If you enjoy a swim in cold water, join the Polar Bear Swim at English
Bay Beach. Thousands of hardy citizens show up in elaborate costumes to
take a dip in the icy waters of English Bay.
Second Sunday in January
Join the Annual Bald Eagle Count in Brackendale. Bald eagles gather every
winter near Brackendale to feed on the salmon. The count starts at the
Brackendale Art Gallery.
Late January or early February
Chinatowns in Vancouver, Richmond, and Victoria celebrate the Chinese
New Year in either late January or early February. These Chinese communities
launch a 2-week celebration, ringing in the new year with firecrackers,
dancing dragon parades, and other festivities.
Late March or early April
Enjoy the International Wine Festival, a major wine-tasting event featuring
the latest international vintages. Each winery sets up a booth where you
may try as many varieties as you like, often accompanied by cheese and
Baisakhi Day Parade. The Sikh Indian New Year is celebrated with a colorful
parade around Ross Street near Marine Drive and ends with a vegetarian
feast at the temple.
The Vancouver Sun Run is Canada's biggest 10k race, featuring 17,000 runners,
joggers, and walkers who race through 10 scenic kilometers. The run starts
and finishes at B.C. Place Stadium.
First Sunday in May
Runners from all over the world gather to compete in a run through the
streets of Vancouver in the Vancouver International Marathon.
Mid- to late-May
Professional cowboys from all over North America compete in roping, bull
and bronco riding, barrel racing, and many other events at the Cloverdale
Rodeo. There are pony rides for kids, great food, and a country fair atmosphere.
Late May or early June
Activities, plays, music, and crafts for children are featured at the
International Children's Festival held in Vanier Park on False Creek.
VanDusen Flower and Garden Show. Presented at the VanDusen Botanical Garden,
5251 Oak St. (at 37th Street).
National Aboriginal Day Community Celebration. This event offers the public
an opportunity to learn about Canada's First Nations cultures. Many events
take place at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Center, 1607 E. Hastings
at Commercial Street.
Third week in June
Traditional dragon-boat racing is a part of the city's cultural scene
and you can enjoy it all during the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. Watch
the races from False Creek's north shore, where more than 150 local and
international teams compete. Four stages of music, dance, and Chinese
acrobatics are presented at the Plaza of Nations. 604/688-2382.
Festival d'ete francophone de Vancouver is a 4-day festival celebrating
francophone music from around the world.
Late June/early July
Enjoy over 800 international jazz and blues players as they perform at
25 venues ranging from the Orpheum Theatre to the Roundhouse during the
DuMaurier International Jazz Festival. The festival includes a large number
of free performances.
Mid-June to late September
Bard on the Beach-Shakespeare Festival. Some of the best Shakespeare you
will ever see as the Bard's plays are performed in a tent overlooking
English Bay. Tuesday through Sunday.
Canada Day This is the big day for all Canadians and they invite you to
join in on their celebration. Canada Place Pier hosts an all-day celebration
that begins with the induction of new Canadian citizens. Music and dance
are performed outdoors throughout the day. There's a 21-gun salute at
noon; precision aerobatics teams perform overhead during the afternoon;
and a nighttime fireworks display on the harbor tops off the festivities.
Other locations that host Canada Day events include Granville Island and
Also on July first, you can enjoy the Steveston Salmon Festival with
a parade, salmon barbecue, special arts and crafts exhibits, and lots
of good entertainment.
Competitors race sea kayaks in the Georgia Strait's open waters during
the Ecomarine Kayak Marathon. The Jericho Sailing Center (604/689-7575),
at Jericho Beach, hosts the race and can provide details.
Harrison Festival of the Arts. This arts festival in the Fraser River
valley, just east of Vancouver, attracts an array of performing artists
from around the world.
Early to mid-July
Dancing on the Edge. Canadian and international dance groups perform modern
and classic works at the Firehall Arts Centre and other venues.
Second or third weekend in July
International folk music is played outdoors at Jericho Beach Park during
the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
End of July on Saturday
Illuminares. Evening lantern procession circling Trout Lake with drums,
costumes, and lots of elaborate hand-crafted lanterns. Various performances
start at dusk.
End of July to mid-August
Festival Vancouver. This is a major music festival to celebrate the summer.
