53 FREE things to do in Vancouver this May

Apr 20 2019, 4:24 am

There are many fantastic and free events happening around Vancouver this month! Here is our checklist of 53 FREE events in May, including Shipyards Night Market, Hastings Racecourse Season-Opening, and more.

For more things happening around town check out our events section.

Get outside

Jane’s Walk

What: On the first weekend of May every year, Jane’s Walk festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world. Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.

When: May 3 to 5, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various Locations
Admission: FREE

Walking, Weaving and Wayfinding: the False Creek Fibreshed

What: Walking from the south shore of the lost estuary of False Creek to the north shore, explore the stories of the land and the plants from then and now that people use for fibre and dye. Walk led by Rebecca Graham, a community engaged artist who uses ancestral skills.

When: Sunday, May 5, 2019
Time: 1 to 2:30 pm
Where: Means of Production Garden – 809 East 6th Ave, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, Free

Community Paddling Day

Dragon Boat BC

Image: Dragon Boat BC / Facebook

What: A free dragon boat lesson on the water. The 45 minute sessions start at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 pm. Dragon Boat BC supplies the instructors, equipment, and boat, attendees supply the enthusiasm. Registration highly encouraged as drop in spots are not guaranteed.

When: Sunday, May 5, Saturday, July 6, and Saturday, August 10, 2019
Time: 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 pm
Where: 1 Athletes Way (Creekside Community Centre), Vancouver
Register: Online, Free

Walk Richmond – Railway Greenway Trail

What: Take in this multi-use cycling and walking trail that connects several neighbourhoods to the Fraser River Middle Arm and South Dyke/Steveston waterfronts. Meeting spot: Parking lot at the south end of Railway Avenue and Westwater Drive.

When: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Time: 7 to 8 am
Where: Britannia Shipyards – 5180 Westwater Dr, Richmond
Admission: Free

Wilderness at Your Doorstep

What: Nature and history are woven into the landscape of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. Enhance your knowledge of plants, animals and geology and take away some practical tips on being safe in the backcountry. All ages.

When: Sunday, May 19, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Meet at BC Mills House, north end of Lynn Valley Rd.
Admission: Free

Explore the city

Heart Melt Motel Pop-Up

Heartfelt Motel pop-up Instagram exhibit

What: “Heartmelt Motel” is a pop-up exhibit taking over a Surrey mall as part of a Canadian tour that will see the photo op wonderland installed temporarily in malls in four provinces. As for the theme, think 1970s California summer and retro-motel. There are five unique “motel rooms” in the exhibit, each containing an immersive and interactive space for you to explore. No creative pop-up is complete without a gummy ball pool for visitors to jump into.

When: May 1 to May 12, 2019
Time: Regular Mall Hours
Where: Guildford Town Centre – 10355 152 Street, Surrey
Cost: Free to the public

Surrey Youth Week

What: Celebrate Surrey’s Youth Week with free, fun activities at various recreation centres and parks. Sports, cooking classes, art, video games, and more.
When: Wednesday, May 1 to Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations in Surrey
Admission: Free

Opera Speaks Series

What: A series of informative conversations around the productions and themes of Vancouver Opera Festival. These events are free, but RSVP is required at vancouveropera.ca

When: May 2 and May 4, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre Salon + Orpheum Theatre Annex
Admission: Free, RSVP at vancouveropera.ca

May Day Festival

What: Port Coquitlam celebrates its 96th annual May Days with nine days of free family activities, local culture, live entertainment and more.

When: Friday, May 3 to Saturday, May 11
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations in Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

The Show at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

What: The Show features work from Emily Carr’s graduating students across all five degree programs, exhibited on all four floors of the campus. Opening Night features a celebration of art, design and media, where attendees can enjoy music, connect in the lounges, and meet the graduating students.

