Contra Dance in Canada
Regional | Dances | Bands and
Musicians | Callers | Organizations
This page is devoted to listing contra dances in Canada along with
bands, musicians, callers, and organizations that are based in
Canada. URLs and e-mail addresses are listed when available. New
entries, additional information, and changes in information are
always welcome. Links to other pages in the www.contradancelinks.com
web site are listed at the bottom of the
New links are simply new to me, not
necessarily new to the World Wide Web. Change
in URL means that a link has changed its WWW address or
- Here are some links for coverage of festivals (music or music and
dancing) in Canada:
- Mnémo covers musique, danse, chanson et conte traditionnel. New entry (July 1, 2015)
- SPDTQ/EspaceTrad has listings for dances, festivals and other events in Quebec. Change of URL and name (July 1, 2015)
- The Association Québécoise des Loisirs Folkloriques has information and schedules about a number of activities. New entry (July 1, 2015)
- You can contact Steve Manzer about trying to organize new dance series in Alberta, British Columbia, or Saskatchewan. New entry (September 19, 2015)
- The Chehalis Contra Dance Camp is held on the Chehalis River at Sts'ailes Lhawathet Lalem Healing Retreat Center 20 miles east of Agassiz, British Columbia, the third weekend in Sept.
- The Calgary contra dances have a new web site and dances are held monthly at the Unitarian Church of Calgary.
- There is a new dance series in Chilliwack, British Columbia on 2nd Saturdays at the Chilliwack United Church Hall. New entry (November 15, 2015)
- The Drumlin Contradances include dances in Fergus and Guelph (Guelph dances discontinued). Entry updated (January 1, 2016)
- Dance Nova Scotia, headquartered in Halifax, can give some guidance about finding dances in the area that may include a contra or two.
- Contra Time Dances sponsors dances in Halifax on various Saturdays at Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2096 Windsor Street, Halifax from 8-10:30 pm. The dances include New England contras, English longways, big circle dances and turning dances, mostly from the British Isles, Europe and North America but with a few surprises. The schedule and details can be found in the Square and Round Dance Federation of Nova Scotia, Calendar of Events.
- The Contra Dances, which occur on the 3rd Saturday of the month, have a new Facebook page.
The Halifax Contra Dances group dances intermediate-level contras once a month on a Saturday from September through May, at All Nations Church, 2535 Robie St. in Halifax, from 7:30-11:00pm. We have dancers of all ages with many newcomers each month, and welcome 70-100 people per dance. You can find our seasonal schedule by visiting our Facebookpage or emailing us at halifaxcontradances - at - gmail - dot - com. Updated entry (September 19, 2015)
- The Hamilton (Ontario)
Country Dancers hold monthly dances on a Saturday from September to June. Check their calendar for exact dates.
- The Woods Music and Dance Camp, which includes some contra dancing and related activities, occurs in mid-August each year in Irondale, Ontario. Change in location (July 2, 2015)
- The Skeleton Park Arts Fest holds events throughout the year in Kingston, Ontario including square and contra dancing. New entry (February 24, 2017)
- The Rogue Folk Club in Kitsilano, British Columbia, holds some contra dances, usually on the 1st Saturday of the month, as part of its event schedule.
- The Ottawa Contra Dance may have information about dances in Maberly but also reach out to Martha Cooper. Added information about Martha Cooper (January 20, 2018)
- The Funtime Fiddlers hosts contra dances in Merville in British Columbia, generally but not always on the 3rd Saturday of the month from September to June.
- Contramontreal organizes dances in the Plateau neighborhood of Montreal on the evening of the first Sunday of non-summer months.
- Nanaimo Fiddle Lessons sponsors dances at on various dates, times and places in the Nanaimo area during much of the year. The Nanaimo Fiddle Society does this, too. Added Fiddle Society (September 19, 2015) New entry (July 3, 2015)
- For Ottawa, there is information on folk dancing including contras. Shantnu Mishra created the page.