The 17-day event will present over 90 concerts, featuring a diverse collection
of music--orchestral, choral, chamber, and world music plus opera and
Last weekend of July
An annual festival of Japanese culture, the
End of July through first week in August
Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire. Three international fireworks companies
compete for a coveted title by launching their best displays accompanied
by music over English Bay Beach.
First Sunday in August
Sponsored by the Vancouver Pride Society, the Vancouver Pride Parade is
colorful gay and lesbian pride parade covering a route along Denman and
Davie streets. 604/687-0955
First week in August
International Comedy Festival. Comedians from all over Canada and the
United States perform at a variety of venues around town. Call 604/683-0883
for more information.
The Chilliwack Exhibition and Rodeo, in Chilliwack, not far from Vancouver.
This cowboy rodeo has been an annual event for over 125 years. 604/792-2861
Abbottsford International Air Show. Everything from barnstorming stuntmen
to precision military pilots flying everything from Sopwith Camels to
Stealth Bombers. This is one of the biggest air shows in the world. 604/852-8511
For the ultimate in air racing, come to the Vancouver International Air
Races in White Rock. This is the ultimate racing event where little planes
with big and powerful engines hug the ground as they race around a triangular
course marked by tall pylons. Call 604/946-4232 for additional information.
Mid-August to Labor Day
Pacific National Exhibition. This is one of the largest country-styles
fairs held in North America. Offerings include one of North America's
best all-wooden roller coasters, many other rides, big-name entertainment,
and a demolition derby. Special events include livestock demonstrations,
logger sports competitions, fashion shows, and a midway. Contact the Pacific
National Exhibition 604/253-2311 for more details.
Greater Vancouver Open (Air Canada Championship). This PGA tour event
attracts professional golfers and golf fans from around the world to the
North view Golf Country Club.
Wooden Boat Festival, Granville Island. Free event for wooden boat aficionados.
I love auto racing, especially CART. The Molson Indy is the biggest annual
event in the streets of Yaletown and False Creek, attracting more than
The Fringe-Vancouver's Theatre Festival. Centered on the Commercial Drive
area, the Fringe Festival features over 500 original shows performed by
groups from across Canada and around the world.
Early to mid-September
The North Shore Heritage Weekend. A full weekend of walking and boat tours,
craft and historic displays, a vintage-car exhibition, and afternoon teas
at various locations.
Late September or early October
Cranberry Harvest Festival. This festival to the little red berry is held
at the Richmond Nature Park, 1185 Westminster Hwy. Richmond Nature Park
has one of the few remaining wild patches of the berries that are indigenous
to British Columbia's bogs.
The highly respected Vancouver International Film Festival features over
250 new works, revivals, and retrospectives, representing filmmakers from
40 countries. Asian films are particularly well-represented. Attendance
reaches more than 110,000 viewers, not including the stars and celebrities
who appear annually.
Vancouver Snow Show. This is the place to be if you are into skiing. The
Ski and Board Show features Canada's largest annual ski show, sale, and
swap. Sporting goods stores unload the previous year's inventory, and
people consign their own skis to raise money for the Vancouver Ski Foundation's
Parade of Lost Souls, Grandview Park. A bizarre and intriguing procession
takes place around Commercial Drive to honor the dead and chase away bad
Remembrance Day Celebrated throughout Canada, this day commemorates Canadian
soldiers who gave their lives in war.
November and December
Christmas Craft and Gift Market, Van Dusen Botanical Garden. Popular craft
and gift market in a beautiful garden setting.
Christmas Carol Ship Parade. Harbour cruise ships decorated with colorful
Christmas lights sail around English Bay, while on-board guests sip cider
and sing their way through the canon of Christmas carols.
Festival of Lights, Van Dusen Botanical Garden. Throughout December the
garden is transformed into a magical holiday land with seasonal displays
and over 20,000 lights illuminating the garden.
"Nature Comes to Light" - Numerous nature themed displays and
200,000 lights greet our guests as they take a 15 minute stroll along
the board walk through the Richmond Nature Park. Presented by the Richmond
Kinsmen and Richmond Firefighter’s Society.
Where: Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Hwy. at No. 5 Road (Richmond
is a suburb of Vancouver)
First Night. The city's New Year's Eve performing arts festival and alcohol-free
party. Vancouver closes the downtown streets for revelers. Admission to
participating nightclubs and other sites is included in the cost of your