When: May 3 to May 19, 2019
Time: Various times. Opening night from 5 to 10 pm
Where: Emily Carr University of Art + Design – 520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver
Admission: Free

North Vancouver’s Shipyards Night Market

What: Gathering some of Vancouver’s best food vendors, this free event will feature a full farmers’ and artisan marketplace along with local food trucks and live entertainment weekly until 10 pm. Shipbuilders’ Square in North Vancouver will be transformed into a vibrant night market with 100+ vendors. Attendees can expect to chow down on grub from 40+ food trucks in “hot food alley” and enjoy live entertainment all summer long. The Friday Night Market will also feature a 19+ beer garden, serving local craft beer and cider as well as Betty’s Vodka Iced Tea.

When: Friday May 3 to Friday, September 27, 2019,
Time: Starts at 5 pm
Where: Shipbuilders’ Square – 15 Wallace Mews, North Vancouver
Admission: Free

Burnaby Blooms

What: Burnaby Blooms (formerly Rhododendron Festival) is being re-imagined for 2019. View figures dressed in flowers, plants and foliage by floral designers as they create unique floral ladies. Returning in 2019 will be the popular plant sale and auction hosted by the Burnaby Rhododendron and Garden Society. Also on site will be the popular Burnaby Eco-Sculptures, floral installations, workshops, market vendors, entertainment and more.

When: Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, 2019
When: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts –  6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
Admission: Free

Hastings Racecourse Season-Opening

Hastings Racecourse & Casino/Facebook

What: This year, Vancouver’s iconic Hastings Racecourse and Casino are celebrating 130 years of horse racing action. It’s the longest-running sports activity in BC, and this year, you can be part of the milestone celebrations. Kick off the racing season at Hastings Racecourse on Saturday, May 4 at the Season Opening event where you’ll get to experience unparalleled entertainment. Enjoy wagering, food trucks, a Vancouver British Classic Car Showcase and more.

When: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Time: 9 am start
Where: Hastings Racecourse – 188 North Renfrew Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Free Comic Book Day

What: The annual event takes place at independent comic book shops all across North America, with thousands of comic shops giving out well-known titles like the Avengers, Captain America, Doctor Who, Pokemon, Riverdale, the Amazing Spiderman, and Star Wars, to name a few. In Vancouver, several shops will be celebrating with free books and special events.

When: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various Comic Shops across Vancouver
Admission: Free

Burnaby Festival of Learning

What: The Burnaby Festival of Learning celebrates lifelong learning in creative, unconventional ways, and features a week-long series of free events for everyone that will inspire, engage and spark creativity. Enjoy a variety of events happening throughout Burnaby, including performances, lectures, discussions, tours, and more.

When: Saturday, May 4 to Saturday, May 11, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Various venues
Admission: Free

Tian Jin Festival 2019

Music performance/Tian Jin Festival

What: Taking place in Burnaby on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, Tian Jin Festival gives you the opportunity to learn about the ancient cultures of China — without leaving Canada. The seventh-annual event draws in thousands of visitors every year and it’s completely free to attend.

Taste mouthwatering Taiwanese food (you’ll want to Instagram it before your first bite), and see incredible live cultural performances. There’s also going to be plenty of traditional Chinese games and activities that children of all ages (AKA, you) can take part in.

When: May 4 and 5, 2019
Time: 11 am to 4 pm
Where: 3426 Smith Avenue, Burnaby
Price: FREE — RSVP via Facebook

Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival 2019

What: The Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival is back for its sixth year featuring delicious grub-on-wheels, drinks, and more. This year brings seven drool-worthy events from the Fraser Valley Food Truck Association, each featuring 28 trucks to enjoy.

When: May 4, May 11, May 25, June 2, June 15 to June 25, and June 16, 2019
Time: 11 am to 6 pm
Where: Locations across Greater Vancouver
Admission: Free

Star Wars Day at the Terry Fox Library

What: If you’re in the Tri-Cities, head over to Star Wars Day at the Terry Fox Library. May the Fourth be with you as you join in the Star Wars-themed scavenger hunt, take pictures (in a costume of course) on a far far away planet (in front of a green screen) and make some arts and crafts. Enjoy some family time on this year’s Star Wars Day.

