04 JAN 2011: 2012 might spell the world’s final doomsday, that’s if you obsess about the ancient Mayan calendar, but others are planning big events for the world stage. Here’s a glance at what block-bluster shows and milestone anniversaries you can expect in the upcoming year.

(Ed. Note: There is so much information here – you might want to bookmark it or pass it to your clients for future reference)


200th anniversary of the War of 1812
Why it’s a big deal: A culmination of events featuring the iconic figures like Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock, among other brave souls resulted in some extraordinary early nation building. Date: various events year-round at several locations but one worth noting is the Battle of Queenston Heights and Brock’s Burial. Canada’s largest battle re-enactment commemorates the Bicentennial which will take place on the same battlefield. October 12-14, 2012
www.warof1812.ca/; www.discover1812.com/; http://www.visit1812.com/

Calgary: Centenary of Calgary Stampede

Why it’s a big deal: Visionary vaudevillian and cowboy Guy Weadick created a show that would leave people hunkering for the nostalgia of the Old West. This year organizers are expecting world-wide attention to Canada’s greatest western show.
Date: July 6-15, 2012

Ottawa: 60th anniversary of the Canadian Tulip Festival
Why it’s a big deal: Each spring since 1952, the Netherlands has been embracing Canada’s friendship showering the capital city in a sea of tulips as a thank you for our contribution to their country’s freedom during the darkest days of World War II. More than 3 million tulips bloom throughout the nation’s capital.
Date: May 4-21, 2012

Victoria BC: 150th anniversary of Victoria
Why it’s a big deal: This former trading post morphed into a boomtown with the B.C. gold rush aiding its cause in the mid-1800s and now today, Victoria, named after Britain’s beloved queen continues to radiate its beauty.
Date: August 7, 2012

Ottawa: Centennial of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Why it’s a big deal: Pomp and pageantry illuminated the streets outside the legendary chateau when it first opened to lustrous fanfare. Sadly the hotel’s visionary founder Charles Melville Hays died on board the Titanic delaying the opening by a couple of months. Rare photos of the opening are exhibited throughout Ottawa’s Grand Dame. Expect plenty of packages and special events year-round.
Date: June 1, 2012

Montreal: Just for Laughs 30th anniversary

Why it’s a big deal: The tiny laugh fest created by Montreal producer Gilbert Rozon has morphed into a hugely successful franchise with ubiquitous reruns of these sans words gags now in an endless loop on many an international flight. The summer festival over the years has hosted comedians like Steve Martin, Martin Short and Jon Stewart and in 2011 expanded its green monster into Aussieland. Expect 2012 to have a stellar line-up with a phantasmagoric opening parade Terra Karnaval by Cirque du Soleil set for July 14 and July 15.
Date: July 9-29, 2012

Montreal: 100th Anniversary of the Ritz-Carlton Montréal

Why it’s a big deal: Flashback 100 years. It’s New Year’s Eve and the socialites of the day clamoured for the hottest ticket of the year to this historic opening party. The crčme de la crčme of Montreal society waltzed the night away under giant chandeliers until the wee hours. Now the Grand Dame of Montreal undergoing a luxurious make-over will re-open this spring, ready to enchant for another 100 years.
Date: December 31, 2012

Grand Metis, Quebec: The 50th anniversary of the Reford Gardens and the 125th anniversary of Estevan Lodge on same property

Why it’s a big deal: A slice of Canadiana grows in the splendour of these gardens off the ancient St. Lawrence River. The niece of George Stephen (CP’s first president) created this botanical paradise and today her great grandson maintains the foliage fantasy. Meanwhile the Estevan Lodge was the esteemed lodge of the rail czar Mr. Stephen but sadly his profession didn’t allow him to truly enjoy the fishing camp. This rustic lodge was named after a Saskatchewan railway town created along the then new CP route.
Date: June 24, 2012 for the garden

Torbay, Nfld: 250th anniversary
Why it’s a big deal: This celebration commemorates the battle that was fought just 15 minutes from St. John’s in a town called Torbay back in 1762. Few know Europe’s Seven Years War made it all the way to this side of the Atlantic and was fought on the towering cliffs between the French and Brits.
Date: TBA

Cape Race, Nfld: 100th anniversary

Why it’s a big deal: When wireless operator Jack Goodwin yelled, “My God, Gray, the Titanic has struck a berg” on April 14, 1912, no one imagined that such a disaster was possible. Newfoundland was its own country at the time and its mariners were all too familiar with the deadly straights known as Iceberg Alley. At about 11:40 p.m. just 365 miles southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, in a maritime disaster that shocked the world.
Date: April 15, 2012


Jamaica: Jump for Jamaica 50th anniversary
Why it’s a big deal: The island nation famous for exports like Michael Lee Chin and Donovan Bailey is bringing out the party streamers for this 50th anniversary celebrating Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain. Expect plenty of cheer year round.
Dates: Year-round
For more info: www.visitjamaica.com / www.jamaica50th.com/

