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Big River Festival | Brockville August 21-30, 2020

Tall Ships Brockville

Information about the Brockville Tall Ships Festival that happens every 3 years, and the Big River Festival which is on every summer

Big River Festival

Event Postponed

The 2020 Big River Festival will be postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19. Please check back for details and more information as we prepare to bring our event back to Brockville’s waterfront.

Below is some of our 2019 information if you are curious what it is all about:

2019 was the inaugural Big River Festival from August 23-September 1, 2019. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@bigriverbrockville) for updates and announcements.

The Big River Festival is a week long celebration of our waterfront community with events happening at all of our waterfront attractions and throughout our parks. The Festival will be a celebration of life in the 1000 Islands on the mighty St. Lawrence River and all the attributes of living in a river city.

Below you will find information on what we did in 2019 to use as a sample of the type of activities we will have next year.

Brockville Big River 2019 Festival Schedule:

2019 Brockville Big River Festival calendar

Click here to download a printable calendar of events 

Guided Walking Tours with the Brockville Museum

August 22 & 23, 2019
Brockville Museum, 5 Henry Street

Brockville’s Criminal Past Walking Tours – Thursdays 3 p.m. & Fridays 7 p.m. (June 20 – August 23)

Explore Brockville’s criminal past on the Brockville Museum’s downtown walking tour. Hear some of the curious accounts from trials held at the local courthouse; learn about one of the largest bank heists in Canadian history, and discover exactly what happened to John Simpson’s skin, among other true stories.

Experienced and entertaining historical interpreters will be your hosts on this 90 minute journey. Tickets are only $8 per person and are available for purchase through SNAP’D tickets or in person at the Brockville Museum. Parental discretion is advised. All tours begin and end at the Museum (5 Henry Street, Brockville ON).

Historic Waterfront Walking Tours – Thursdays 7 p.m. & Fridays 3 p.m. (June 20 – August 23)

The St. Lawrence River has always held a special place in Brockville’s history. Once our industrial core, our shores have been transformed into the city’s recreational heart. Let one of the Brockville Museum’s entertaining and informed historical interpreters tell you some of the fascinating stories about our treasured waterfront.

Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length. Tickets are only $8 per person and are available for purchase through SNAP’D tickets or in person at the Brockville Museum. All tours begin and end at the Museum (5 Henry Street, Brockville ON).


Canine Watersports Canada: Canadian Dock Jumping Championships

August 23-25, 2019
Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday 8am-5pm; Sunday 9am-3:30pm
Hardy Park

Canine Watersports Canada is wet, wild, and most of all, wonderfully wholesome entertainment for every member of the family. A typical event features a dog-and-handler team atop a 36-foot dock, adjacent a 45-foot-long pool filled with water. Dogs fly through the air and land in the water with a dramatic—and occasionally audience-drenching—splash, after which the longest jumper is deemed the winner in several disciplines and divisions.

During the weekend, we will feature the Canadian Dock Jumping Championships, which highlights and reward those teams who have worked hard all season to become eligible to compete with the best in their division. Throughout the event we will be awarding the top 3 in each discipline, with beautiful jade maple leaf trophies, as well as rosettes. On Sunday we will be crowning CANADA’S 2019 ELITE CHAMPION – otherwise known as “the dog who can do it all”.

For those of you who would like to bring your dog to this event and give dock jumping a TRY, our dock will be open to you at specific times throughout the entire weekend!


Brockville Farmers’ Market

August 24, 29, 31 & Sept 1, 2019
Market Street West

Locally grown produce and meats, local honey and maple syrup, local arts and crafts, home decor, clothing and more. Proud to offer 100% local produce!


Brockville Beachfest

August 25th, 2019: 10am-4pm
St. Lawrence Park

Come and enjoy an afternoon with your family and friends in our beautiful city. Free family fun and entertainment!

  • 10am Church in the park with The Pier Christian Church
  • 12pm – 4pm Free activities and entertainment

Main stage entertainment from our community, different games and activities put on by different groups from Brockville including a sand castle building contest, face painting, art, scavenger hunt, volleyball tournament.  Other amazing things include the Brockville Fire trucks, a petting zoo and bouncy castles. Or just come enjoy the great beach and enjoy a swim!

Free popcorn and cotton candy! Other food options will be available for purchase.

Our goal is to bring community together, please come and join us.

