General Events & Festivals in Vancouver BC
Chinese New Year Parade in Vancouver
Since 1979, the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver has organized the annual Chinese New Year Parade.
With over 3,000 performers, this cultural celebration attracts over 50 thousand people every year.
This extravagant parade showcases lion dance teams from across Canada, marching bands, multicultural dance groups and the Vancouver Police Department Motrocycle Drill Team.
Ranked as one of the Vancouver's largest non-commercial annual parades, this is one lively and colorful event not to be missed!
When: It begins on the first Sunday of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Chinese New Year Parade - 9.30am-11pm
Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden Cultural Fair - 9am-4pm
Where: Chinatown. The Chinese New Year parade, which is 1.5 km long, starts at Millenium Gate, runs east along Pender Street, south on Gore Street and heads west onto Keefer Street. You can explore a cultural fair at the Sun Yat-Sen Garden after the parade.
Cost: The parade is a free event.
Sun Yat-Sen Garden: Suggested donation $5.00.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Did you know that there are 37,000 cherry trees in the Greater Vancouver area?
The Cherry Blossom Festival is a non-profit charitable society that celebrates the blossoming of these trees in Vancouver every spring.
The Cherry Blossom Festival offers a variety of programs, musical performances and fine art & craft exhibitions. Annual events include the Cherry Jam and the Blossom Biking Event. A creative activity, The Haiku International Writing Competition is held annually to inspire poets to write about the beauty of cherry blossom trees.
When: March and April of every year. Please check website for specific festival dates.
Where: Cherry Blossoms can be viewed in 50 park locations in 23 neighbourhoods in and around Vancouver. See the map on the Cherry Blossom Festival website for exact locations. Cherry Jam - Burrard Skytrain Station.
Haiku International Writing Competition - poems advertised on Translink sky trains and busses around Vancouver.
Cost: Free event.
Vancouver International Children's Festival
This is a great performing arts festival for families and young audiences alike. Here, you can experience Canadian and internationally acclaimed professional performers such as Raffi and Charlotte Diamond.
Children engage in hands-on arts and craft activities or get inspired by a variety of live performances. This festival not only presents musical and theatrical events, but also features circus acts , dance, storytelling and puppetry to awe and excite young minds.
When: Early June. Day and early evening events from 10 am-8pm.
Where: This year, the festival will be moving to Granville Island. Please check the Vancouver Children's Festival website for more details.
Cost: Site Admission: $10 (free with show ticket purchase); no charge for children under 24 months of age.
Show tickets: Family pack for 4 $56, Adults $20, Youth $18.
Canada Day Celebration
With many free events to enjoy, come celebrate Canada's birthday in Vancouver. There are a couple of options for you to choose from:
> On Granville Island, you can enjoy a 'Truly Canadian Pancake Breakfast', live jazz music and cultural dance performances.
> Or, you could walk down Robson Street during the afternoon for live music, dance and street performances.
> As a third option, you could see the Canada Day festival which takes place at Canada Place near Waterfront. This is followed by a Canada Day parade in downtown Vancouver.
> Finally, the Burrard inlet fireworks show happens annually - you can catch this pyrotechnic display from Canada Place or across the water at Lonsdale Quay.
When: July 1st, all day festivities.
Where: Best spots to catch free shows in Vancouver are Granville Island, Robson Street and Canada Place (near Waterfront sky train station).
Cost: Free event.
Celebration of Lights Fireworks Competition
Since 1990, Vancouver has been hosting this pyro-musical fireworks competition, in which countries compete for the best lighting displays.
Leading fireworks designers use the newest materials and techniques to put on the most magical firework shows. You can tune into the local SHORE fm radio station to hear the accompanying music.
The Fireworks Competition is free to view from many public parks and beaches in and around Vancouver.
When: Late July-Early August. Please check the website for date information as this event is subject to sponsorship.
Dates for 2012: Saturday July 28th and August 4th, and Wednesday August 1st from 10pm.
Where:English Bay on Vancouver's West End.
Cost: Free event.
Vancouver Pride Parade
The Vancouver Pride Society represents the LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual/pansexual, and trangender community in Vancouver.
Catch some vibrantly dressed drag queens, flashy floats and "Dykes on Bikes" in this over the top display of Vancouver Pride!
This internationally recognized parade attracts over half a million spectators and spans 20 blocks. At the end of the parade, you can enjoy a Pride Festival celebration at Sunset Beach. Here, you can enjoy more music and entertainment from the local Pride community.