Mexico: End of the World Celebrations aka the renewal of the Mayan Calendar

Why it’s a big deal: Futurists, media hype and the social networking world were all a ga ga discussing the ancient Mayan calendar and its connection to the end of the world. But the Mexico Tourism Board wants you to know the talk is all … talk. There is no better time to visit Mexico's Mundo Maya than 2012. According to the Mayan Calendar, December 21 2012 -represents the beginning of a new era. Watch for the much anticipated re-opening of the Carlos Pellicer Museum in Villahermosa on December 21, 2012. The museum is significant because it houses the only Mayan monument known to refer to December 21, 2012 as a significant date.
Date: December 21, 2012 - the Mayan calendar turns from Baktún 12 to Baktún 13. A baktún is a unit of 400 years in the Mayan Calendar. Expect events scheduled year round.


Arizona: 100th anniversary

Why it’s a big deal: The Grand Canyon State celebrates a centennial with towns like Yuma rekindling an old classic advert enticing sun-starved tourists with a free meal whenever the sun don’t shine. (Hard to accomplish seeing Yuma’s been pegged as the sunniest place on earth by the Guinness Book of World Records). Watch for a centennial copper chopper (motorcycle) adorned with state symbols popping wheelies across the state. Ride steam engine trails, head down memory lane with the Gold Rush days of Wickenburg’s old mining heritage. By the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community ponder the future at the impressive World’s Fair-style exhibit, Expo 2012, for a look at Arizona’s next 100 years in architecture, technology and the environment. Plenty of cities in Arizona like Chandler are hailing 100 too.
Date: February 14, 2012 with year-round events

New Mexico: 100th anniversary
Why it’s a big deal: The Land of Enchantment seals the deal with the United States becoming the 47th State of the Union. Black tie or period costumes will be all the rage when locals hit the upcoming Grand Centennial Ball at the LEED-Gold certified Santa Fe Convention Centre.
Date: January 6, 2012 with year-round events

San Francisco: 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge
Why it’s a big deal: In only four years, this massive engineering feat was completed and remains the city’s iconic symbol. When it first opened the San Francisco Herald described it as a $35-million steel harp. The waterfront at Chrissy Field is the spot for this blockbuster extravaganza. Expect to see 75 tributes year round.
Date: May 27, 2012

New York: 250th anniversary St. Patrick's Day parade

Why it’s a big deal: Irish eyes were smiling when the pageantry unfolded in Lower Manhattan back in 1762. Since then the zip code has moved to loftier heights on Fifth Avenue but the spectacle is still one of the Big Apple’s greatest traditions when everyone in New York is declared Irish for a day.
Date: 17 Mar 1762

Toledo, Ohio: 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement
Why it’s a big deal: Over 150 museums across the US are showcasing their rare blown glass pieces with the cradle of the movement located in Toledo at the Toledo Museum of Art. No wonder it’s dubbed America’s Glass City.
Dates: June 13- Sept 9, 2012



York – 800th anniversary – Year of Opportunity
Why it’s a big deal: The incubator for many a great mind, expect a new Science and Innovation Grand Tour including Britain’s biggest rail festival in June and don’t be surprised by a chocolate theme with the opening of a chocolate museum and the acclaimed Mystery Plays launching in summer. In 1212 King John signed a charter allowing York’s citizens to hold their own courts and to appoint a mayor.
Date: July 9, 2012
yorkfestivals.com; www.york800.com,

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Why it’s a big deal: The world watched the first televised crowning of a young Queen Elizabeth II and over the years we have watched her world travels, viewed her annual TV greetings, and saw her celebrations and losses. The Diamond Jubilee will culminate in a pageantry fit only for a Queen so prepare for some mighty celebrations. Insiders there report the line-up will include a Diamond Jubilee concert, events along the River Thames including one of the largest flotillas on the river (an estimated 1,000 boats).
Date: June 2 - June 5, 2012

London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games

Why it’s a big deal: The world is descending on London this summer. A round-up of London’s esteemed sporting venues (Wimbledon and Wembley Stadium for examples) and the newest kid on the block, the 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium, are ready to showcase the world’s elite athletes in over 300 events.
Dates: July 27 – August 12, 2012; August 29 – September 9 2012


Creative Scotland

Why it’s a big deal: Picking up from the ever so successful celebrations of Homecoming that attracted descendants a few years ago, Visit Scotland is ready to regale with a creative theme this year as the country sets its sights on becoming the most creative nation in the world by 2020. Expect plenty of events around some of the biggest creative legends and don’t be surprised by all the other existing festivals (Edinburgh’s Fringe Fest, Book Fest etc..) to get in on the celebrations.


