25 Popular Festivals In Vancouver, Canada | Trip101

25 Popular Festivals In Vancouver, Canada

festivals in vancouver

Located in western Canada, the charming city of Vancouver is known for its laid-back lifestyle. It’s a coastal seaport city tucked between Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, providing tourists and locals with plenty of outdoor opportunities. If you’re in Downtown Vancouver, a short walk will take you to the popular Stanley Park—a wide-open green space where families can engage in a variety of activities. Aside from the great outdoors, Vancouver also has a seemingly endless list of festivals which take place throughout the year. From performing arts to jazz, expect this city to have an event or celebration for anything. To know more about these, check out our list of the 25 popular festivals in Vancouver, Canada.

1. Cherry Blossom Festival

Popular Festivals In Vancouver, Canada
Source: Photo by Flickr user Wendy Cutler used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Cherry Blossom Festival was established by a non-profit society in 2005 as a way of saying “thank you” to Japan for gifting the city with 500 cherry blossom trees. Now, Vancouver has over 40,000 cherry trees that burst into bloom between the months of April and May. The festival features a traditional garden setting, art shows, specialized tours, and Japanese cuisine. If you are fond of biking, take the “Bike the Blossoms Ride” and cycle along the streets that are covered in light pink blooms. If you are a music lover, then you should attend the Spring Lights Illumination at Queen Elizabeth Park. Meanwhile, foodies should check out the take-out menus at Sakura at Home.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Website: Cherry Blossom Festival

Takes Place: March and April

2. Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Dine Out Vancouver Festival on Wednesday, 22 January 2020

This festival is managed by a group of food enthusiasts together with the tourism department of Vancouver. It started in 2002 to give the restaurant industry a boost especially during the low season. Now, this 17-day event (which runs from January 17 to Feb 2) is the largest food and drink celebration in entire Canada. Every year, over 300 restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries participate in this celebration just to give people a unique culinary experience. Here, chefs and brewery owners offer food tours, cooking lessons, and wine tasting!

Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Address: Tourism Vancouver, Suite 210-200 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC V6C3L6

Website: Dine Out Vancouver Festival

Takes place: January and February

3. St Patrick’s Day Parade

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Irish festival is celebrated on the death anniversary of St Patrick. The parade route starts on Howe Street and then proceeds to Georgia Street. The traditional parade consists of Irish and Scottish bands, dancers, horse riders, and antique cars. The bagpipe music adds a traditional feel to it, not to mention their traditional attire. There are also a number of events related to St Patrick’s Day such as Saint Patrick’s Day Boat Party and Vancouver CelticFest. A visit to the Irish pubs is a must if you want to try out a typical Irish beer.

St Patrick’s Day Parade

Takes place: March

4. Eat! Vancouver

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Eat! Vancouver is another food-related festival in Vancouver. The festival is attended by world-famous chefs from different parts of Canada and even the entire North America. Apart from indulging in tasty delights, you can also sign up for a cooking lesson by one of the top chefs. Known as the largest consumer food festival in Canada, you will surely be spoiled for choice with a variety of culinary offerings.

Eat! Vancouver

Website: Eat! Vancouver

Takes place: November

5. Celebration of Light

Celebration of Light
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stefan Ritt used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Celebration of Light in Vancouver is the longest-running offshore fireworks festival in the world. This annual exhibition of fireworks, which was named “Symphony of Fire,” has been running for 31 years now. It is held on English Bay and takes place during the months of July and August. In the afternoon, you can expect live music and entertainment. At night, the amazing display of pyro-musical fireworks is sure to leave you in awe.

Celebration of Light

Website: Celebration of Light

Takes place: July and August

6. TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Shoutout to our friends at Annex Pro for their support this #GivingTuesday. Want to help us out? Visit coastaljazz.ca/donate to connect online.