- The Old Sod Folk Music Society of Ottawa has been sponsoring contra dances for over 20 years. Dances are held twice a month on Saturdays.
- The Fiddlefern Country Dancers hold their dances in Owen Sound on the first Saturday of the month from September through June and the Spring Fling in May. Change of URL (March 26, 2015)
- The 3rd Saturday dances that the Peterborough English Country Dancers sponsor feature a lively blend of English and contra dances.
- While there is not much information about contra dancing, the
Thirty Below web site covers the Quebec traditional music and dance scene.
- On first Thursdays from fall until May (or June), there are dances in Rossland, British Columbia with a mix of English Country and American contra dancing. Updated date and change of URL (July 3, 2015)
- Saskatoon is holding sessions most Sunday evenings for new callers to practice teaching and callers, for dancers to have an opportunity to Dance, and for musicians to play live music! Meet at the Unitarian Centre, 213 2nd Street East. Please confirm dates and times with firstname.lastname@example.org
- There will be a dance in Saksatoon on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 7:30pm at St. Joseph's Parish Hall, Broadway Avenue (at 8th Street). Info - 306-665-0864. Admission $10. Come with or without a partner.
- The Toronto Country Dancers sponsor dances on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Saturdays from September to mid-June. In addition, they host the Spring Thaw Weekend in early April, a special holiday dance in late December, and a Summer Island Dance in July.
- Toronto's Hogtown Hoedown holds a monthly square dance with live Appalachian string band music and a caller, held in the west end of Toronto. New entry (July 3, 2015)
- Square Dance for Hope is a series of dances in Toronto raising money for various charities. New entry (October 9, 2016)
- York University in Toronto has contra dances from time to time. Dances are sponsored by Winters College within the University so contact them for details.
- In Vancouver contra dances are held at the St. James Hall in Kitsilano on the first and third Saturday of every month, from September to June.
- Island Dance covers the dance scene on Vancouver Island and other nearby locations including contras, English, Scottish, etc. New entry (July 3, 2015)
- The Victoria Contra Dance holds monthly dances, usually on one the last Saturdays of the month.
- The Victoria Fiddle Society holds occasional Urban Barn Dances in
Victoria which include contra dances. New entry (July 3, 2015)
- Afro Shillelagh is a mix
of old-time fiddle tunes, beat in West African percussion and stir
with a Celtic stick with a pinches of music from Brittany, Sweden and
Quebec. It is based in Vancouver.
- Michael Ayles is a Montreal-based musician specializing in the traditional music of Ireland and Quebec and plays with the groups La Part du Queteux and Garton's Crimson Avengers.
- Fiddler Andrea Beaton occasionally plays at dances in Canada and the United States. She is based in Cape Breton.
- Ian Bell plays fiddle for concerts, square dances and contra dances and also tells stories at venues in Southern Ontario and elsewhere.
- Along with his regular schedule of concerts and other events, Duncan Cameron occasionally plays at a contra dance in Canada.
- Les Chauffeurs á pieds travel as their name suggests: by the stomp and tap of their feet. Since they have been taping out their jigs and reels in Quebec and abroad.
- Shane Cook is a London, Ontario based fiddler who plays across North America with Brian Pickell, Troy MacGillivray and Jake Charron as well as with Bowfire. As a Canadian and US National Fiddle Champion he plays in a variety of traditional styles including Ottawa Valley, Irish and Scottish.
- Garton's Crimson Avengers is working their way onto the contra dance circuit in Canada. Change of URL (July 5, 2015)
- Gentricorum are a Quebecois band and an energetic and original traditional 'power trio' incorporating the dynamism of today's North American and European folk cultures in their music.