100th anniversary of the Titanic (watch for special commemorative events in any of the 21 countries with memorials)
Why it’s a big deal: The world’s most famous ship left Belfast’s harbour but later sank in the dark chilling waters off the coast of Newfoundland sending shockwaves around the world. Canada played a significant role in the rescue and recovery missions of which 24 sites in Halifax’s area share a tearful connection. Expect a new visitor centre dubbed “the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience” opening in Belfast on March 31, 2012.
Date: April 15, 2012


The Wales Coast Path
Why it’s a big deal: Finally a continuous 1,385km trail along the entire Wale’s coastline will be open showing off the magnificent diverse coastal landscapes. Get the hiking boots and head from Anglesey in the North to Pembrokeshire in the South.
Date: May 2012


Vienna: Gustav Klimt’s 150th Celebrations
Why it’s a big deal: Klimt is an Art Nouveau darling, and his oil and gold leaf painting The Kiss was the game changer when completed in 1908. Had he lived this long he would have been 150! Across Vienna, art institutions will be showcasing a series of special exhibitions year-round alongside the summer re-opening of Klimt’s last standing studio.
Date: July 14, 2012 and year round events

Vienna: Reopening of the Kunstkammer
Why it’s a big deal: Now in a new setting after 10 years of major refurbishment, the much anticipated reopening of the Kunstkammer is set to reveal once again the treasure chest of the old Habsburg Empire. Art historians purport this collection reflects the entire universe as artefacts depict five millennia from Ancient Egypt to the 18th century.
Date: December 2012


LISBON: Euro City of the Year 2012
Why it’s a big deal: A bunch of academics with the Academy of Urbanism has declared Portugal’s capital as the big euro city of the year due in large part to the River Tagus waterfront re-development and the revival of Mouraria.
Date: year-round

Guimarăes: European Capital of Culture 2012
Why it’s a big deal: The European Union wants to shed the spotlight on this historic northern Portuguese town whose claim to fame is often dubbed “the cradle city” or “the birthplace of the Portuguese nationality.”
Dates: year-round


Maribor: European Capital of Culture 2012
Why it’s a big deal: Slovenia’s second biggest city has a rich history and now with the new EU title it’s hoped tourism and commerce will flow by the ancient tower walls.


850 years: Freiburg
Why it’s a big deal: The discovery of Germany’s first silver ore deposits was the beginning of Freiburg. Now the silver town shines in its rich historic facades including the old town centre with a monthly retrospective highlighting one of the storied centuries.
Dates: Year-round

Dresden: 500 years of Raphael’s Sistina Madonna
Why it’s a big deal: Considered one of the most famous Renaissance paintings, Raphael’s Sistina Madonna is also Dresden’s best known painting which has resided there for over 250 years. The Old Master Gallery Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister is planning a special Raphael exhibition around this masterpiece.
Dates: May 26 to August 26, 2012


The Dutch Floriade 2012
Why it’s a big deal: Once a decade over two million flower enthusiasts gather on a 66-hectare site in the Regio Venlo region of Holland for this jaw-dropping floral fest.
Dates: April 5 October 7, 2012


Centennial of the Jungfrau Railway
Why it’s a big deal: This ‘build it and they will come’ notion is a true acclamation for those who have ever taken this 9-km rail journey up these rugged Alpine mountains soaring 1400 metres high over the “top of Europe.” The railway was 16 years under construction so expect plenty of hype and a special edition watch from Tissot.
Date: August 1, 2012


Hobart: 175th anniversary of the Theatre Royal
Why it’s a big deal: A real Hobart icon and Australia’s oldest working theatre, this gem once described by playwright Noel Coward as ‘a dream of a theatre’ is setting the stage for special celebrations.
Dates: TBA


100th anniversary – Discovery of the South Pole
Why it’s a big deal: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen showed the impossible was possible when he became the first human being to successfully trek to the South Pole on Dec 11, 1911 but it wasn’t until his historic telegram on March 1912 that the world learned of the successful South Pole mission so expect plenty of celebrations around this epic first. Tasmania will host many events.
Dates: March 2012 and year round


40th anniversary of Croisieres AML

Why it’s a big deal: A local Quebec cruise company that’s been plying the St. Lawrence River with its unforgettable sightseeing tours is ready to sing Bonne Fete when it resumes its season this spring. The popular cruise has made it possible for many a group to view the splendid river banks and the glorious Quebec City as it sails by the Chateau Frontenac.
Date: TBA

World Heritage Convention: 40th Anniversary

Why it’s a big deal: This UNESCO World Organization is big on preservation and designating sites worldwide as world heritage sites. Canada has 20 designations at the moment.
Date: January 30, 2012

Paramount’s 100th anniversary
Why it’s a big deal: America’s oldest existing Hollywood film studio no doubt gave many the travel bug as the logo of the rugged snow-capped Wasatch Mountains appeared before the films even began. Interesting how the Hollywood studio’s first feature film was called Queen Elizabeth as the real Queen Elizabeth is also starring in her upcoming Diamond Jubilee. Expect a new logo in the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol release
Date: May 8, 2012

60th anniversary of Holiday Inn

Why it’s a big deal: It was the summer of 1952 and a cheap and easy roadside motel was the answer to the rising mobile class of Americans who took to the roads. The first modest Holiday Inn opened enroute to Nashville Tennessee and now this ubiquitous brand is part of the world’s largest hotel chains.
Date: August 1 2012

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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