing and distribution and the mixed delivery (live, virtual and streamed) of experiences for tens of thousands of event hosts. Showpass provides access to global distribution and discovery channels including Facebook's native ticketing, Google Reserve, and a proprietary publishers network. Showpass creates solutions for complex events, large organizations, and high-volume event producers and is proud to serve millions of customers every year. To find out more, visit Showpass.com.


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