- Paul Gitlitz plays a variety of instruments including violin, mandolin, guitar (acoustic and electric) and tenor banjo playing with Brad Reynolds and Guy Langois in "Giblitz Fancy", a duo with Guy Langois, and another duo with Trish Clair-Peck called "Tunefully Yours", each group playing tunes newly composed tunes many by him and Brad, Trish, Rich Sobel and other modern and local composers. He lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
- A native Manitoban, now living in Toronto, fiddle player Anne Lederman plays with bands such as Fiddlesong but is also known for her work preserving the works of Native and Metis fiddlers.
- Tom Leighton plays at a variety of instruments for dances and concerts in Canada and other countries.
- Dave Marshall plays fiddle at jams, sessions, and dances in the Vancover, British Columbia area.
- The O'Schraves bring you entertainment that is joyous, skillful, inspiring, and fun and is based in Desbarats, Ontario. Facebook page. New entry (January 2, 2016)
- The Victoria English Country Dance Society has information about the Odd Hack Band from Canada. The band features Brenda Callen (fiddle), Brian Titus (woodwinds) and David Gartrell (keyboards). In addition, you can e-mail them.
- The Old Sod Band was formed primarily to play for New England-style Contra Dances, and while its repertoire is drawn from the jigs, reels and waltzes of Ireland, Scotland, England, the US, Canada and even Denmark, the style definitely owes much to the strong, driving rhythms of New England dance music.
- The Ottawa Community Band is a group of trad music players who play for community contra dances in Ottawa, Ontario. New entry (July 4, 2016)
- The Brian Pickell Band is friendly, funny and plays with passion, mostly in Canada and includes Shane Cook, Mark Sullivan, James Stephens, Pat O'Gorman, Sahra Featherstone, Julie Schryer and Brian Pickell.
- Relative Harmony's music is an energetic and engaging selection of English, North American and Quebecois tunes. Their style is influenced by the playing of many of the current New England dance bands, and is sure to keep you on your toes with a strong, steady back-beat and energetic fiddling. They are based in Ontario.
- The Canadian band, Réveillons! plays traditional Québécois for contra dances and square dances in Québec, Ontario and United States, along with concerts and other events. Change of URL (July 5, 2015)
- Fiddler Laura Risk plays music suitable for 18th-century Scottish drawing rooms to driving strathspeys and reels suitable for a Cape Breton dance floor and plays at a contra dance on occasion. She lives in Quebec.
- Ian Robb is a member of bands such as JIIG, Finest Kind, and The Old Sod Band and is known for his playing of the English concertina and his songs. He is based in Ottawa, Canada.
- Scatter The Cats is a contra dance band from the Owen Sound area with Will Henry, Dan McGee, Frank Francalanza, Bob Robins and Randy Martin and includes its own caller. (e-mail only) Change to URL (March 17, 2018)
- Sheesham & Lotus met in Alabama, settled in Kingston, Ontario in Canada and play s Old-time Rag-time High Steppin' Mountain music.
- Taking their stylistic cue from classic performers in the Irish tradition, Sixpenny Money is a dance band that aims to do what folk music at its best has always done: to bring enjoyment, entertainment and a sense of community to audience members, dancers and muscians alike. The band is based in Kitchener, Ontario.
- Gordon Stobbe's musical interests lie in the field of traditional music, especially as it is expressed in the wide variety of North American fiddle styles. He plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and clawhammer banjo. Along with concerts and festivals, he does play at events that include contra dances.
- Mark Sullivan, while playing at concerts and other venues in Canada and the United States, continues to be part of the old-time music and dance scene in Canada.
- Sybaritic String Band is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Change of URL (June 30, 2016)
- Carl Thor plays with Vancouver Celtic and folk group Talisman and Portland contra dance band Hands4, Carl also plays in Cascade Crossing, the Portland Megaband, in other groupings for folk dancing, and as a soloist.
