What: The Evo Summer Cinema Series of free outdoor movies, shown on a four-storey inflatable movie screen in Stanley Park. This year’s schedule includes Purple Rain, Dirty Dancing, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
Where: Ceperley Meadows (Second Beach), Stanley Park
When: Every Tuesday from July 5 to August 23, movies start at dusk
What: You may think The Fair is overpriced and far too small for a metro region of 2.5 million, but it’s hard to say no when admission is free. Expect long lineups if the weather cooperates. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Where: The Fair at the PNE – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
When: Tuesday, 23 August and Tuesday, 30 August, from 11 am to 1 pm
What: Western Canada’s largest Canada Day Celebration is a jam-packed day filled with fun for the whole family and is capped off by an impressive Burrard Inlet Fireworks display. This year’s party is going retro to mark the 30 years since Expo too.
Where: Canada Place, Jack Poole Plaza and the seawall near the Convention Centre
When: Friday, July 1, all day, fireworks at around 10 pm
There are loads of great Pride events in Vancouver this summer, celebrating our LGBTQ community – and lots of them are free, so join in the party!
East Side Pride
What: Kick off the Pride Season at the site of the historic Stonewall Festival! Meet local artisans and groups doing important work in and with the LGBTQ community – and be serendaded by some of the East Side’s top drag performers.
Where: Grandview Park – Commercial Drive & Charles Street, Vancouver
When: Saturday, June 25, from noon to 6 pm
Davie Street Party
What: Take back the streets for Pride Weekend in the heart of the Davie Street Village! The party will spill out from the Community Stage at the historic Rainbow Crosswalk, where you can pound the pavement to some of the city’s hottest talent and witness the annual Wimple-In ceremony of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Where: Davie Street between Burrard and Jervis, Vancouver
When: Friday, July 29, 6 pm until midnight
Tickets: This is a free event, but if you want to buy alcohol, you’ll need to pay $5 in advance or $10 on the door for a 19+ wristband.
Pride Festival at Sunset Beach
What: Browse more than 100 exhibitors in the Pride Market, including local artisans and community organizations. Bands, drag performers, and speakers will be featured on the main stage, with DJs spinning in the beer garden throughout the day.
Where: Sunset Beach Park – 1204 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
When: Sunday, July 31, at 11 am
Vancouver Pride Parade 2016
What: Attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the annual Pride Parade is the city’s largest parade and is renowned on the international stage as on of the largest and most successful events in the world, in support of LGBTQQ+ communities.
Where: West End, Vancouver
When: Sunday, July 31 at noon
For more information about all of the above events and Pride in Vancouver, check here: vancouverpride.ca
What: Surrey will be hosting its first ever Pride parade this year, although unlike Vancouver it will be smaller scale, with no parade floats, but plenty of people marching in solidarity and support of people in the LGBT community.
Where: Starts at Surrey City Hall, goes along University Boulevard, and finishes at Holland Park
What: Salsa dancing returns to Robson Square for the Summer 2016 season, offering free lessons, performances and social dancing. Swing by and check it out – it’s fun just to watch if you’re too scared to hit the dancefloor!
Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: Every Sunday in July and August; lessons at 3 pm, performances at 5 pm, social dancing all afternoon
What: To help celebrate the 31st annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society is offering a variety of free educational programs for budding musicians and music lovers of all ages.
Where: Tom Lee Music – 929 Granville Street, Vancouver
When: Every day between June 27 and July 3, except July 1
What: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra will play popular classics from a host of composers including Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, plus the themes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek: Into Darkness – all for free.
Where: Deer Lake Park – 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
What: Novelist/activists Karim Alrawi and Monia Mazigh will respond to renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s little known Vancouver work, F-Grass, and speak about the Syrian refugee crisis, an issue Ai Weiwei has been focusing on of late.
Where: Harbour Green Park – 1199 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
What: Internationally acclaimed writers Sandip Roy and Minal Hajratwala respond to ‘Engagement’ – the sculpture of two giant rings that sits on Sunset Beach – with their own thoughts and provoke a discussion around the work and the issues it raises.
Where: Sunset Beach Park – 1204 Beach Avenue, Vancouver
What: It’s back! Dance the night away for free as DanceSport BC brings back the Robson Square Summer Dance Series. Free lessons, shows, and social dancing. No partner or experience required – just show up and have some fun.
Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: Every Friday from Friday, June 24 through September 2, between 7:30 and 11:30 pm
What: Original bands and artists will be performing free, outdoor concerts in Cates Park again this summer, so bring a picnic and spend your Saturday afternoons enjoying the immense local talent that Vancouver has to offer.
Where: Cates Park – Deep Cove, North Vancouver
When: Every Saturday from July 16 to August 27, exact times TBA
What: A series of free, live concerts at the CBC Plaza, every weekday at lunchtime. The lineup this year includes The Tourist Company, Jordan Klassen, Big Little Lions and for the kids, Will Stroet, co-creator and star of the musical TV series Will’s Jams.
