Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2012 – June 22 – July 1


There are a few events that really define summer in Vancouver: Canada Day, the Celebration of Light Fireworks Competition, Vancouver Pride, and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (VIJF). Called the “hippest jazz festival in the world” by The Seattle Times, the VIJF is Vancouver’s biggest, greatest music festival of the year, and its as beloved by locals as it is by the hundreds of thousands of visitors it attracts.

Back for its 27th year, the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festival features 1800 musicians and 400 concerts (100+ of which are free) at 40 venues across Vancouver. There are major headliners, five free mini festivals-within-the-festival, intimate concerts in Vancouver bars and restaurants (the 2012 VIJF Club Series), and music virtually everywhere you look. So get ready to fall in love with the Vancouver Jazz Festival all over again!

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Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2012 – June 22 – July 1

Italian Day on Commercial Drive – June 10, 2012

This weekend, Vancouver kicks off the summer season of free multicultural events—including June’s upcoming Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival and Greek Day on Broadway—with Italian Day on Commercial Drive, a full day of free fun with Italian food, fashion, entertainment, games, and Euro Cup 2012 festivities that will transform the always-happening Drive into a street fair for all ages.

Newcomers to Vancouver may be surprised to learn that Commercial Drive—today an urban hub of multiculturalism and counterculture—used to be Vancouver’s “Little Italy;” you can see evidence of that cultural history in the Drive’s large number of Italian restaurants and delis (not to mention the wide spread support for Italy during the World Cup). For 15 years, from 1977 – 1982, Italian Day was an annual tradition on the Drive, but the event went on hiatus after the crowds became too much for the original organizers to handle.

Thankfully, Italian Day made its comeback in 2010, and over 50,000 people came out to celebrate. Now, thanks to Mayor Robertson’s 2011 designation of June as Italian Heritage Month, Italian Day on Commercial Drive looks like it’s here to stay!

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Italian Day on Commercial Drive – June 10, 2012

10 Things to Do on Father’s Day in Vancouver 2012

Dads can "Monkido" at Wildplay Element Parks. Photo: Wildplay Element Parks

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, and there are lots of things to do in Vancouver to celebrate Dad, from taking him out for brunch or beers (or brunch with beers, if that’s how Dad rolls) to celebrating with the Whitecaps on Grouse Mountain or with the whole community at Vancouver’s Car-Free Festivals!

10 Things to Do on Father’s Day in Vancouver 2012

1. Join the Party at Vancouver’s Car-Free Festivals
June 17 is both Father’s Day and Car-Free Day, which means the whole family can celebrate with street-fair fun, games, food, and entertainment at any of the Vancouver Car-Free Festivals happening on Commercial Drive, Main Street, and in the West End.

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10 Things to Do on Father’s Day in Vancouver 2012

Vancouver Draw Down – June 9, 2012

Drawing at the Vancouver Draw Down. Photo: Melissa Baker / Vancouver Draw Down

Think you can’t draw? Think again!

That’s the tagline for the annual Vancouver Draw Down, a city-wide event that aims to change your mind about drawing—if you can make a mark, you can draw!—while challenging all Vancouverites to get in touch with their artistic, creative side.

The unique Vancouver Draw Down event brings together 18 different arts and cultural organizations across Vancouver for one day of drawing: the 18 venues—community centres, museums and art galleries—will host 27 free, hands-on drawing workshops on the same day. The workshops are open to all ages and cover a range of artistic expressions, from murals to pinprick drawing, doodling, sketching, still life, font creation, and more. The workshops are open-ended so you can come and go as you please and move to different events around the city, no registration required!

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Vancouver Draw Down – June 9, 2012

5 Free Things to Do with Kids in Vancouver in June

Coquitlam's Teddy Bear Parade. Photo: Festival Coquitlam

One of the best things about summer in Vancouver is the uptick in free things to do, from the free festivals this month that appeal to everyone (check out our list of 20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in June 2012) to free fun for families with kids (and the young at heart of all ages), including June’s Pacific Rim Kite Festival in Vanier Park, Coquitlam’s Teddy Bear Parade and free admission to the Burnaby Village Museum!

5 Free Things to Do with Kids in Vancouver in June 2012

1. Free Admission to the Burnaby Village MuseumMay 5 – September 3, 2012
To celebrate the 100th birthday of their famous 1912 wooden carousel and their 1912 interurban tram, gate admission to the Burnaby Village Museum is free for the entire summer 2012 season! That means visitors can explore this outdoor 1920s village—home to a working blacksmith and lots of authentic 1920s shops—for free and pay just $2.30 per carousel ride!

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5 Free Things to Do with Kids in Vancouver in June

Signs of Summer at Queen Elizabeth Park

Running through the fountains atop Queen Elizabeth Park. Photo: Dana Lynch

Summer is coming! If the approaching long May weekend isn’t enough to convince you, then how about these pictures from Queen Elizabeth Park—You know summer is coming when the weather is warm enough for kids to run through Queen E’s dancing fountains!*

My family and I headed to Queen Elizabeth Park for part of Mother’s Day yesterday, and the scene there was just idyllic! Barefoot babies in the fountain, flowers in bloom throughout the free quarry gardens, clear skies making it easy to see all of downtown Vancouver from atop the park (the highest point in the city)—It was one of those days that made me feel lucky to live in Vancouver, one of the most gorgeous cities on earth!

Check out the photos for a peak at early summer at Queen Elizabeth Park:

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Signs of Summer at Queen Elizabeth Park

Ocean Concrete Open House this Saturday, April 28

Ocean Concrete Open House

I don’t know what it is about big machinery and trucks that draws kids likes moths to a flame, but whatever it is, it’s certainly as popular amongst two-year-olds as it amongst ten-year-olds (and plenty of adults, too, for that matter). If your kid (or you) dream of climbing inside North America’s largest concrete mixer truck and honking the horn, you can do just that at the 14th annual Ocean Concrete Open House this Saturday, April 28.

And yes, it’s free.

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Ocean Concrete Open House this Saturday, April 28