O Canada! It’s that time of year again – when we let our hearts swell with pride as we celebrate the True North Strong And Free.
This year, celebrations are even bigger than ever as we honour our nation’s 150th birthday – just look at what’s happening in Ottawa. So on July 1, put on your best bright red t-shirt, paint your face, grab a flag, and head to some of these fantastic Canada Day events happening across Metro Vancouver.
What: This year’s Port of Vancouver Canada Day celebration is gearing up to be the largest event outside the nation’s capital. Highlights include a citizenship ceremony welcoming 150 new Canadians, a Canada 150 parade and multi-community fireworks show, and pancake breakfast on July 2. There will also be live performances by Sam Roberts, Fefe Dobson, Emerson Drive, Hey Ocean!, Dragonette, Madeline Merlo, The Matinee, and many more.
Where: Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza, and surrounding city streets
What: Whether you want to get a perfect tan on the day boat or dance under the stars on the night boat, this is your chance to celebrate Canada Day with a massive boat party, alongside a thousand other Canadians dancing their faces off to sounds of 24 DJs and artists.
Where: “Sunny Ways” day boat boards at noon, Fireworks night boat boards at 7 pm
What: Vancouver International Jazz Festival has a variety of live shows to check out on Canada Day, including free concerts on Granville Island and David Lam Park, workshops and shows at the Roundhouse, and more.
What: The Good Company Canada Day Block Party will feature something for everyone. Spend the day outdoors soaking up the sunshine while listening to live music on the main stage, watching the city’s best skateboarders on the half pipe, or enjoying $2 BBQ and a drink in the beer garden.
Where: The Waldorf Hotel – 1489 E Hastings Street, Vancouver
When: July 1 from noon to 11 pm. DJs from 8 pm to 2 am
Price: $15 early bird/$20 advance – available through MyShowPass
What: Taking place in Olympic Village, Arrival Agency’s Canada Day Cookout is part of this year’s expanded YVR Food Fest programming, and will offer Vancouver a great gathering place to celebrate Canada 150 on July 1. The musical lineup includes Light Organ Records singer-songwriter Jessicka, Mint Records pop-punk artists Supermoon, dream pop group Jody Glenham and the Dreamers, new wave act Gang Signs, indie pop band Leisure Club, 10-piece afrobeat outfit Camaro 67, and the Common People DJs.
Where: Olympic Village – 215 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver
When: July 1 from 12 to 8 pm
Price: Tickets are available for the Canada Day Cookout online, and are priced at $10 to 59 (and include food and beverage tokens).
Image: North Vancouver Canada Day Celebrations at Waterfront Park / Facebook
What: The 29th annual North Vancouver Canada Day Celebrations emphasizes heritage, multiculturalism, environmentalism and fun for the whole family. The free event features live performers, crafts, food trucks, as well as games and activities for people of all ages to enjoy. Hosted by The Rotary Club of Lions Gate.
Where: Waterfront Park – 325 Esplanade Avenue, North Vancouver
What: Join Karen Fowlie and Friends for a special Canada 150 celebrations with a free concert recognizing Canadian Women in Song. Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy a musical journey beginning with Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, Sarah McLachlan as well as tributes to the legendary Leonard Cohen and The Tragically Hip.
What: The festivities start with a citizenship ceremony at 2 pm followed by live entertainment, kids activities and a variety of food vendors. Be sure to stay and enjoy the fireworks show from the beach.
Where: John Lawson Park, 17th Street and Bellevue Avenue
What: Kick off your Squamish Canada Day with a parade on Cleveland Avenue and flag raising and cake cutting at Stan Clarke Park. Then spend the day enjoying the market and entertainment at Junction Park, followed by fireworks.
What: This beloved annual event draws thousands of attendees each year, and features a parade, great food, activities and events for the whole family. The main attraction is the famous salmon barbecue where over 1200 pounds of wild salmon filets are grilled over open fire pits.
What: Take advantage of the free admission to the museum, and learn about the rich history of fishing and canning in the Gulf of Georgia. There will be carnival games, music, and fair food for the whole family to enjoy.