When: From July 8 to August 19, Monday to Friday, noon to 1 pm
A man and woman playing street hockey at Hockey Night In Canada’s Play On! in 2015 (Play On!)
What: This is the the largest annual sports festival in Canada, where local wannabe players and teams of all ages, genders and abilities will face off in a whole weekend of 4-on-4 street hockey tournaments. Free for spectators.
Where: YPK Integrated Training Centre – 18200 Ford Road, Pitt Meadows
What: If you’ve ever wanted to try kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or dragon boating, now’s your chance. Reserve a spot and on Community Day, knowledgeable paddlers will provide you with coaching before you head out on to the water.
Where: Creekside Community Centre – 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver. Meet outside, by the sea wall, just southwest of Science World and the Main Street SkyTrain station.
Where: For one day, the charming cobblestone streets of Gastown are transformed into one of the fastest, best-loved and most challenging cycling race courses in North America – and it’s totally free to watch.
When: July 13, youth race at 5:30 pm, opening ceremonies at 5:55 pm, women’s race at 6:15 pm, men’s race at 7:30 pm.
Popular among chefs, home cooks, and local gastronomes, farmers’ markets have become an integral part of Vancouver’s food landscape. Not only do these community events grant local farmers, growers, and bakers the opportunity to connect with urban folk but they also provide them with a space to show off their seasonal favourites. Here’s a quick list of a few – for full details check our guide to Vancouver farmers’ markets.
In addition to a variety of farmers’ markets, the city and surrounding areas boast a collection of night markets that showcase the city’s best food trucks, bakers, and artisans. These night markets bring together communities for entertainment, shopping, and wonderful food:
What: One of the biggest attractions in Vancouver, Granville Island is a great place to go for free. Enjoy the hustle, bustle and bounty of the Public Market and marvel at the island’s unique arts and crafts, while enjoying the spectacle of street buskers.
When: Granville Island Public Market is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 7 pm, most other retail stores are open seven days a week, from 10 am to 7 pm
What: Vancouver’s only Italian market, Il Mercato is about bringing together the tastes of Italy with the produce grown in local farms. Come and enjoy a vibrant assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, and handmade products from local artisans.
Where: Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver
When: Third Friday of every month, starting June, ending August – this year that’s June 17, July 15 and August 19 – from 4 to 8 pm
We’ve all heard the excuses before. You don’t have the right shoes, you can’t drive to the trailhead, you won’t get out of bed for less than $1,000…
Well, it’s time for Vancouver’s lazy ramblers to take a hike, literally.
So strap on some runners (or even better, actual hiking boots) and try out these five easy hikes for lazy people on Vancouver’s North Shore.
What: This free annual festival will take over 10 blocks along Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue, with main stages at both Burrard Street and MacDonald Street. Hannah Georgas, Mounties, We Are The City and Jordan Klassen are among a huge lineup.
Where: Along 4th Avenue between Burrard Street and MacDonald Street
What: A five block stretch on Broadway, from McDonald to Blenheim, is closed off to traffic to make room for this award-winning festival, offering a world of delicious Greek food and drink, market vendors, entertainment, and live music.
Where: 3200 West Broadway, Vancouver (between McDonald and Blenheim)
What: A fairly new festival, Bastille Day brings a piece of Paris to Vancouver. For one unique afternoon, Granville Island’s Public Market Courtyard will turn blue, white and red and transform into a typical quartier français – French neighbourhood.
Where: Roundhouse Community Centre – 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
Katari Taiko at the Powell Street Festival (Jeanie Ow)
What: Vancouver’s annual celebration of Japanese culture and the largest event of its kind in Canada. Headliners include Australian koto virtuoso Miyama McQueen-Tokita and Tutchone-Japanese Tlinget-Scottish folk singer Diyet – all totally free.
Where: Oppenheimer Park and surrounding streets and venues – Vancouver
When: Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, from 11:30 am to 7 pm
What: Aldergrove Fair Days have been running for more than 100 years. With traditional agricultural and prize exhibits, a whole fairground full of garden displays and the World Zucchini Luge Championships, there really is something for everyone.
Where: Aldergrove Athletic Park and the Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Centre – 26770 29 Avenue, Langley
What: The ultimate celebration of music, food and culture, right in the heart of Surrey, with musical performances across six different stages, and 40 cultural pavilions offering culinary delights from all over the world.
What: A weekend of tropical rhythms and cuisine organized by the Trinidad & Tobago Cultural Society of B.C.. The massive outdoor party includes a multicultural street parade, an island and international food fair and a sound stage to get you grooving to calypso beats.
Where: Waterfront Park – Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
What: A celebration of the area’s heritage and culture, with tea ceremonies, calligraphy demonstrations and a Hong Kong-style outdoor bazaar. Vendors sell traditional handicrafts, while hawkers serve up a range of culinary delights.
Where: Chinatown – Columbia and Keefer streets, Vancouver