Things to Do in Vancouver on Canada Day 2022

The Canadian Trail at Canada Place; Photo: Canada Place Corporation and Port of Vancouver

Canada’s 155th birthday is fast approaching. On July 1, 2022, there will be plenty of festivities—and it’s a long weekend, so all the more reason to take advantage of the diverse events and activities on offer this Canada Day in Vancouver.

Canada Together

Guests enjoying Canada; Photo: Canada Place Corporation and Port of Vancouver

The big celebration happens at Canada Place from 11am to 6pm. There will also be programming at Jack Poole Plaza, Harbour Green Park, and nearby streets. The largest Canada Day event beyond Ottawa is now called “Canada Together,” and has been organized in collaboration with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. The theme of “weaving together the fabric of a nation” celebrates the diversity of Canada that comes together to forge community. Expect plenty of family-friendly fun, including a World Zone (North Point of Canada Place) that spotlights global cultures, a Kids’ Zone (Jack Poole Plaza) with all sorts of lively activities and performances, and a Canadian Forces Zone (Harbour Green Park). Food trucks will also be in attendance for tasty noshing. The big draw are main stages performances from artists such as Johnny Reid, The Boom Booms, and Omega Mighty. Note: there will be no fireworks this year.

Granville Island

Granville Island Public Market exterior; Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic

Even on a regular day, Granville Island is a hub of fun activity. The TD International Jazz Festival and Ensemble Theatre Company’s Repertory Festival are taking place this Canada Day (see below for more info), so be sure to check out a performance or two from them. As well, vendors around Granville Island will be getting into the Canada Day spirit. A visit to the Public Market, the Water Park, Net Loft, and the Kids Market should definitely be on the itinerary this July 1. Tons of people will be heading to Granville Island to mark Canada Day, so look forward to cheerful crowds.

TD International Jazz Festival

Vancouver’s world-renowned TD International Jazz Festival will be in full swing on Canada Day with a wide variety of both free and ticketed events to attend. For complimentary performances, visit Ocean Art Works on Granville Island to watch the Sharon Minemoto Quartet (1pm), Strange Worlds Trio (4pm), and DJ Handsome Tiger (11pm). Also on Granville Island, Performance Works will host free shows by Andy Milne and Unison (2:30pm) and OA4 (4:30pm). And the Ironworks, just east of Gastown, will offer free performances by Why Choir (5pm) and Dave Rempis (5pm). Ticketed shows will include Sam Tudor and Kandle (featuring Kendel Carson and Debra-Jean Creelman) at Performance Works (7:30pm) and Dawn Pemberton and Francis Baptiste at Ocean Art Works (9pm, tickets at the door). You can enjoy a Canada Day filled with amazing music by both local and international artists.

Ensemble Theatre Company’s 8th Annual Repertory Festival

Gai Brown in Marjorie Prime; Photo: Emily Cooper

Vancouver’s ground-breaking Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) has found a new home for its annual Repertory Festival (June 15 to July 2, 2022) at Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre. On July 1 (7:30pm), you can catch the closing performance of Marjorie Prime. Written by Jordan Harrison, this 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist takes place in the near future and tells the story of Marjorie, an 85-year-old woman who is interacting with an A.I. companion to sift through her memories and identity. Celebrate the vibrancy of Canadian theatre this Canada Day!

Shipyards Live

Photo: Shipyards Live

Shipyards Live returns this summer every Friday from now until September 2. This beloved event at the Shipyards in North Vancouver has something for everyone—and the location is stunningly picturesque. Shipyards Live is planning a big Canada Day party, featuring two stages with live performances. You can watch the performances from the Patio Beer Garden presented by Stanley Park Brewing. As well, Food Truck Lane will be offering a selection of delicious eats. More fun will be had at a Retro Video Dance Party (Pipe Shop) and at the splash park. Kids can get maple leaves (and more) painted on their faces. Browse the artisan vendors at the Marketplace for some unique local finds.

Bard on the Beach

Photo: Bard on the Beach

The gorgeous views from Vanier Park where Bard on the Beach is located would make a perfect backdrop for your Canada Day festivities. Plus, their iconic red and white tents are very fitting for Canada Day. Sup on a picnic dinner and then head to Bard on the Beach’s July 1 (7:30pm) performance of Harlem Duet, written by Djanet Sears and winner of a Governor-General’s Award. Speaking to the themes of Shakespeare’s Othello, the play focuses on a Black couple over the course of three key moments in time as they struggle with race and racism, relationships, and complex loyalties.

Arts Club Theatre

The Arts Club Theatre Company‘s last show of their 2021/22 season, Kinky Boots, wraps up on July 31, 2022, with a performance on Canada Day on the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (8pm). This Tony Award-winning musical bursts with joyous energy as it tells the story of a shoe factory down on its luck until Lola, a drag queen, inspires owner Charlie to take production in a new direction. The show’s message about inclusion, acceptance, and resilience would be particularly timely on Canada Day.

