Vancouver is a festival city, with an ever-growing plethora of events throughout the year. The following is a sampling of what to expect, organized by theme. See the next section for information on the city's wide array of sporting events.
Multicultural and Community
- Chinese New Year Festival & Parade
Annual celebration of the biggest event in the Chinese calendar (January or February; www.vancouver-chinatown.com)
- CelticFest Vancouver
Downtown's annual St. Patrick's Day parade and Irish cultural celebration (mid-March; www.celticfestvancouver.com).
- Vaisakhi Day Parade
Annual celebration in the Punjabi Market area (mid-April).
- Chinatown Night Market
Downtown smorgasbord of weekend food and market stalls (mid-May to mid-September; www.vcma.shawbiz.ca).
- Hyack Festival
New Westminster’s annual parade and community showcase (mid-May; www.hyack.bc.ca).
- City of Bhangra
Nine-days of energetic dance and drums from local and international bhangra exponents (late-May to June; www.cityofbhangra.com).
- Summer Night Market in Richmond
Giant weekend array of food stalls, market hawkers and live performance (June to mid-September; www.summernightmarket.com)
- Portuguese Heritage Month
Multi-event celebration of Vancouver’s Portuguese culture (june; www.portuguesemonth.com)
- Festival d’été Francophone
Showcase of French-Canadian arts and culture (mid-June; www.lecentreculturel.com)
- Car Free Vancouver
Communities across the city close their main streets for a day of food, live music and family-friendly fun (mid-June; www.carfreevancouver.org)
- Greek Summer Festival
Greek community festival (late June to early July; www.vancouvergreeksummerfest.com)
- Indian Summer
Popular festival of contemporary arts, culture and performance from India and beyond (July; www.indiansummerfest.ca).
- Caribbean Days Festival
Annual celebration of the city’s Caribbean side (late July; www.caribbeandays.ca)
- Vancouver Pride Week
Giant celebration of gay and lesbian culture as well as the city’s biggest street parade (July to August; www.vancouverpride.ca)
- Powell Street Festival
Showcase of Vancouver’s Japanese heritage (early August; www.powellstreetfestival.com)
- Vancouver Chinatown Festival
Celebration of Chinese culture (early August; www.vancouver-chinatown.com)
- Taiwanese Cultural Festival
Annual event focussing on Taiwanese arts and culture (early September; www.taiwanfest.ca)
- Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June to July; www.coastaljazz.ca): giant annual showcase of live jazz performances.
- Vancouver Folk Music Festival (mid-July; www.thefestival.bc.ca): popular weekend folk celebration held at Jericho Beach.
- Early Music Festival (July to August; www.earlymusic.bc.ca): showcase of historic, choral and classical music.
- Vancouver Chamber Music Festival (July; www.vanrecital.com): live classical performances around the city.
- MusicFest Vancouver (August; www.musicfestvancouver.ca): large celebration of classical, jazz and world music.
- PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (mid-January to early February; www.pushfestival.ca): multi-disciplined platform for theatre, dance and music.
- Vancouver International Dance Festival (March to April; www.vidf.ca): diverse dance arts celebrated at venues around the city.
- New Play Festival (June; www.playwrightstheatre.com): new plays and writers showcased on Granville Island.
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival (Late May to September; www.bardonthebeach.org): giant annual summer festival of Shakespeare plays, performed in tents at Vanier Park.
- Vancouver Fringe Festival (September; www.vancouverfringe.com): cornucopia of live dramatic and comic stage shows performed at venues around Granville Island.
- CanWest Comedy Fest (mid-September; www.vancouvercomedyfest.com): growing showcase of new and established comic talent from across North America.
- Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (mid-February; www.vimff.org): showcasing outdoor-themed movies.
- Vancouver Queer Film Festival (mid-August; www.outonscreen.com): celebration of gay and lesbian movies.
- Vancouver International Film Festival (September to October; www.viff.org): giant festival of movies from around the world, plus workshops and events for film fans and industry.
- Vancouver Asian Film Festival (early November; www.vaff.org): forum for independent North American Asian filmmakers to showcase their work.
- Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival (mid-October; www.writersfest.bc.ca): dozens of readings and appearances from the world's best writers attracting booklovers to venues around the city.
Food and Drink
- Dine Out Vancouver (mid-January to early February; www.tourismvancouver.com): top city restaurants offer specially-priced three course tasting menus at this highly successful annual event.
- Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (mid-April; www.playhousewinefest.com): the city's main wine festival event.
- Vancouver Farmers' Markets (May to October; www.eatlocal.org): regional farmers bring their produce to town at locations throughout the city.
- Feast of Fields (mid-September; www.feastoffields.com): one day showcase of the Lower Mainland's great land and vineyard bounty held at a local farm.