When: Saturday May 4, 2019
Time:  1 pm – 4 pm
Where: Terry Fox Library — 2740 Mary Hill Road, Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Vancity Richmond Clothing Fix it

What: Bring your clothes that need to be repaired and a team of expert fixers will show you how you can repair the clothes yourself. Sewing machines, threads, needles and all sewing supplies will be provided on site. No experience necessary and all are welcome.

When: Sunday, May 5, 2019
Time: 11 am to 2 pm
Where: Vancity Blundell Centre community branch – 6020 Blundell Rd Unit 130, Richmond,
Register: Online, Free

Big Screen, Big Impact: Filming in Your Community Open House

What: Drop in to this free event for Richmond merchants and residents to learn more about the economic benefits of film, location filming best practices, how to host a film production in your home, and more. Representatives from Creative BC, the Directors Guild of Canada, The Location Managers Guild International and city staff will be on site to answer questions and discuss filming matters.

When: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Times: 6 to 8 pm
Where: Steveston Community Centre – 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
Admission: Free

Walk with the Doc

What: Join Dr. Davidicus Wong for an inspirational 30 to 45 minute talk on living a healthy and active lifestyle. Then join local physicians for a community walk at the Confederation Park track.

When: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Time: 6 pm
Where: Confederation Community Centre – 4585 Albert Street, Burnaby
Register: Online, Free

Richmond Regional Heritage Fair

What: The 17th annual Richmond Regional Heritage Fair presented by the Richmond Museum not only showcases history projects created by Richmond students, but also offers unique, enriching drop-in activities that inspire a deeper appreciation for and curiosity about Canada’s past. All ages welcome.

When: Friday, May 10 to Saturday, May 11, 2019 
Various times
 Richmond Cultural Centre – 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond

Surrey RCMP 5th Annual Open House

What: Celebrate the start of Police Week. Everyone is invited to the Surrey RCMP’s 5th Annual Open House at the Main Detachment on Saturday, May 11. This fun, family-friendly event will include police vehicles, food, Air 1, Emergency Response Team, Dive Team, kids’ watch briefings, forensics, and more.

When: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Time: 12 to 3 pm
Where: Surrey RCMP Main Detachment – 14355 57 Ave, Surrey
Admission: Free

Mother’s Day at Burnaby Village Museum

Carousel/Burnaby Village Museum

What: Special activities and crafts for the whole family are planned to celebrate Mom at Burnaby Village Museum. Don’t forget to go for a ride on the carousel.

When: Sunday, May 12, 2019
Time: 11 am to 4:30 pm. Last Carousel Ride at 4:15pm
Where: Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel – 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Admission: Free, Carousel Rides: $2.65 each

Christy Dunsmore Nature + Nurture Opening Reception Night

What: Join local artist and writer Christy Dunsmore for her opening night reception of Nature + Nurture, a multimedia exhibition.

When: Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Exhibition in the gallery from May 7 to July 2, 2019
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Where: Western Sky Books – 2132-2850 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

National Life Jacket Day

What: Learn everything about water safety, boating safety and how life jackets save lives with free crafts, activities and life jacket fittings. Activities will be held in the lobby and outdoor patio of the Newton Recreation Centre. All ages are welcome to attend this free event.

When: May 16, 2019
Time: 2 to 9 pm
Where: Newton Recreation Centre – 13730 72 Ave, Surrey
Admission: Free

Reading & Book Launch: Amy Fung & Kim Nguyen

What: In celebration of the release of Amy Fung’s new book, Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being, the writer will read sections of the book in discussion with writer/curator Kim Nguyen. This debut collection of creative nonfiction stories by Fung takes a closer examination at Canada’s mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Books will be available for sale at the event. This event is held in partnership with the Richmond Public Library, Brighouse branch at the Richmond Cultural Centre.

When: Saturday, May 18, 2019
Time: 1 to 2:30 pm
Where: Richmond Art Gallery – 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Admission: Free, more info online

Royal Victorian Party

What: The whole family can enjoy this regal event with live dancing, birthday cake and a chance to meet the woman who had a whole era named after her – Queen Victoria. Pack a picnic, play croquet and spend a free day with your family on the scenic grounds. Royal costumes are optional, but encouraged.

