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: 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 noon 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).
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: 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 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: Whether you’re a huge jazz fan or just getting into it, there’s something for everyone at the 32nd annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This year’s highlights include a new initiative called Spotlight on Italy, as well as the festival’s first-ever collaboration with the VSO, courtesy of Branford Marsalis. More than 1,800 artists are slated to perform across 35 venues.
What: Celebrating its 28th season, this beloved Shakespeare festival, known for its fresh takes on the Bard’s classics, will be transporting audiences to Italy all summer long. All four of its headliner shows – Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice and The Two Gentlemen of Verona – have been set in the land renowned for wine, art and romance.
What: The Golden Spike Days Festival is one of the oldest and longest running family events in BC. The festival attracts upwards of 40,000 people of all walks of life with live entertainment, special events and activities for all ages. The event commemorates the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway line and its arrival at the original western terminus in Port Moody where the last spike was driven.
Where: Rocky Point Park – 2800 Murray St, Port Moody
When: Now to July 3
Cost: Entrance by donation, all proceeds go to the Golden Spike Days Society.
What: One of the most popular summertime events in the city is back as free outdoor movies return to Stanley Park this summer! The Evo Summer Cinema Series features a four-story inflatable movie screen showing favourites such as The LEGO Batman Movie, Toy Story, The Goonies and Jaws. Please bring your own blankets and/or lawn chairs and, since it’s a family-friendly event, smoking or alcohol is not permitted. Movie goers are encouraged to walk, take transit, or bike to Stanley Park for the shows – there will be a bike valet service offered on site each night too.
Where: Ceperley Meadows near Second Beach, Stanley Park
What: Take a trip back to the days of poodle-skirts, greased hair, and doo wop music – the Drive-In Movie Series returns to Lansdowne Centre for third year, presented by Fresh Air Cinema. Enjoy classic, family-friendly, and even some of the latest hits on an outdoor screen. Take a drive and cuddle up, or bring a blanket and lawn chair and settle in. Parking is on a first-come first-served basis (first 200 vehicles), with movie audio will be broadcast over FM radio. And keep in mind that this is a family-friendly event, so smoking and alcohol are strictly prohibited.
Where: Lansdowne Centre, west parking lot – 5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond
What: The Indian Summer Arts Society organizes the Indian Summer Festival every July, to showcase provocative artists and visionaries from Canada, South Asia and beyond. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Tales of War and Peace’, and includes an array of award-winning artists, musicians, and authors.
What: Carnaval de Sol is the biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest. It will be 2 days of live music, art, dance, sports, and poetry in celebration of Latin American Culture. For 2017, Carnaval del Sol will bring together more than 350 artists from different Latin American countries.
What: More than 60 international, national, and local acts take the stage every year at the Vancouver Folk Festival. this year’s event will also feature a free Thursday evening concert from 7 pm to 10 pm, with a mix of acoustic sets with solo artists and choirs.
Where: Jericho Beach Park
When: Thursday, July 13 to Sunday, July 16; Thursday from 7 to 10 pm, Friday from 1 to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 11 pm
What: New West’s favourite outdoors festival is coming back this summer, and residents from all over the Lower Mainland can see bands including Coco Jafro, Lion Bear Fox, Echo Nebraska, and others. Multiple stages, food trucks, and art installations make this one a can’t-miss.
What: A blaze of fireworks will shower over English Bay in downtown Vancouver this summer over a trio of nights for the 2017 Honda Celebration of Light fireworks competition. The participating countries for the festival’s 27th year are Japan (Saturday, July 29), United Kingdom (Wednesday, August 2), and Canada (Saturday, August 5).
Where: English Bay, Vancouver
When: Saturday, July 29: Japan, represented by AKARIYA Fireworks; Wednesday, August 2:United Kingdom, represented by Jubilee Fireworks; Saturday, August 5:Canada, represented by Royal Pyrotechnie
Time: 10 to 10:28 pm (28-minute duration each night). Rain or shine. Music simulcast on radio station LG 104.3 FM.
What: As the centrepiece of the year-long Canada on Screen program, The Cinematheque celebrates Canada Day and Canada’s 150th birthday with a week of free screenings, featuring many of Canada’s greatest film (and television) works, from Anne of Green Gables to Jesus Of Montreal.
Where: The Cinematheque – 6810 Main Street, Vancouver
When: Now to July 7 at various times
Cost: Free and available on a first-come, first-served basis from The Cinematheque box office on the day of the screening.
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. The Zolas, The Courtneys, D.O.A. and Lousie Burns are among a massive lineup.