Posted by Coastal Jazz on Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The largest music festival of British Columbia invites almost 1800 talented artists to present an out-of-the-world music experience. Nearly half a million jazz lovers arrive in the city during this festival to get the true essence of music. The event takes place during the summer, in the month of June. This festival started in the early 1980s at a community radio called Vancouver Co-op Radio. Later in 1984, the Pacific Jazz and Blues Association was formed which hosted the event Pacific Jazz and Blues Festival. Much later, this group had changed its name to Coastal Jazz and Blues Society which hosted the very first Vancouver International Jazz Festival. During this festival, various kinds of musical events take place at the parks, public plazas, community centers, concert halls, clubs, not to mention in the streets of various neighborhoods.

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Website: TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Takes place: June

7. Theatre Under the Stars

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The summer months bring yet another delightful event to the city of Vancouver. All throughout June and August, there will be performances at Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park. The 2000-seater open theater Marion Malkin Memorial Bowl hosts some great performances during this time. The entire festival is run by a non-profit organization called “Theatre Under the Stars Musical Society”, based on contributions by volunteers. The performances normally take place outdoors, surrounded by nature. You can enjoy them by sitting down or bringing your own blanket to sit on. The entire festival is a great way to enjoy yourself during the summer months.

Theatre Under the Stars

Address: 610 Pipeline Rd, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

Website: Theatre Under the Stars

Takes place: July and August

8. Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

An enchanting set of duets with Katie Moore & Andrew Horton.

Posted by Vancouver Folk Music Festival on Sunday, 16 July 2017

For fans of folk music, don’t miss the chance to attend the Vancouver Folk Festival. It’s a multi-stage outdoor music festival that takes place on the third weekend of July. It was established in 1978 and was first held at Stanley Park. The following year the festival was moved to its current location, the beautiful Jericho Beach Park. For three days, music lovers can experience both traditional and contemporary folk and roots music. It has even received the title of “Best Local Music Festival” a number of times. It attracts nearly 40,000 people who are interested in exploring folk music and culture firsthand every year.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Address: Jericho Beach Park, Vancouver

Website: Vancouver Folk Music Festival

Takes place: July

9. Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Each year, the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival takes place on the shoreside of False Creek, an inlet close to the heart of Vancouver. It is celebrated in the month of June and features around 200 crews of dragon boats, making it the largest dragon boat festival in entire North America. The dragon boat festival was initially created to promote Chinese culture, but today it reflects the cultural diversity of this city. It is also the most exciting dragon boat race in North America as most of the best dragon boats take part in the competition. Aside from the much-awaited event on the waters of False Creek, this festival also lets visitors explore ethnic foods and check out displays of fine arts as well as cultural programs.

Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival

Address: 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver, BC V5Y 0B1, Canada

Website: Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival

Takes Place: June

10. Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

What better way to start a beautiful sunny day than to chop some wood and see some chips fly. Time for training is now,...

Posted by Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival on Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Looking for a family-friendly event in Vancouver? If you are visiting in August, don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival. This charming celebration is five days of pure fun for families. Although there are plenty of other activities that you can join in, it is mainly a festival where people can participate in colorful parades, children’s activities, pancake breakfast, and loggers sports shows. There are many loggers-themed activities during these days, and the majority of these happen at Al McIntosh Loggers Sports Grounds Stadium. The event takes place during the weekend and ends on the first Monday of August.

Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival

Address: 39555 Loggers Ln, Squamish, BC V8B 0H3, Canada

Website: Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival

Takes Place: August

11. Vancouver International Wine Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Vancouver International Wine Festival is one of the oldest wine events in the world. It was established by John E. Levine, the board member of Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, as a fund-raising event. Every year, it brings almost 25,000 wine enthusiasts together to participate in different events for 8 days. At this festival, attendees can choose from almost 1,500 types of wines. During the event, the featured country or region gets its own tasting room and offers wine seminars for the entire week.