  • 12noon: Nathan Hardy
  • 1pm: Mark Bergman
  • 2pm: The Rifle & The Writer
  • 3pm: Josee Brault Trio

Check out Beachfest on facebook by clicking here

Sunday Concerts in the Park

August 25th, 2019: 6:30pm
Hardy Park

Chris Coyea and Alex Fleuriau-Chateau with the Great Music Guys.

Bring a lawn chair and enjoy live music by local, talented musicians in Hardy Park.

WPBS TV Screening: “Great Lakes Now” + Starry Night

August 26th, 2019: 6pm
The Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing, 6 Broad Street

WPBS TV is pleased to be offering a special free screening of an episode of “Great Lakes Now” in the theatre at the Aquatarium during the Big River Festival.

Join us for a free screening of Great Lakes Now episode, “Ships and Shipwrecks” on Monday, August 26 at 6pm at the Aquatarium during the Big River Brockville in Brockville, Ontario.

The Detroit Public Television Great Lakes Bureau’s Great Lakes Now series is made up of 30-minute episodes reporting on the world’s largest system of freshwater, with in-depth coverage of the environmental, economic and political issues that impact the lakes and the people who use, cherish and protect them. In this episode of Great Lakes Now, viewers are introduced to the CSL Welland, the series of locks that allow ships to bypass Niagara Falls and the men who work on board.

Hear opening remarks from new WPBS President and General Manager, Mark Prasuhn, catch the screening before the premiere on Tuesday, August 27, and enjoy light refreshments.

Event is free, but pre-registration is suggested. Register online at wpbstv.org/tickets.

Guests will be welcomed at their leisure during the event on a first come, first served basis to visit our 4th floor Pilot House to look up as we explore the galaxy and planets – like any astronaut would! The presentation explores both our solar system and highlights of what’s visible in the night sky on the evening of your show. This tour will include constellations, planets, the moon, colliding galaxies, an exploding star, glowing nebulae, star clusters and planetary transits. An exciting journey into space based on realistic computer generated, large formatted images that are projected on the Aquatarium’s planetarium. Facilitated by Paul Bullock, bringing with him a career of teaching here in Brockville at Thousand Islands Secondary School. Paul is also a long-time astronomy enthusiast.

Save your seat: wpbstv.org/tickets

More about the venue: www.aquatarium.ca

Film Screening: Maiden

August 27th, 2019: 2pm & 7pm
Brockville Arts Centre, 235 King Street West

The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. Watch the trailer for Maiden here.

Presented by Film Brockville

$10/person (includes HST)

Big River Night on Blockhouse Island

August 27th, 2019: 5:30-8:00pm
Tunnel Plaza on Blockhouse Island Parkway

Enjoy a free, family-friendly evening of entertainment to celebrate our beautiful waterfront. Live performers as well as kids activities and face painters outside of the tunnel entrance will entertain, and demonstrations on the river from local clubs will showcase what we love about being a river city.

Performances will include:

Activities will include:

  • Face painting
  • Pirate ship painting with art INDEED:  Ahoy mini pirates, we are about to set sail on the river of creativity. Are ye land lovers ready to get your sea legs ready to build and create the most captivating boat these waters have ever seen? Then find the art INDEED booth and get painting!
  • Watch the Brockville Yacht Club race along the waterfront – starting at 5:45pm from the yacht club
  • Button making with the Brockville Public Library
  • The Aquatarium
  • Giveaways!

Approximate schedule:

  • 5:30pm: hoola hoop demos, face painters, art INDEED pirate craft, popsicles and giveaways in the railway tunnel plaza
  • 5:45pm: Brockville Yacht Club race in the St. Lawrence River (best viewing location is from Hardy Park – sail boats will pass by tunnel plaza between roughly 6:00-6:20pm)
  • 6:00pm: Gerry Mitchell performance
  • 6:30pm: Hoola Hoop show with Boho Fab
  • 7:00pm: Gerry Mitchell performance (second set)
  • 7:45pm: Hoola Hoop fire show with Boho Fab (second set)

All activities and entertainment are free at the Big River Night – bring your friends and family out to this fun, kid-friendly, evening on Blockhouse Island!

Live Music at the Waterfront

August 28th, 2019: 6-9pm
Fat Les Waterfront Patio, 30 Blockhouse Island Parkway

Stop by the waterfront for a signature “big river” drink, dinner, and ice cream at the Waterfront Patio with live musical entertainment.