When: July 8
Time: 11 am to 9 pm
Where: Along 4th Avenue between Burrard Street and MacDonald Street
What: The festival stretches across 15 blocks featuring local artisans, musicians, community activities, delicious food, tons of entertainment and activities for all ages. As the place that Car Free Day began, Commercial Drive stays true to its grassroots beginnings and the story behind the festival.
When: July 9
Time: Noon to 7 pm
Where: Venables to North Grandview on Commercial Drive
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. Headliners include Nelly Furtado, Classified, The Zolas and Alx Veliz.
What: A weekend of tropical rhythms and cuisine organized by the Trinidad & Tobago Cultural Society of BC. The north side of Waterfront Park has a food concession area and a large beverage garden. Enjoy spicy Caribbean food as well as other international fare, then relax with an ice-cold drink in the hot sun. On the south side, there is an outdoor music festival. Dancers and other performers entertain while bands play Reggae, Calypso, Latin and other international sounds to a large crowd. There is a Family Zone with face painting, a children’s playground and other activities.
When: July 29 and 30
Time: 11 am to 7 pm. Parade on Saturday starts at 10 am
Where: Waterfront Park – Lonsdale Quay, North Vancouver
What: Returning for its second year, Mat Collective started as a yoga mat recycling program. Now, the program will offer free yoga indoor and outdoor classes every day all summer long. Mat Collective offers five classes: Hatha, Flow, Power, Kundalini, and Yin. The classes are designed for all levels.
Where: Classes take place at Kitsilano Beach Park 1499 Arbutus Street and 95 East 32nd Avenue in Vancouver. Check the full schedule here.
What: High-tech artwork along the entire undersurface of the Cambie Street Bridge meant to represent the “life blood” of the West Coast will be officially unveiled to the public on June 28. Uninterrupted by director Nettie Wild, producers Betsy Carson and Rae Hull and editor Michael Brockington it is meant to tell the the story of Wild Pacific Salmon’s life journey.
Where: Viewed from North Side of Cambie Street Bridge at Coopers Park
When: 25 minute shows nightly from Tuesdays to Saturdays; June 28 to August 14 at 10 pm (Note: no shows on Celebration of Light fireworks nights); August 15 to September 24 at 9 pm
What: Whether you’re a beginner or Salsa pro, these afternoons will definitely spice up your summer. Enjoy a free dance lesson taught by some of Vancouver’s best salsa instructors. Following the lessons, there is a dance show that features some of Vancouver’s most talented dancers.
Where: Robson Square – 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
When: Every Sunday from July 9 to August 13; lessons run from 3 to 3:30 pm. Dance show starts at 5 pm. After party begins at 7 pm.
What: Featuring nine pro races over the course of 10 days, BC Superweek has fast become one of the most prestigious pro-cycling events in North America with a total prize purse of more than $120,000! Featuring 6 separate events as part of the series, BC Superweek consists of the Tour de Delta, New West Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock.
Where: Delta, New Westminster, Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam and White Rock
What: Daniel Lanois is one of the finest sonic experimenters of recent years, and is on tour in support of his album Goodbye To Language, constructed entirely from the sounds of the pedal steel guitar and a sense of sonic futurism.
When: July 5
Time: Doors 8 pm / Show 9:30 pm
Where: Commodore Ballroom – 868 Granville St, Vancouver
What: Back for its third year, FVDED in the Park is set to take over Surrey’s Holland Park this summer, bringing some high energy artists over the festival’s two days on July 7 and 8. With programming scheduled to showcase a variety of musical genres, and the recent cancellation of other festivals in the region, FVDED is expected to attract over 40,000 festival goers this year, making it the largest outdoor event in Metro Vancouver.
What: These two bands have joined musical forces to launch the A Brief History of Everything tour across North America. If you’re hoping to relive the story of “Mr. Jones,” or remember just how lonely “3 am” can get, this is the gig for you.
When: July 16
Time: Doors at 6 pm / Show at 7 pm
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
What: American hip-hop recording artist and record producer J. Cole is back to Vancouver in July as part of a massive world tour. Stopping in at Rogers Arena on July 18, the multi-platinum-selling artist is touring in support of his fourth album, 4 Your Eyez Only, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in December.
When: July 18
Time: Doors at 7 pm / Show at 8 pm
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
What: A musical tribute and live concert experience that journeys through Michael Jackson’s vast and incredible catalogue of work including his beginnings as a member of the Jackson 5, his groundbreaking theatrics in the 80s and his evolution onward into the 21st century. Performed live by multi-talented impersonator Dantanio.
