10 Unique Vancouver Festivals
Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival
Chocoholics will love this cocoa-fueled festival, which features an unbelievable array of exotic and specialty hot chocolates. Over 20 of Vancouver’s best cafés and restaurants offer mugs of limited edition hot chocolates—past flavours have included ginger hot chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate infused with hibiscus, and hazelnut hot chocolate served with Crown Royal whiskey marshmallows. Learn more about the event here.
Dates: January 2017
Talking Stick Festival
Immerse yourself in contemporary First Nations culture at the Talking Stick Festival, an event that includes all facets of performing arts, from theatre, dance, drumming, and music, to spoken word, visual arts and multimedia performance.
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
With three ski areas within a half-hour of downtown, Vancouver is a natural fit for a film festival devoted to unique outdoors and mountaineering films. The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival brings together mountain enthusiasts, filmmakers and storytellers, with screenings in venues in Vancouver and North Vancouver over a nine-day program.
Dates: February 16 - 29, 2016
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Every spring, thousands of blooming cherry trees transform Vancouver into an urban garden of splendid pink blossoms. Celebrate this special occasion with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, which includes a lineup of art events, community bike rides, cherry blossom viewing tours and traditional Japanese festivities.
Dates: March 21 - April 17, 2016
Car Free Day Vancouver
Reclaiming the streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and rollerbladers, communities in four Vancouver neighbourhoods celebrate their Car Free Day with street parties along a main street. Hundreds of thousands of people flood the streets for live entertainment, market stalls, patio dining and general auto-free strolling. The West End, Commercial Drive and Main Street communities celebrate in June, with the North Shore’s Car Free Day happening in August.
Dates: Vancouver neighbourhoods: June | North Vancouver: August
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Every year, masses of people flock to Jericho Beach Park for the annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, a weekend-long event showcasing established and emerging folk musicians, world music performers and spoken-word poets. The festival attracts big-name headliners, but features such as the Little Folks Village make it a hit with all ages. Read more about the festival here.
Dates: July 2016
Caribbean Days Festival
Immerse yourself in island culture with the Caribbean Days Festival, a tropical-themed event touting a multicultural street parade and a festival at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park. Indulge in international cuisine, listen to Caribbean-style music and experience the fun, laidback vibe of the islands.
Dates: July 23 - 24, 2016
Vancouver Fringe Festival
With a mandate of “theatre for everyone,” the Vancouver Fringe Festival brings audiences a diverse and thought-provoking assemblage of theatre productions, independent plays and unconventional performance art in over 700 performances. This festival is part theatre, part party!
Dates: September 8 - 18, 2016
UBC Apple Festival
Push past the regular Macintoshes, Granny Smiths and Galas, and you’ll find a hidden world of rare and heirloom apples to tempt your taste buds! The UBC Apple Festival offers tastings of over 60 locally grown apple varieties, plus cider demonstrations, pies and candy apples, and a craft market.
Dates: October 15 - 16, 2016
VanDusen Festival of Lights
This festive event showcases countless strings of twinkling lights and holiday décor, as the VanDusen Botanical Garden is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland. The Festival of Lights also includes Santa with his Christmas Elves, a Make-A-Wish Candle Shrine and the Candy Cane Express model train.
Dates: December 2016