- Cranberry Festival (early October; www.fortlangley.com): family-friendly arts, crafts and food fest celebrating the annual cranberry harvest.
- West Coast Chocolate Festival (mid-October; www.chocolatefestival.ca): Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody revel in a series of choc-themed special events.
- Spring Break Theatre Festival (mid-March; www.artsclub.com): a week of live Granville Island stage shows specially aimed at kids.
- Playdome at BC Place Stadium (mid-March; www.bcplacestadium.com): a plethora of fairground rides and attractions under the dome at BC Place.
- Playland (April to October; www.pne.ca): the city's long-standing permanent midway - complete with rollercoasters - opens its gates from spring to early fall.
- Vancouver International Children's Festival (mid-May; www.childrensfestival.ca): wide-eyed kids and their families turn up in Vanier Park for an extravaganza of play, storytelling and shenanigans.
- Canada Day Celebrations (July 1; www.canadaday.canadaplace.ca): the city's biggest celebration of the country's leading national holiday.
- Canada Day at Granville Island (July 1; www.granvilleisland.com): family-friendly celebration of Canada's main national holiday.
- Illuminares (late July; www.publicdreams.org): magical summer event that lights up Trout Lake Park with homemade lanterns.
- Celebration of Light fireworks competition(late July to early August; www.celebration-of-light.com): hundreds of thousands of spectators line English Bay and Vanier Park for a multi-night international competition of some of the world's biggest and best firework displays.
- Abbotsford International Airshow (mid-August; www.abbotsfordairshow.com): the region's biggest celebration of flight, complete with hundreds of airplanes and dozens of air displays.
- The Fair at the PNE (mid-August to early September; www.pne.ca): livestock displays, a fairground, home and garden events, and live music and cultural shows are just part of this action at this ever-popular annual fair.
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Celebration of the city’s 36,000 flowering cherry trees (April; www.vcbf.ca
- Peony Festival
Celebrating China’s most prized flower at the city’s leading Chinese garden attraction (late May; www.vancouverchinesegarden.com)
- Enchanted Evenings at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Live music performed al fresco at the city’s classical Chinese garden (July to September; www.vancouverchinesegarden.com)
- Stanley Park Ghost Train
Kid-friendly train trundling through a spooky landscape in Vancouver’s big-gest park (October; www.vancouverparks.ca)
- Parade of the Lost Souls
Night time street parade of costumed Halloween fans (late October; www.publicdreams.org)
- Fright Nights at the PNE
Scary haunted houses, frightening exhibits and rides take over all of Playland (mid-October to October 31; www.pne.ca)
- Vancouver Christmas Market
German-inspired outdoor Yuletide market, held daily next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (late November to Christmas Eve; www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com)
- Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum
Celebrate the traditions of Christmas at this popular outdoor history museum (from late November; www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca)
- Rogers Santa Claus Parade
Huge, family-friendly annual street celebration of Yuletide cheer – complete with the jolly red elf himself (early December; www.rogerssantaclausparade.com)
- Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
Smorgasbord of Christmas events, ranging from wandering reindeer to Santa’s workshop (November to December; www.grousemountain.com)
- Christmas at Canada Place
Carollers, animated window displays and the great man himself bring Christmas to life on the Vancouver waterfront (December; www.christmas.canadaplace.ca)
- Bright Nights in Stanley Park
Sparkling Christmas light display in the city’s giant downtown park (December; www.vancouverparks.ca)
- Carol Ships Parade of Lights
More than 80 Vancouver boats decorate themselves with twinkling lights and parade around the waterfront, accompanied by live or pre-recorded Christmas carols (December; www.carolships.org)
- Festival of Lights
One of the city’s favourite gardens is decked with a kaleidoscope of fairy lights every Christmas (December to early January; www.vandusengarden.org)
- Canyon Lights
The forest and parkland around Capilano Suspension Bridge Park gain a festive sparkle with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights (December to January; www.capbridge.com)
- 24 Hours of Winter at Grouse Mountain
For one night only, Vancouver’s popular ski resort stays open for 24 hours of floodlit skiing, snowboarding and snowy shenanigans (mid-February; www.grousemountain.com)
Granville Island chases away the winter blues with a warming roster of live music, theatre and family-friendly events (late February; www.winterruption.com)
- Eastside Culture Crawl
East Vancouver artists open their stu-dios and stage impromptu events for art-loving visitors (mid-November; www.eastsideculturecrawl.com)
- Winter Solstice Lantern Procession
Six Vancouver neighbourhoods join together with their own mini lantern parades to welcome the middle of winter (December; www.secretlantern.org)
- Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Chinese lantern parade to welcome the middle of winter (late December; www.vancouverchinesegarden.com)