When: End of July- Early August
Where: The Vancouver Pride Parade begins at Robson and Thurlow Streets, runs West down Denman Street turning left onto Beach Avenue. It then runs down Pacific Avenue and finishes at the Sunset Beach Festival Site.
Cost: Free event
Vancouver International Film Festival
This film festival brings together a large selection of international films which focus on the following film themes: Non-fiction/Arts and Letters, Canadian, International, East Asian, Money & the Economy, Nature and the Environment. You can enjoy the largest concentration of Canadian films and the second largest grouping of documentary (non-fiction) films of any festival in Canada.
When: September 29-October 14, 2011.
Where: Empire Granville Theatre, Pacific Cinemateque, Ridge Theatre, Vancity Theatre, The Film & TV Forum.
Cost: Price range for individual tickets is $10-$20. You must get a one-time membership fee that lasts the duration of the festival. Please check the website for festival pass information.
Vancouver International Readers and Writers Festival
Undiscovered authors from BC, Canada and beyond have an opportunity to share their creative prose and mingle with internationally renowned authors. Guest authors come to this festival to share excerpts of their new works with 14,000 readers annually. Famous authors, including JK Rowling, Margaret Atwood and Alistair Macleod, come to promote literature to diverse audiences.
When: Mid-October 2011.
Where: Various venues at Granville Island. Please check the Vancouver International Readers and Writers Festival website for specific locations.
Cost: Festival tickets - Adults $16, Student Groups $8 (per student with valid ID).
*Seniors and students get a $2 discount.
Eastside Culture Crawl
An ever-popular event, the Eastside Culture Crawl promotes local artists who live on Vancouver's Eastside. Showcasing their work, artists open up their homes and studios to the public for one fun-filled weekend. This arts event had its humble beginnings in 1997 with a mere 45 artists in 3 Strathcona area studio buildings. This year, there will be more than 300 artists sharing their art in 60 buildings. You can use the Culture Crawl brochure to select which artists you prefer to see.
When: November 16, 17 & 18 2012.
Where: Vancouver's Eastside. The Culture Crawl area is bound by Main Street, 1st Avenue, Victoria Drive and the Waterfront.
Cost: Free event.
Vancouver Festival of Lights
With 1,400 000 lights brigtening up VanDusen Gardens, this is the festive event to attend during the winter holidays.
Highlights include exploring the Gingerbread Wood and Candy Cane Lane, watching the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, and visiting Saint Nick in the Santa Living Room.
Where: VanDusen Gardens. Check the website for more details.
When: December 11th - January 3rd (closed on Dec. 25th). Open daily from 4:30-9pm.
Cost: Adults $14.25, Seniors & Youth (13-18) $10.50, Kids (3-12) $7.75, Families (2 adults and their kids) $27.25. Kids aged 2 and under are free.
Vancouver Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival celebrates Winter Solstice encouraging you to participate in lantern processions at various locations around Vancouver. You can create colourful and creative lanterns at the Lantern Festival workshops, to showcase at the lantern processions. The Lantern festival also presents a number of live cultural performances with creative lighting displays.
Where: East Vancouver- Britannia Community Centre
Yaletown- Roundhouse Community Centre
Granville Island- False Creek Community Centre
Strathcona- Strathcona Community Centre
Chinatown- Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
When: Winter Solstice, December 21st.
Cost: Lantern processions are free to watch, donations encouraged.
Lantern - making workshops: $5-$30 per lantern.
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is one of Vancouver's signature events. Produced over three weeks each January, it presents groundbreaking work in the live performing arts. Its visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original work, it contributes to expand the horizons of Vancouver artists and audiences. The Festival showcases acclaimed international, Canadian and local artists and mixes them together with an alchemy that inspires audiences, rejuvenates artists, stimulates the industry and forges productive relationships around the globe.
When: Jan 18- Feb 6, 2011.
Cost: Please check the website for festival pass information.
Pecha Kucha Vancouver
With branches all over the world, Pecha Kucha has become an amazing place to get inspired with cutting edge design, art, fashion, and architecture. In this Vancouver chapter, local artists share their passions & success stories in the arts and architecture industries. For locals and tourists alike, it is a great place to learn about the many beautiful places to explore in Vancouver. This includes recently restored buildings, newly created community gardens, sustainable architecture, sculptures, local fashion stores to name a few.
When: Every couple of months. Please check the website for specific dates.
Evening event from 7:30-10:30pm.
Where: Various locations around Vancouver. Please look on the website for the next venue.