What: The overall programming will connect local community with the celebrations taking place across the country to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary. Some of the planned activities include arts and heritage workshops, community groups presentations and diverse performances that celebrate the story of Canada.
Where: First Street at Third Avenue, New Westminster
What: The New Westminster Hyack Festival Association presents an evening of stunning fireworks at the New Westminster Quay and over the Fraser River. Bring your camera, your binoculars and of course, your family and friends!
What: The Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre will have a cavalcade of Canada Day activities, including Strawberry Tea, Kids World, live performances by Hedley, Chilliwack and Magic!, and more. The event wraps up with a massive fireworks display at dusk.
What: Highlights include the RE/MAX Sea Stage located beside the White Rock Museum & Archives, the Halfmoon Dentistry Kids Zone at East Beach, over 80 vendors selling a wide variety of handcrafted items, and a fireworks finale.
What: Start your day with a hot stack of pancakes at the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. After breakfast, kids 10 and under can take part in the Annual Fishing Derby, casting a line in the Coquitlam River for fun and prizes.
Where: Shaughnessy Street at Lions Park, Port Coquitlam
What: The event features children’s activities, local talent showcase, food vendors and salmon BBQ, community marketplace music by Jordan Klassen and more. Then grab a blanket and top the day off with fireworks at dusk.
Where: Castle Crescent at Citadel Drive, Port Coquitlam
What: Spend the day at beautiful Rocky Point Park and Port Moody’s Canada 150 Zone. Attend the patriotic ceremony at 1 pm on July 1, and pick up a cupcake. A concert by Trooper keeps the party going into the evening, with a fireworks display to cap everything off.
What: The annual festival begins with the popular Lions Club pancake breakfast and activities continue throughout the day. Join the fun with family oriented activities, live music, a Kids Run, interactive displays, a bicycle rodeo, arts and crafts and popular watermelon eating contest. The official Canada Day ceremony begins at 11 am with a protocol event and a cake cutting ceremony.
What: There will be three stages presenting arts, culture, music and dance. There will also be a Farmer’s Market, a fire department community barbecue, children’s games, informative community displays and family friendly recreation activities. Then join in the finale with Canadian music and the biggest birthday sing-along.
Where: Memorial Peace Park – 224 Street & McIntosh Avenue, Maple Ridge
When: July 1 from 10 am to 7 pm
Image: Fort Langley National Historic Site / Facebook
What: Celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday at the site where British Columbia was born. Enjoy multicultural music, cake and ceremony at noon and family activities all day on site and at the neighbouring museums. Then in the evening, Fort Langley National Historic Site will host a free concert featuring M’Girl followed by an outdoor movie on a giant screen at dusk.
What: Enjoy a wide variety of activities, community vendors, live entertainment on two stages, food trucks, and a BBQ to benefit Basics for Babies. Bring your family to the action-packed Kids’ Zone that features face painting, mini golf, Pacific Trackless Trains, arts & crafts, inflatables, games, and more.
Where: Willoughby Community Park – 7700 block 202A Street, Langley
What: A birthday this big deserves a whole weekend celebration. See amazing local talent on June 30, featuring Abbotsford Youth Orchestra, Pacific Mennonite Children’s Choir, Valley Festival Singers, Sionnaine Irish Dance Academy, and more. Then enjoy a Canada Day Parade and fireworks on July 1.
Where: Abbotsford Exhibition Park – 32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford
When: June 30 from 6 to 9 pm, July 1 from 11 am to 10:30 pm
What: Start your Canada Day off with the Kiwanis Club Annual Pancake Breakfast at Evergreen Hall (9291 Corbould St.) at 8 am. Then enjoy a full day of family-friendly activities at Townsend Park, followed by musical performances and fireworks in the evening.
Where: Townsend Park – 45130 Wolfe Road, Chilliwack
When: July 1 from 11 am to 10:30 pm
Daniel is a writer and comedian based in Vancouver, BC.