Memphis in May International Festival Announces Canada as 2016 Honored Country

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Memphis in May officials announced Canada will be the honored country for Memphis in May International Festival's 40th annual edition in 2016. This will mark the second time Memphis in May will honor Canada, joining Japan and the Netherlands as the only two-time honorees. Canada was first saluted by Memphis in May 38 years ago in 1978.

"We are honored to partner with the Memphis community on its signature event. We look forward to working with the Memphis in May team to showcase today's vibrant Canada." said Consul General Louise Blais. "Canada and Memphis are strong business partners. Over the years, many Canadian companies have chosen to call Memphis home because of the community's reputation as great place to work, live and play. Through the next year, we look forward to showcasing many aspects of our partnership that make it special."

The second largest country in the world, Canada covers more than 3.8 million square miles in North America and is slightly larger than the United States. Canada spans six time zones and features the longest coastline of any country in the world. Three oceans surround the country: the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north.

Formed by the union of four British colonies in 1867, Canada is a federal nation comprised of ten provinces and three territories with a total population of more than 35 million. Nearly 90% of Canada's population lives within 99 miles of the United States border. The country will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017.

"Canada is our closest neighbor and the number one trade partner for Tennessee. It is a country with a vibrant and diverse culture with a fascinating history and heritage. 2016 promises to be an exciting salute of our friends to the North" says James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May.

In 2014, two-way bilateral trade between Canada and Tennessee exceed $14.5 billion. More than 170,300 Tennessee jobs are linked to this strong trading partnership. In recognition of these strong connections, Canada named Memphis business leader Leigh Shockey as Honorary Consul. According to the most recent data, 566,000 Canadians visited Tennessee and spent approximately $98 million during their stay.

A high immigration rate has fostered Canada's unique cultural makeup. Drawing from its many represented nationalities, Canada boasts a rich history and a dynamic culture that forms the country's distinctive identity. English and French are the country's official languages.

An abundance of natural resources including forests, minerals and fossil fuels has contributed to Canada's thriving economy. Industries such as agriculture, mining, transportation and telecommunications also support the country's financial stability. A year-round tourist destination, Canada attracts visitors from across the globe.

For people interested in experiencing Canada firsthand, Memphis in May is offering an international tour in advance of the celebration next April, led by 2016 Board Chairman Doug Browne. The trip will include stops in Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver. For those interested more information on this trip visit or call the Memphis in May International Festival office at 901-525-4611.

2016 Memphis in May International Festival Dates

  • Beale Street Music Festival: April 29 – May 1, 2016
  • International Week: May 2–9, 2016
  • World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 12–14, 2016

About Memphis in May

Memphis in May International Festival is a not for profit, community-based organization, whose programs contributes more than $70 million in economic impact to the community, fosters civic pride, promotes awareness of Memphis heritage, and builds international relationships and understanding through education.

Memphis in May International is the official Festival of the City of Memphis, and the recipients of 155 prestigious Pinnacle Awards from the International Festival and Events Association. Memphis in May International Festival was recently named the Top Festival in the Southern United States in a nationwide readers poll by USA Today 10 Best.

In addition to hosting the city's largest events, such as the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Memphis in May conducts a comprehensive international salute to an honored country with extensive cultural, education, and economic programs for the city. International-salute programs and activities are presented throughout the month of May with a concentration of activities highlighted during International Week.

For additional information about the Memphis in May International Festival, please visit the official Memphis in May web site at

CONTACT: John Stevenson Marketing Coordinator Memphis in May International Festival

Source: Memphis In May International Festival