Vancouver Canadians

Vancouver Canadians Baseball with Rosie’s BBQ & Smokehouse

There’s something about watching a game of the Vancouver Canadians that’s a quintessential summer experience. On July 1 (1:05pm), cheer on the home team as they play against Spokane. The baseball will be exciting, the crowd friendly and easy-going, and the eats delicious. This year, Rosie’s BBQ & Smokehouse will offer 3 special menu items: brisket nachos, a Third Base Burger with their signature 4AM brisket, and a Nat Stack Burger with pulled pork and brisket. Have lunch at the Nat this Canada Day and relax over what promises to be a great game.

Canada Day in Burnaby, White Rock, and Surrey

Photo: Surrey Canada Day

If you’re looking to go further afield, municipalities across Metro Vancouver are hosting Canada Day celebrations.

The City of Burnaby is planning a return of their in-person Canada events. Canada Day by the Bay returns to the White Rock Waterfront. Expect local vendors, eats, and plenty of entertainment.

Surrey Canada Day will take place at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Cloverdale (10am to 10:30pm) and showcases Indigenous and multicultural artists. Highlights are an Indigenous Village, with a Siam stage, a Residential School Survivors Honouring Ceremony, as well as demonstrations and teachings; plenty of food trucks; a Community Hub with performances, a market, and athletic activities; and headline performances from artists like Shawnee Kisha and the Arkells.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Aerial view of the Sea to Sky Gondola and the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge; Destination BC/Heath Moffatt

If you haven’t ridden the Sea to Sky Gondola yet, Canada Day is your opportunity to take in amazing views of Howe Sound and the surrounding area. Once you’re at the summit, there’s no shortage of things to do, including new trail loops that commence at the Backyard Plaza. On July 1, they’ll be offering their regular Friday morning yoga (pre-registration required) from 9:30am to 10:30am on the Octagon Deck. And from 6pm to 9pm, the Summit Lodge will host fiddler, singer, and stepdancer Jocelyn Pettit as part of their Mountain Music Series (free with lift ticket or pass).

Museums and Galleries

MOA – Muneefist Destiny, Alfred Quiroz. Collection of the artist. Photo courtesy of the
artist.

For a more contemplative Canada Day, visit one of Vancouver’s exceptional and illuminating museums and galleries. The Museum of Anthropology at UBC has two exhibitions for considering the important place of Indigenous arts and culture, and knowledge on the west coast. In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art features over 110 Indigenous pieces of art, many of them removed and housed outside of the province. Meanwhile, Shake Up: Preserving What We Value considers Indigenous knowledge about earthquakes in concert with the work of seismologists and engineers. Finally, Xicanx: Dreamers and Changemakers explores the intersection of social justice with artistic practice among Xicanx (Mexican American) artists.

The Museum of Vancouver has so many exhibitions that would be relevant to thinking through history and diversity on Canada Day. Boarder X features work by Indigenous artists that considers territory and identity in relation to boarding (e.g., skateboarding, snowboarding). That Which Sustains Us examines sustainability in Vancouver in relation to various knowledge systems. And A Seat at the Table depicts the history of Chinese Canadians in the province through the lens of food.

Tapestry of Change: Inuit Art in Context (June 9 to October 2, 2022) at the Vancouver Maritime Museum allows visitors to appreciate 52 pieces of Inuit art from the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition considers the culture and artistic practices of the North, as well as gives recognition to previously overlooked Inuit artists. Other noteworthy exhibitions at the Museum are Canoe Cultures :: Ho’-ku-melh, which celebrates canoe culture and the works of 20 Indigenous artists and We Were So Far Away: The Inuit Experience of Residental School (until November 27, 2022), which uses archival photographs and first-hand accounts to represent the stories of Inuit survivors of residential school.  

Atheana Picha; Blue-blackfish, 2022
Mixed media; Collection of the Artist

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art has a new exhibition True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel (June 15 to March 19, 2023), which showcases the work of 10 Indigenous painters who explore questions related to place. Artists include Shawn Hunt, Crystal Worl, and Atheana Picha. Beaded Nostalgia (runs until October 23, 2023) spotlights the work of four beadwork artists, as well as beaded earrings from 50 contemporary artists.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has a wide array of exhibitions that highlight the diversity of Canadian artistic practice. Kids Take Over (running until September 11, 2022) has works from the collection as well as drawings and text from local school-aged kids. The exhibition is interactive and fun for the whole family. Visual artist Sandeep Johal has recently contributed a mural to a feature wall, showcasing her vibrant South Asian artistic influences. And Restless: Recent Acquisitions (until September 11, 2022) encompasses pieces by artists of Asian descent.

Spectacular Beaches and Parks

Two young men at English Bay; Destination Vancouver/Safa Mohamoud

Canada is well known for its natural landscape. What better way to celebrate Canada Day than to visit one of Vancouver’s fabulous parks and beaches. Make a picnic, throw some burgers on the barbecue, and spend the day relaxing with friends and family. Kits Beach and English Bay are always great bets, or visit Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks for more tranquil beach-going. Besides well-known parks like Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park, every neighbourhood in Vancouver has their own local park for leisurely spending time together on Canada Day.

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