When: May 19, 2019
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Historic Stewart Farm – 13723 Crescent Rd, Surrey
Admission: Free

Port Coquitlam’s Public Works Community Open House

What: Get an insider’s look at Port Coquitlam’s Public Works services – from water to waste, roads to parks – at a free Community Open House. Plus enjoy free children’s activities, a hot dog barbecue by donation, giveaways, and more.

When: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Public Works Yard – 1737 Broadway St., Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Car Boot Sale

What: Sell and search for new and used treasures at this unique parking lot sale. Rain or shine.

When: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Times: 9 am to 1 pm
Where: Steveston Community Centre – 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
Admission: Free

Art After Dark at PdA

What: Place des Arts Youth Arts Council invites teens ages 13 to 17 (teens aged 18 that are in Grade 12 can participate) to a free night of the arts. Come and explore your artistic and creative interests through a variety of casual arts activities. In addition to making art, hang out, and enjoy other fun experiences, snacks and music.

When: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Time: 7 pm
Where: Place des Arts – 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam
Tickets: Online, Free

Heritage Writers’ Group

What: Start capturing your life story for family and posterity. No preparation required; just bring a pen and paper, or your laptop.

When: May 27, 2019
Time: 10:30 am to 12 pm
Where: PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives – 150-2248 McAllister Ave., Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Eat fresh with farmers’ markets

Riley Park and Nat Bailey Stadium Farmers’ Market

What: Each week you can look forward to finding locally grown vegetables and fruit, meat and seafood from local ranchers and fishermen, artisan cheese and bread, herbs and seasonal nursery items, baked goods, prepared foods and artisanal crafts.

When: Open year round on Saturday (except December 28)
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Riley Park Plaza – 50E. 30th Ave., Vancouver, Nat Bailey Stadium – 4601 Ontario Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market on May 10, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada (Julien Hautcoeur/Shutterstock)

Granville Island Public Market (Julien Hautcoeur/Shutterstock)

What: Open year-round and boasting stalls of fresh, colourful produce, homemade products, and some tasty must-try eats. From the ocean, oven, or field — Granville Market has got it all. Grab items to-go or order some grub from one of the many established food vendors at this indoor market, you’re going to leave happy and full.

When: Open year round 7 days a week
Time: 9 am to 7 pm
Where: 1661 Duranleau Street, Granville Island
Admission: Free

Richmond Country Farms

What: Family-owned and operated for nearly 40 years, Richmond Country Farms is the farm stand adjacent to Highway 99 off Steveston. Open from early spring to just ahead of Christmas, the market has a bounty of fresh local produce and prepared goods.

When: Open Thursdays to Sundays until December 2019
Time: 9 am to 7 pm
Where: 12900 Steveston Highway, Richmond
Admission: Free

Kwantlen Street Farmers’ Market – Surrey

When: Every Saturday to June 29, 2019
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University – 12666 72nd Avenue, Surrey
Admission: Free

Kwantlen Street Farmers’ Market – Richmond

When: Every Tuesday to October 8, 2019
Time: 12 to 4 pm
Where: Plaza in between the Richmond Public Library and the Minoru Place Seniors’ Centre – 7660 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Admission: Free

Fort Langley Village Farmers’ Market

What: Fort Langley Village Farmers’ Market is an authentic BC Farmers’ Market and features local farmers and Certified Safe Prepared food vendors bringing in fresh local produce, field greens, vegetables, fruits & flowers, fresh baking, fruit pies, cupcakes & cookies, local craft beer, varietal wines, tasty prepared foods from our Fraser Valley, the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys.

