Once upon a time, Vancouver was known as a “no fun” city. This summer, Viva Vancouver is doing its best to put that reputation to rest.
Now in its second year, the city-sponsored program transforms streets into lively outdoor parties, with music, art, dancing and food. Every weekend through Labour Day, a different free festival will liven up Vancouver, while events throughout the week ensure there’s rarely a dull moment.
Programming this year includes a series of big celebrations along Granville Street, including Latincouver, a Bike Rodeo, Axe Capoeira, TaiwanFest and more. There will be a brand new farmers market in Yaletown on Thursdays, starting in mid-August. City beautification programs will see permanent “rainbow crosswalks” installed along Davie Street. And the unique Pilot Parklet Program will transform random parking lots across Vancouver into outdoor party zones.
Here’s a more detailed look into where to celebrate with Viva Vancouver this July:
Latincouver Carnaval del Sol; July 6-7, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.: This free block party celebrating Latino culture in Vancouver features live salsa, rumba and folk music, vendors selling all kinds of ethnic treats, a soccer tournament, dance lessons and more. 40,000 people turned out last year for one of the city’s biggest parties. 600-900 Granville St.
HUB Bike Rodeo; July 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: This interactive cycling event is highlighted by an urban obstacle course where cyclists can test their mettle. Bring your own bike or use one of the loaners and learn about safe biking in the city. 800 Granville St.
Street Hockey with Five Hole for Food, July 20, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Hockey fans, star players and celebrities turn out for this annual benefit for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Take in all the action as teams face off for a full day along Granville Street. 800 Granville St.
Skate Free Competition; July 21, noon-5 p.m.: The area’s best skateboarders turn out for this friendly competition on courses designed by local skate shops. The highlight is the best trick contest, where boarders try out their most acrobatic maneuvers. 800 Granville St.
Afro-Brazilian Street Party; July 28, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.: For one day, the sights and sounds of Brazil’s famous carnaval take over downtown Vancouver. The event features Brazilian percussion, displays of capoeira (Brazil’s acrobatic martial art) and plenty of samba dancing. The highlight is a full scale samba finale featuring Afro-Brazilian costumes. 800 Granville St.
The complete calendar of events can be found on the Viva Vancouver website.
For more updates on festivals in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.