Because Vancouver (and indeed Canada itself) is a cultural mélange of people from all over the world, some holidays and celebrations from other parts of the world have been adopted as local holidays (although of course not everyone observes or celebrates these types of holidays). They are:
- Chinese New Year — late January or early February
- Groundhog Day — if the groundhog sees his shadow, winter will persist for another 6 weeks, February 2nd
- Valentine’s Day — celebrates love, February 14th
- St. Patrick’s Day — celebrates the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17th, not a provincial holiday in BC
- Shrove Tuesday — day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent
- April Fool’s Day — a day to play harmless tricks on each other, April 1st
- Mother’s Day — commemorating all mothers, second Sunday in May
- Father’s Day — commemorating all fathers, third Sunday in June
- Halloween — kids dress up and go trick-or-treating from door to door in their neighborhood, adults dress up and go to parties, October 31st
There are also many annual events/festivities in and around Vancouver that everyone looks forward to. In Vancouver, it is never a question of there not being enough to do, but instead the most difficult task of choosing which activities, celebrations, festivals, and seasonal festivities to attend.
Vancouver Sun Run
10 km race held each year in April, sponsored by the Vancouver Sun newspaper. The Sun Run is the 3rd largest 10 km road race in the world.
For more information visit: http://www.vancouversun.com/sunrun/index.html
Abbotsford International Airshow (August)
Canada’s largest air show, the Abbotsford International Airshow features both military and civilian aircraft from the U.S. and Canada, and frequently, from other countries.
For more information visit: http://www.abbotsfordairshow.com/
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (June)
The oldest and largest dragon boat festival outside of Asia, it takes place at False Creek each June. The Festival serves to highlight Vancouver’s multiculturalism and diversity.
For more information visit: http://dragonboatbc.ca/
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival (June / September)
Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest and best Shakespeare festivals, presented on the waterfront in Vanier Park in two tents, performances June through September.
For more information visit: http://www.bardonthebeach.org/
Cloverdale Rodeo (May)
Showcasing the top cowboys and cowgirls in the world.
For more information visit: http://www.cloverdalerodeo.com/
Vancouver International Fringe Festival (September)
BC’s largest theatre festival, featuring an eclectic mix of theatrical performances.
For more information visit: http://www.vancouverfringe.com/
Pacific National Exhibition (August / September)
The largest annual ticketed event in BC, the PNE draws nearly 1 million visitors per season, featuring trade shows, concerts, all kinds of entertainment, sporting events, amusement park and rides, and much more. The opening of the PNE is eagerly awaited each year by Vancouverites.
For more information visit: http://www.pne.ca/
Vancouver Folk Music Festival (July)
The festival takes place every July, and features artists from all over the world. Held at Jericho Beach.
For more information visit: http://www.thefestival.bc.ca/
TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival
The largest jazz festival in BC, the Jazz Festival takes place every summer and draws nearly half a million people each year.
For more information visit: http://www.coastaljazz.ca/
HSBC Celebration of Light on English Bay
The Celebration of Light is an annual pyro-musical event that every Vancouverite looks forward to. With 4 countries competing on different nights, the event is one of the largest fireworks displays in the world, and an extravaganza no one wants to miss. Shot from a barge on the waters of English Bay, the show is free to watch from Vancouver’s beaches.
For more information visit: http://www.celebration-of-light.com/
Gay Pride Parade in the West End
Annual pride event in Vancouver, draws people from all over Canada. Not for children (open displays of nudity).
For more information visit: http://www.vancouverpride.ca/
Bright Nights in Stanley Park
A magical ride through the forest on the Christmas Train with millions of twinkling lights. Children’s farmyard and Santa in his workshop.
Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival
Canada’s premier wine event, the festival attracts some of the biggest names from around the world.
For more information visit: http://www.playhousewinefest.com/
Theatre Under the Stars
Popular musical theatre shows in Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park. Family entertainment.
For more information visit: http://www.tuts.ca/
Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
A magical celebration and multitude of festivities atop Grouse Mountain each Christmas season, with sleigh rides, Santa’s workshop and reindeer, ice skating and Christmas carols.
For more information visit: http://www.grousemountain.com/peak-of-christmas
Carol Ship Parade of Lights in Coal Harbour
A 20-night festival every Christmas season, with 50 boats decorated with over 100,000 lights carrying over 30,000 people.
For more information visit: http://www.carolships.org/