Vancouver International Wine Festival

Address: 1055 Canada Place

Website: Vancouver International Wine Festival

Takes Place: February

12. Pacific Rim Kite Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by British Columbia Kitefliers Association on Saturday, September 9, 2017

During the month of June, the Vancouver sky gets filled with colorful kites. This two-day annual festival takes place at Vanier Park, which is arranged by British Columbia Kitefliers Association. For two days, expect kites of different colors, size, and shape to fly high in the sky. Although this event is often joined by experts in the art of kite flying, beginners can participate too. If you haven’t tried flying a kite before, you can sign up for the kite-flying session offered by professionals here.

Pacific Rim Kite Festival

Address: 1000 Chestnut St, Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: Pacific Rim Kite Festival

Takes Place: June

13. Bard on the Beach

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Bard on the Beach on Thursday, 26 February 2015

Founded in 1990, Bard on the Beach started as an Equity Co-op with support from Explorations Grant. Later on, it was given to opera director Christopher Gaze by the Canada Council for the Arts. His experience with actors from Vancouver inspired him to create a Shakespeare festival. During the summer, the group arranges an exciting lineup of plays and special events that focuses on the works of William Shakespeare. It starts in early June and ends in the month of September. The festival takes place at Vanier Park with two performance stages called BMO Mainstage and Howard Family Stage.

Bard on the Beach

Address: Vanier Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Website: Bard on the Beach

Takes place: June and September

14. Canada Day Celebration

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Every July 1, locals are in a festive mood as they celebrate Canada Day. Often referred to as “Canada’s birthday,” it’s a celebration of the country’s full independence from the British empire. It is held at Canada Place, an iconic landmark on the Burrard Inlet waterfront. There are concerts and live performances in the afternoon and fireworks display at night. Apart from Canada Place, you can have a great view of this show from Harbour Green Park, Crab Park, West Vancouver Seawall, Coal Harbour, and Stanley Park.

Canada Day Celebration

Address: 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4, Canada

Takes Place: July

15. Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Every month of July, members or supporters of the LGBTQ2+ community celebrate gay pride by participating in Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival. The world-famous festival is organized by a non-profit organization called Vancouver Pride Society. It is mostly attended by transgenders, bisexuals, lesbians, gays, and their allies—making it one of the largest LGBTQ-themed celebrations in Canada. The highlight of this festival is, of course, the extravagant parade.

Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival

Website: Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival

Takes Place: July and August

16. Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF)

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Vancouver International Film Festival on Saturday, 21 December 2019

The Vancouver International Film festival takes place in the months of September and October. It is also one of the five biggest festivals in Northern America. The festival has been arranged by the non-profit organization, Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society. It normally lasts for two weeks and streams award-winning movies from all over the world of the world. There are three main categories of films, Canadian, East Asian, and general nonfiction.

Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF)

Address: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Website: Vancouver International Film Festival

Takes Place: September and October

17. Vancouver Opera Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Vancouver Opera Festival is hosted by Vancouver Opera, the second-largest performing arts organization in the entire British Columbia. This festival is relatively new on the scene as it was first held in 2017. The festival starts around the end of April until early May and usually lasts for two weeks with various pieces. If you are attending this festival, you might witness a blend of modern and classic performances.

Vancouver Opera Festival

Address: 1945 McLean Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 3J7, Canada

Website: Vancouver Opera Festival

Takes Place: April and May

18. PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Photo: Sarah Race

Posted by PuSh International Performing Arts Festival on Wednesday, 29 January 2020

This mid-winter performing arts festival brings a number of mind-blowing performances. It lasts for three weeks, starting in the month of January. There are various shows, such as music, dance, and performance arts, during this time. Artists from various parts of the world arrive here to perform side by side with locals. The festival takes place in various locations of the city.

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Website: PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Takes Place: January

19. Eastside Culture Crawl

Flashback to last year’s Take Flight benefit and festival launch party. Have you got your tickets yet to this year’s...

Posted by Eastside Culture Crawl on Friday, 4 October 2019

In the month of November, Vancouver celebrates a visual arts festival that lasts for four days. It mostly takes place on Columbia Street and the waterfront. Artisans such as jewelers, painters, photographers, sculptors, weavers, potters, printmakers, and furniture makers join forces during this festival to showcase their excellent work. This festival officially started in the year 1997.

