June escorts in the official start of summer and the packed line up of events, from concerts to street parties and festivals, reflects the city’s overwhelming urge to get out and have fun.
I’m particularly looking forward to the line-up for Italian Heritage Month, including the EuroCup Breakfast and Commercial’s Italian Day on the Drive – one of the largest community events of the year dedicated to celebrating la dolce vita with food, music, entertainment and more.
But the street parties don’t stop there. Expect mass community participation and entertainment during Car Free Days, Velopalooza bike fest and Make Music Vancouver – a remarkable, free concert where 200 musicians take to the historic Gastown and Yaletown streets.
The annual Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (pictured above) puts Vancouver on the world map with its longstanding tradition of vibrant multicultural heritage and, of course, vigorous boat racing. Venus makes a rare trek across the heavens this month. Get out and watch; the next opportunity is 100 years away. Oh and Bryan Adams is bringing his old school, sexy-scratchy vocals to town.
Details after the jump.
20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in June 2012
1) EVENT | Italian Heritage Month | June 1 – 30 |
Italian Day on the Drive. Film. Music. Food. European Cup Championships. June is Italian Heritage Month for the City of Vancouver and the Province of BC. Grazie mille to the Italian Cultural Centre for the packed line-up of cultural events.
2) TOWN | Name a penguin | until June 17 |
Vancouver Aquarium has six new residents: South African penguins, who made their public debut in mid-May. The tuxedoed shorties need names. To find the right names, the Aquarium is holding a Penguin Naming Contest, which anyone can enter and which runs through June 17, 2012.
3) ENTERTAINMENT | Bard on the Beach | now – September 22 |
From Dana’s Bard on the Beach blog: “One of the largest Shakespeare festivals in Canada and a summer tradition for many Vancouverites, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival is famous for the high-calibre of its performances as well as its eye-popping location in Vanier Park. Every summer, Bard on the Beach produces four Shakespeare plays. For 2012, the plays are the comedy The Taming of the Shrew, the ultra-famous Macbeth (“Out, damn’d spot, out!”), a cheeky version of The Merry Wives of Windsor set in 1968, and King John.”
4) TOWN | 10th Anniversary Heritage House Tour | June 3 |
Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s 10th Annual Heritage House Tour takes place from 10 am – 5 pm. Peek inside a church converted to strata units, Shaughnessy mansions, Cedar Cottage homes, a restored corner store and an old wood frame bank building. Tix are available on the Vancouver Heritage Foundation site.
5) EVENT | Transit of Venus at HR MacMillan Space Centre | June 5 |
Unless you plan on living until 2117, you won’t get another chance to peep this rare astronomical event when Venus makes its grand transit across the heavens.
6) FOOD | Food Talks Volume I at W2 Media Cafe | June 5 |
Meet and mingle with other foodies while lending an ear to speakers from the Vancouver food community including Top Chef Competitor Trevor Bird, Ocean Wise Manager at the Vancouver Aquarium Mike McDermid; Vancouver Farmers Markets’ Roberta LaQuaglia and Hunter J. Moyes – Chef at the Waldorf Hotel. As you might expect, gourmand nibbles will be available.
7) EVENT | Dapper & Flapper Formal at Museum of Vancouver | June 8 |
It’s 1925. The Museum of Vancouver has transformed into a “hotsy-totsy musical raz-taz juice joint” to toast the Art Deco style of the inter-war period. Kick up your feet in a frenzy of 20’s clickety clack dance attacks – with some Vancouver musician-dancers that have time travelled for one special evening of juking and jiving.
8) EVENT | City of Bhangra Festival | through June 10 |
Bhangra high-energy music and colorful dance routines have popped up in Hollywood hits like Slumdog Millionaire, hip hop videos and even celebrity fitness programs.Vancouver, with its rich South Asian population, is an epicenter of bhangra culture in North America. The city will show off its bhangra pride at the eighth annual City of Bhangra Festival, May 31-June 10. For event highlights, read Remy’s festival blog.