Music will feature  The Rifle & The Writer, a Canadian Country music duo comprised of siblings Rebekka Paige and Colby Latocha.



Ghost Story Tour

August 28th, 2019: 7pm
Fulford Place Museum, 287 King Street East

Enjoy a guided tour with ghost stories of haunted rooms and happenings inside Fulford Place Museum.


Elvis – The Concert: starring Pete Paquette

August 28th, 2019 at 8pm
August 29th, 2019 at 2pm & 8pm
Brockville Arts Centre, 235 King Street West

With his live band, Pete Paquette stars in “The Elvis Concert”, an unforgettable live concert experience showcasing the musical career of Elvis Presley: the 1950s, Elvis in Leather, and the explosive Vegas years.

Tickets $35 +HST

Music on the Veranda

August 29th, 2019: noon-1pm
Fulford Place Museum, 287 King Street East

Music on the Veranda at Fulford Place is back by popular demand! Pack a lunch and join us on the veranda overlooking the St. Lawrence River for a joy-filled, toe-tapping good time.

Admission by donation


Brockville Movies in the Park

August 29th, 2019: 6:30pm events and activities; 8:30pm film
Hardy Park

A free, family-friendly outdoor movie screening series every Thursday night after sunset in Hardy Park. Enjoy the new, live action “Aladdin” during the Big River Festival.

Movies in the Park on Facebook

Aquatarium After Dark with Yuk Yuks

August 29th, 2019 6pm-9pm
The Aquatarium at Tall Ships Landing, 6 Broad Street

6pm-7pm Cocktail hour: explore the exhibits at the Aquatarium to live music by Amelia Foley

7pm-9pm Yuk Yuks Comedy performers:

  • Geoffrey Appelbaum
  • Patrick Haye
  • Rachelle Elie
  • Sebastien Bourgault

Cash bar and refreshments available by Moose McGuire’s:

  • $3/bag of homemade Kettle chips and/or popcorn
  • Theatre service “hot box” which would include 3 chicken wings & sauce, 2 bruschetta, 2 fried pickles and a bag of kettle chips $15
  • Table service: appetizer platter $20, preorder and served 30 mins before the show.

Tickets $20

Big River Festival Island Sunset Cruise

August 29, 6:30pm-8pm
1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises, 30 Blockhouse Island Parkway

Enjoy a sunset cruise with unique stories about Brockville and the river with 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises.

If you live in Brockville, you probably have spent time by or on the St. Lawrence River. While many Brockvillians have had the opportunity to enjoy the river around Brockville, very few are aware of our rich history and relationship with the St Lawrence River. This 90-minute ‘special’ cruise is designed to enlighten passengers about the rich history of Brockville’s waterfront, the shipwrecks, the islands, and the many unique stories about the river in an informative commentary developed and delivered by staff from the Brockville Museum in the calm of a St. Lawrence sunset.

Tickets: Adults $20; Children $10

Click here to book

Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly Weekend

August 30-Sept 2
Blockhouse Island Parkway, Brockville Legion, and sites around Downtown Brockville

4 days of non-stop music; 21 bands; 8 top DJs; Rock’n’Roll dance party and Prom Night at the Legion; free jive dance classes; outdoor vintage market and antique car meet-up; boat cruise and more!

Please be sure to check out the RHB  website and follow along on their facebook page for additional news and updates.

Shootout Fishing League – Solo Series

August 31 & September 1
Hardy Park

Shootout Fishing League will run a professional bass tournament on Saturday August 31 and Sunday September 1. The bass boats will take off from Hardy Park starting at around 7am, with weigh in at 3:30pm in Hardy Park.

Volunteers are needed to ride in boats in our competing anglers – this is a great opportunity to fish with the pros!


SNOlympiad: Summer Snowball Throwing Competition

September 1st, 2019: 9:45amBrockville SNOylmpiad snowball throwing championship logo with support from EXIT Realty and Province of Ontario
Fulford Park Ball Diamond, 91 First Avenue

SNOlympiad is looking for Canada’s top male and female Snowball Throwers to send to the World Championships to be held in Ottawa in 2020. This competition will be held in Brockville and you have the chance to compete and qualify for the World Championships.

This will also be a fun spectator event that will be a part of the Brockville Big River Festival annually, and the official competition will follow with a fundraiser event to assist a local charity with a chance for the public to try their hand at throwing a few snowballs!

