Festivals and Events

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.indiansummerfestival.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)

Music

  • 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.

Performance

  • 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.

Film

  • 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.

Literary

  • 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.

Kids

  • 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.

Summer Specials

  • 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.

Garden

  • 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)

Halloween

  • 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)

Christmas

  • 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)

 


 

Winter Specials

  • 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)
  • Winterruption
    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)