When: Every Saturday from May 4 to until October 26, 2019
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: St. Andrews Historic Church – 9025 Glover Road in Fort Langley
Admission: Free

Burnaby Artisan Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday, May 4 to October 26, 2019
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Where: North Parking Lot of Burnaby City Hall (4949 Canada Way at Deer Lake Pkwy)
Admission: Free

Trout Lake Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 4 to October 19, 2019
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Where: Lakewood Drive and East 13th Avenue, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Lonsdale Artisan Farmers’ Market

The exterior of Lonsdale Quay Market.
(Quay Property Management)

When: Every Saturday from May 4 to October 26, 2019
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: East Plaza of the Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver
Admission: Free

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

When: Every Sunday from May 5 to October 20, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Parking lot of Kits Community Centre – 2690 Larch Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

White Rock Farmers’ Market

What: Live music, over 80 vendors, and great local produce and food products make the White Rock Farmers’ Market a great community event for South Surrey and White Rock.

When: Every Monday from May 5 to October 27, 2019
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: 15154 Russell Avenue (Beside Whaling Wall) in White Rock
Admission: Free

Poirier Street Market

What: Launched in 1996, the Poirier Street Farmers’ Market is the longest running suburban farmers market in the Lower Mainland.  The Poirier Street Market hosts a diversity of vendors and products from May through October. Each week a wide variety of vendors gather to showcase their products – made, baked, grown, or raised in BC.

Time: 9 am to 1 pm
Where: Dogwood Pavilion Parking Lot – 624 Poirier Street, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Ambleside Farmers’ Market

When: Every Sunday from May 5 to October 27, 2019
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Ambleside Park – 1000 Argyle AveWest Vancouver
Admission: Free

Steveston Farmers’ & Artisans Market

Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market

Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market / Facebook

When: Alternate Sundays from May 5 to September 29, 2019
Time: 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
Where: Easthope Parking Lot (across the street from the Steveston Community Centre) – 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
Admission: Free

Clayton Community Farmers’ Market

What: The Clayton Community Farmer’s Market will showcase local farmers, crafters and artisans. The market will also have a Family Fun Zone, live music and food trucks.

When: Every second Sunday from May 5 to October 6, 2019
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Clayton Heights Secondary School, 7003 188 St, Surrey
Admission: Free

Haney Farmers’ Market

What: A vibrant outdoor Saturday market in downtown Maple Ridge, Haney Farmers’ Market sells fresh farm produce, locally-grown fruit and veg, preserves, baked goods, artisan crafts, fine art, and more.

When: Weekly from Saturday, May 11 to Saturday, September 7, 2019
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Where: Memorial Peace Park – 224th Street, Maple Ridge
Admission: Free

Langley Community Farmers’ Market

What: Explore the dozens of local makers, bakers, and growers at two weekly locations of Langley Community Farmers’ Market.

When: Wednesdays from May 15 to October 9, 2019, and Saturdays from June 1 to October 5, 2019
Time: 12 to 4:30 pm (Wednesdays), 10 am to 2 pm (Saturdays)
Where: Kwantlen Langley Campus Courtyard – 20901 Langley Bypass, Langley (Wednesday), Timms Community Centre – 20339 Douglas Crescent, Langley (Saturdays)
Admission: Free

New West Farmers Market

What: The market features farm-fresh produce, plants, quality crafts from local artists and artisans, gourmet prepared foods, community information, live entertainment, and more.

Time: 3 to 7 pm
Where: Tipperary Park – 315 Queens Ave, New Westminster
Admission: Free

Cloverdale Market Days

What: One of the largest open-air markets in the Fraser Valley showcasing unique items from local BC Artisans and treasures from  downtown Cloverdale merchants. With Cloverdale Market Days featuring more than 120 vendors as well as live entertainment and food trucks, you’ve got a destination outing for the whole family.

When: May 25, June 22, July 27, Aug 24, September 21, 2019
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: 176 Street between 56A and 58 Avenue, Surrey
Admission: Free

West End Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 25 to October 19, 2019
Time: 9 am to 2 pm
Where: 100 Comox Street, Vancouver between Bute and Thurlow
Admission: Free

Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

When: Every Sunday from May 26 to October 27, 2018
Time: 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Dude Chilling Park – 2390 Brunswick Street, Vancouver
Admission: Free

See also
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