Eastside Culture Crawl

Address: Columbia St, 1st Ave, Victoria Drive

Website: Eastside Culture Crawl

Takes Place: November

20. Pacific National Exhibition

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The national exhibition is hosted by an organization of the same name. It is actually a 17-day long festival that starts in mid-August and can last through September usually on Labour Day weekend. The festival takes place at Hastings Park where there are fun rides, live entertainment, and food stalls. During the night, the park turns into a concert venue that makes this a fun event for music lovers.

Pacific National Exhibition

Address:2901 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1, Canada

Website: Pacific National Exhibition

Takes Place: August and September

21. Breakout Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

This two-day summer festival features concerts, carnival, and many other fun activities. This event takes place at the historic PNE Amphitheatre, a live music venue in Vancouver, Canada. The festival started in 2017 to promote hip-hop and R&B music. Today, it brings in music lovers from all around the world. This one-of-a-kind concert attracts music lovers of any age. Do take into account that you have to be over 19 if you want to grab a drink during the concert.

Breakout Festival

Address: PNE Amphitheatre, Vancouver, Canada

Website: Breakout Festival

Takes Place: June

22. Capture Photography Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The largest lens-based festival in Western Canada takes place in the month of April. The photography and lens-based arts are displayed through many galleries of the city. The festival started in 2013, and it is part of the Exhibition Program that runs alongside a Public Art Program, a youth-oriented Learning Program, and an Events Program.

Capture Photography Festival

Address: 305 Cambie St 3rd floor, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N4, Canada

Website: Capture Photography Festival

Takes place: April

23. Queer Arts Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

We're baaaack Join us October 29 - Dec 1 for our first exhibition since February! Time Lapse: Posthumous...

Posted by Queer Arts Festival on Thursday, October 1, 2020

The multi-disciplinary arts festival takes place in the month of July. The festival is organized by Pride In Art Society, a non-profit organization whose members are queer visual artists. The main objective of this festival is to promote queer arts through a series of exhibits that pushes boundaries and brings together diverse communities. It takes place at Roundhouse and it is considered as one of the top five cultural festivals in the world. However, if you can’t attend the actual event, the group also conducts a virtual workshop where you can share art, stories, and knowledge with other participants. Also, do check out their archives to see their art collections.

Queer Arts Festival

Address: 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3 Canada

Website: Queer Arts Festival

Takes place: July

24. Bass Coast Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Bass Coast Festival is actually an independent international exhibition related to electronic music and art. It helps showcase both the talents of local artists as well as new and emerging performers. It was founded by Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson in 2009 and takes place in Nicola Valley outside the main town of Vancouver. Along with enjoying the amazing music, you get to reconnect with nature too. The event normally takes place in the month of July. People from diverse backgrounds get united in their love for music.

Bass Coast Festival

Address: Thompson-Nicola N, BC, Canada

Website: Bass Coast Festival

Takes place: July

25. Westward Music Festival

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

During the month of September, the Westward Music Festival takes over various locations in Vancouver. The epic music festival lasts for four days, with some of its important events around downtown. It normally takes place in the middle of September. Some of the famous places which host this international event are Fox Cabaret, Imperial Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, The Biltmore Cabaret, Vogue Theatre, and Rickshaw Theatre. Both talented local groups as well as groups from all over the world participate in this festival to give guests a truly spectacular experience.

Westward Music Festival

Website: Westward Music Festival

Takes place: September

The city of celebrations

Vancouver is indeed a city of celebrations. Countless music festivals keep this city alive throughout the year combined with lots of celebrations of art and culture. No matter what time you are planning to visit this lively city, it has something special in store for you, especially during the summer. So plan your Vancouver visit around one of these fun festivals and celebrate it along with the friendly locals.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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The main purpose of Saptami's life is to explore the unknown. After completing her MBA, she did not want to get into a 9-to-5 kind of job. Saptami wants to be free to be able to travel and explore...Read more

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