9) EVENT | Ivan Sayers Fashion Show at Roedde House Museum | June 10 |
Attention vintage fanatics. Renowned Vancouver Fashion Historian Ivan Sayers presents a fashion show of frocks and tea dresses from 1893 – 1925, at Roedde House Museum, with a tea party following the catwalk event.
10) EVENT | Italian Day on the Drive | June 10 |
As a part of Italian Heritage Month, Vancouver’s Little Italy (Commercial Drive) will transform into the ultimate celebration where “La Dolce Vita meets the Euro Cup” with food, entertainment, art, sport and more. Drawing over 50,000 attendees in years past, this promises to be one of the biggest community events of the year.
11) GREEN CITY | Espalier: Pruning and Training Fruit Trees at UBC Botanical Garden| June 13 |
No, “espalier” is not a fancy pants cooking technique. It’s a pruning practice that trains fruit trees into interesting shapes. Instructor Brendan Fisher will discuss how to get started for folks who would like to grow fruit trees, but have a limited amount of space on their property.
12) TOWN | Reading the Riot Boards at Museum of Vancouver | June 15 |
The Stanley Cup Riots June 15, 2011 were a pivotal moment in Vancouver’s civic history. A year later, the MOV invites Vancouverites to join in dialogue with Vancouver playwright Kevin Loring, City Councillor Andrea Reimer, and Vancouver photographer Maurice Li, in this multifaceted examination of how the Riots altered the city’s collective conscience, spurred civic dialogue, and changed how Vancouverites see themselves.
13) EVENT | Velopalooza | June 15 – July 2 |
Velopalooza is a two week long festival of community-led bicycle fun like themed bicycle rides, neighbourhood tours and even all night parties.
14) GREEN CITY | Car Free Days | June 16-17 |
The grassroots street party known as Car Free Days turns neighbourhood thoroughfares into community festivals. The festivities take place on Saturday, June 16 (Kitsilano) and Sunday, June 17/Father’s Day (Commercial Drive, Main Street, West End and Kitsilano).
15) EVENT | Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival | June 15-17 |
The highly-anticipated Dragon Boat Festival brings spirited racing to Creekside Community Centre, Creekside Olympic Village and the waters of False Creek. Among the oldest and largest dragon boat festivals held outside of Asia, the Rio Tinto is one of the few dragon boat fests that holds races during the traditional time, around the period of the summer solstice.
16) ENTERTAINMENT | Bryan Adams at Rogers Arena | June 16 |
I’m listening to the Canadian’s plaintive chorus “Everything I do, I do it for you,” as I type. The Canadian rock idol brings his scratchy vocals and critically acclaimed “Bare Bones” acoustic show to Roger’s Arena, celebrating a legacy of hits.
17) EVENT | Night at the Aquarium | June 21 |
Vancouver Aquarium’s signature gala fundraiser returns. Vancouver’s posh and pretty will turn out en masse to explore the aquarium galleries, sample gourmand Oceanwise hors d’œuvres, and bid in a silent auction all to support the aquarium’s research, conservation and education programs. Purchase tickets here.
18) EVENT | Klahowya Village in Stanley Park | June 21 – September 16 |
Explore an authentic aboriginal summer village in the heart of Stanley Park. Entrance is free. Once there, select from activities including: travelling through the forest on the Spirit Catcher miniature train, discovering the Legend of the Sasquatch, shopping the Artisan Marketplace for First Nations and Métis art, jewellery and watching live cultural performances.
19) ENTERTAINMENT | Make Music Vancouver | June 21 |
It’s free and it’s gonna be great. Musicians – both amateurs and pros – will perform in the streets of Gastown and Yaletown all evening. From baroque to rock, all genres and all levels of ability will be represented. Over 200 bands are turning out to do their thing.
20) SHOP | Markets galore (Farmers’ markets + night markets) | Ongoing |
Summer is market season in Vancouver. From the slew of farmers’ markets scattered through Vancouver’s character-filled ‘hoods to the battle of the two night markets in Richmond, plus Chinatown’s summer market, there’s no end to the options for strolling, snacking, shopping under summer skies.