Competitors will be judged on:

Distance: Each participant throws 3 self-made snowballs for distance. The longest distance recorded in feet of the 3 qualified throws is scored. 1 foot equals 1 point.

Accuracy: Each participant throws 3 self-made snowballs. Each throw is measured on the accuracy of hitting the bulls eye target for 25 scoring points per hit.

Velocity: Each participant throws 3 self-made snowballs and the velocity of each throw is registered on the radar gun in Miles Per Hour. The highest velocity of the three throws is recorded for scoring.

Enter to compete here

Event Date: Sunday, September 1, 2019

  • Held during the annual Big River Festival
  • Held at Fulford Park, Brockville
  • Snow provided by town of Cardinal, Ontario
  • Fencing, barriers provided by the city of Brockville
  • Competition for adult men and women, 19+ years of age
  • Top Woman crowned with Irene Wheeler Memorial Award
  • Top Man crowned with Duncan MacDonald Memorial Award


  • 9:45 am  Opening Ceremonies – Opening Throw by Dignitaries
  • 10:00 am  Preliminary Competition Men – Women
  • 1:00 pm  Finals – Men and Women. Crown champions
  • 2:00-6:00 pm  Spectator Throws for Charity

Interactive Spectator Throws for Charity. Speed and Accuracy Pitch (3 throws for $5). 

Net proceeds to Big Brothers; Big Sisters of Leeds & Grenville. Matched funding application in effect by sponsors EXIT Realty


Water Jousting

September 1, 2019: 1:15pm
Brockville inner harbour

A key component and a North American first will be the water jousting on retrofitted whaler boats! This unique sport is the subject of festivals in France and other parts of Europe where it attracts tens of thousands. Brockville is thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase a unique water sport that will be sure to be a fan favourite. In 2019 our jousters will feature the Sea Cadets vs. the crew aboard the St. Lawrence II visiting us as part of the Tall Ships Festival. Don’t miss the chance to see this fun spectator sport!

Brockville Tall Ships® Festival presented by Procter & Gamble

August 30-Sept 1, 2019. Festival grounds open at 2pm on Friday, August 30t, 2019
Brockville waterfront: Blockhouse Island Parkway, Centeen Park, Hardy Park

In 2019 the Tall Ships Festival is taking place for the final weekend of Big River Festival, and although this component will vary annually. Brockville will still proceed with TSCO every three years, but in off years would include our resident tall ships, The Fair Jeanne and Black Jack at the Big River Festival and bring in one other Tall Ship each year (dependent on grants).

Please review our Frequently Asked Questions page for details on our 2019 festival and more specifics about where and when you can see the ships. Please note that deck tours of the ships will be available on Saturday and Sunday only.

Please also visit our ticket page to purchase tickets to activities and events on site during the festival as well as admission wristbands.


Add these attractions to your Big River Festival visit:

1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises

Brockville residents can enjoy the 90-minute ‘Jewels of the St. Lawrence’ sightseeing cruise for half-price during the Big River Festival (August 26th – 30th only). This promotion is offered only to residents (although visitors can enjoy the discount when accompanied by a resident, so invite your friends and family to visit and join you on a cruise during the Big River Festival). Local residents are considered to be those living within a 30 km radius and proof of address will be required at check in.

And the discount will be applied using the promo code BRF2019

Advanced on-line reservations are required at: http://www.1000islandscruises.com/reservations/details/47075/jewels-of-the-st-lawrence/

The Aquatarium at Tall Ships Brockville

Visit our signature attraction: the discovery centre of the 1000 Islands. Special events and activities, including after hours events to be held during the Big River Festival.


The Brockville Railway Tunnel

Visit Canada’s First Railway Tunnel, open daily from 9am-9pm. Walk over half a kilometre through this man-made, underground tunnel and see it’s unique architectural features and natural geological features. All set to a light and sound show you don’t want to miss!


Escape Brockville

Can you escape the freight? Try out this escape room set in the old caboose at the waterfront outside of the railway tunnel’s south entrance. Show your tall ships festival passport and save on your escape experience!


Bytown Brigantine

Hands on adventure sails with Brockville’s own tall ships: Fair Jeanne and Black Jack! Sign up for a tall ship adventure or stop by their activity zone outside of the Aquatarium during the Tall Ships® Festival.