- Tidal Wave (Raz-de-Marée) is grounded in traditional Quebec rhythms and melodies but not limited by it. The band includes Sabin Jacques, Rachel Aucoin and Stuart Kenney with guest musicians André Brunet, Eric Favereu et Claudine Arcand with occasional guests Benoit Bourque et Kimberly Holmes. The band is based in New England and Quebec. Change of URL (July 5, 2015)
- Tuq, from Montreal, Canada, posesses a passion for Contra Dances, they fuse Quebecois reels with Yiddish Hongas, Irish jigs with Sweedish Polskas, Breton Andros with Texas Swing.
- Le Vent Du Nord was formed in 2002 and has become well known in the Quebecois music scene.
- Whirlygig is a dance band from the Guelph/Kitchener area of Ontario that plays jigs, reels and hornpipes from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Galicia, as well as haunting airs and songs for ceilis, weddings and folk festivals along with contra dances.
- Nicholas Williams is a Montreal based musician who plays blackwood and bamboo flutes, piano, and piano accordion in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles and plays with bands such as Crowfoot and Les Jouers de Bon Accord.
- Bev Bernbaum calls in Toronto, Canada and other nearby locales.
- Catherine Burns calls on a regular basis at the Old Sod dances in Ottawa, Ontario. (e-mail for person)
- Tom Calwell has been calling in Ontario and upstate New York since 1993.
- Pierre Chartrand is a leading Quebecois step dancer, choreographer and caller for decades and now performs internationally with his group Danse Cadence. He is based in Montreal, Canada.
- Maureen Collier called in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 6, 2015.
- Martha Cooper calls at a variety of venues in Canada and lives in Peterborough. Added entry (January 20, 2018)
- Frank Francalanza is a contra dance caller and couples dance instructor from Owen Sound, Ontario (e-mail only). New entry (June 11, 2016)
- Judy Greenhill calls on a regular basis in Hamilton, Ontario.
- Myra Hirschberg calls regularly in Ontario and upstate New York.
- Mike Jones has been calling contra dances since 1998 in southern Ontario (his home) and northern New York.
- Shelagh Maguire calls in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. (e-mail only)
- Hannah Naiman has been dancing for more than 20 years, teaching and leading folk dances for over 6 years. She is based in Toronto, Ontario.
- Marian Rose calls contra, square, English, and family dances throughout Canada and the US and also plays piano and accordion for English and contras. She is based in Vancouver.
- Lorraine Sutton does not limit herself to contras on the dance floor, but does call contras in Toronto and other locales. Change of URL (September 5, 2016)
- Maura Volante teaches and calls contra dancing for adults, and offers a program of easy dances for families, mixed-age communities and groups of children. She is based in Ottawa, Canada.
- Dottie Welch calls in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Contra Time Dances. Telephone: 902-435-4544 - (e-mail only)
- The Old Sod Folk Music Society of Ottawa ("Old Sod" to its friends) has been a fixture on the Ottawa music scene since the early eighties, when it was conceived as an attempt to bring some of the best-known names on the
British and Irish folk scenes to the city. Since then its scope has expanded to include Anglo- and Franco-Canadian, American and European performers, but the emphasis is still largely on music with strong and recognisable traditional roots.
- The Canadian Square and Round Dance Society (CSRDS), as you might expect, promotes square and round dances across the nation. While contradancing is not the main purpose of the site, there is enough overlap of interests to include it. John Sellers and Mae Cutler maintain and support the web site.
This page is part of the Contrdancelinks.com web site. For more information about contra dancing, visit these other site pages:
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*The Colorado link will bring you to Dancing on the Web. The Iowa link will bring you to the Central Iowa Barn Dance Association. The Maine link will bring you to the Downeast Friends of the Folk Arts. The New Mexico link will bring you to the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. The Utah link will bring you to Utah Contradance Information. These fine organizations and individuals already have complete listings for these states and there is no reason for me to duplicate their efforts.
**As far as I know, there are no regular dances or events in Mississippi, South Dakota or Wyoming, but I have created pages if something changes in the future.
Produced by Charlie Seelig
Last updated on March 17, 2018