When: July 22
Time: Doors at 7 pm / Show at 8 pm
Where: Vogue Theatre – 918 Granville Street, Vancouver
What: This American singer-songwriter is known for his easygoing acoustic tunes and his hit debut album Brushfire Fairytales. Since then, Johnson has released a slew of hits including “Better Together,” “Upside Down” and “Banana Pancakes.”
When: July 23
Time: Doors at 5 pm/ Show at 6:30 pm
Where: Deer Lake Park– 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
What: It’s Canada’s 150th birthday and Vancouver TheatreSports League (VTSL) is celebrating with a humorous look at what makes Canadians, well…Canadian. The improv comedians will be highlighting the stereotypes associated with Canada and leaving audiences laughing until their sides hurt at The Improv Centre with their brand new show – ‘Oh, Canada – The True North Strong and Funny’.
When: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until September 2
What: A live podcast taping where local comedians and performers talk about their nightmares, your nightmares and everything having to do with waking up screaming in a cold sweat! Special musical guests The Skeleton Crew will entertain before, during and after the show. Presented by Living Myth Media.
Where: Seven Dining Lounge – 53 West Broadway, Vancouver
What: Join The Fictionals and Friends for Reddit-inspired laughs at Cafe Deux Soleils, complete with a live Ask Me Anything with special guest Julia Helen Church. Julia is a comedian, designer and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Nettle’s Tale, a line of Vancouver-made swimwear honestly designed for everyday women’s bodies.
Where: Cafe Deux Soleils – 2096 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
What: Do you still have any of your childhood or teenage writing? Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids is an open-mic evening of book reports, poetry, diary entries, letters from camp, etc. — all read out loud by adults to a room full of strangers.
Where: Rio Theatre – 1660 East Broadway, Vancouver
What: Drag Queens read from their favourite books. Featuring Oliv x, Karmella Barr, Dust Cwaine and friends, it’s time to turn the cafe into an evening salon. Evocative, sassy readings and heaps of fun await you.
Where: Cafe Deux Soleils – 2096 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
What: This local food destination is situated on the corner of Georgia & Hamilton at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. Shop fresh weekly to enjoy quality fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs and poultry, baked goods, artisan food and craft, fresh fish, and local craft beer, wine and spirits.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
When: Every Thursday to October 5 from 11 am to 3 pm
What: The market where it all began. Come meet your friends and neighbours, pick up supplies for a picnic by the lake, or just rub shoulders with farmers who care about the future of the land as much as the food they put on your plate.
What: Located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, this laid-back Saturday market looks onto beautiful Nelson Park and adjacent community gardens. Take the dog for a walk and enjoy the best in local produce, prepared foods and crafts.
Where: West End Farmers Market – 1100 Comox Street, Vancouver
When: Every Saturday to October 21 from 9 am to 2 pm
What: Located just steps from the Skytrain, this convenient Wednesday farmers’ market is ideal for local food fans seeking an easy shop on their commute. Over 85% of the vendors at Main Street Station are primary producers offering an excellent mix of fresh and organic produce, meat, eggs, handmade cheeses, and more.
Where: Main Street Station – 1100 Station Street, Vancouver
What: You’ll find familiar faces like Applebarn Pumpkin Farm, Blue Comet Seafoods and Goldwing as well as new ones like Honest Food Farms, Rai Produce and Urban Digs Farm. You won’t have to elbow your way through lines to get at the cauliflower and there’s plenty of adjacent street parking. It’s also only a couple blocks from the 99 B-line.
Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
When: Every Sunday to October 8 from 10 am to 2 pm
What: This one-of-a-kind market is the only riverfront market in Vancouver. Come shop for fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, and handmade products produced by farmers and artisans. Stay for live music, a delicious meal and enjoy the waterfront, playground and pier.
Where: Kerr Street Plaza – 8683 Street, Vancouver
When: Every Saturday to October 14 from 10 am to 3 pm
What: The Ambleside Farmers’ Market has a wide selection of organic and conventional produce. Prepared food vendors include baking, jams, honey, syrups, salsas and much more. The Ambleside Market has a games table, kids play area, and live music.
Where: Ambleside Farmers Market – 1500 block of Bellevue Street, West Vancouver
When: Every Sunday to October 30 from 10 am to 4 pm
What: The Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market has a great selection of conventional and organic produce. You also will find local artisans with jewellery, pottery, photography, kids clothing, soaps & much more. The market also has a book exchange, newspaper reading area, and live music.
Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
When: Every Saturday to October 29 from 10 am to 3 pm
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Daniel Chai is a writer and actor based in Vancouver, BC.