Fun Fests and Events During the BC Day Long Weekend

Celebration of Light Fireworks in English Bay; Destination Vancouver/Vision Event Photography Inc.

Summer is slipping away, so waste no time in taking advantage of the sunny days in Vancouver. BC Day (August 1, 2022) long weekend approaches—with so many lively festivities happening, your schedule will be jam-packed.

Vancouver’s Pride Week and Parade

Image credit: Vision Event Photography

The BC Day long weekend marks the culmination of July’s Pride week, with the highly anticipated Pride Parade happening on July 31. The theme for this year’s festival is #TogetherAgain, celebrating the return of in-person events for the 2SLGBTQAI+ communities. This year QTBIPOC voices are collaborating with the Vancouver Pride Society at the Pride Lounges and making key contributions to the parade and the curation of the Sunset Beach Festival. Highlights during Pride week include an Aces and Aros event on July 29 at the Ocean Arts Pavillion on Granville Island; AfroQueer and LevelUp on July 29 at the Vizzy Forest Lounge on Davie Street; and Vancouver Gaymers on July 31 at the Ocean Arts Pavilion on Granville Island.

The parade runs from noon until 3pm and makes its way along Robson Street, Denman Street, and Beach Avenue. Make sure to get there early for a prime location, stay hydrated, and get ready to cheer and dance!

Others venues across the city will be hosting their own Pride celebrations. For example, Parq’s D/6 Lounge will host an all-star drag night on July 29 with canapés, Stoli Pride cocktails, Pride cake, and entertainment offered by Zynch & Co. And Honey Salt will have a ticketed drag brunch on July 30. Contact D/6 and Honey Salt for reservations and tickets.

Honda Celebration of Light

Celebration of Light Fireworks in English Bay

The last night of the Honda Celebration of Light takes place July 30 with Spain after fireworks displays on July 23 and July 27 by Japan and Canada. Gorgeous Vancouver scenery serves as the perfect backdrop to inventive and awe-inspiring fireworks—all choreographed to music. The Celebration of Light has been a Vancouver summer tradition for three decades and returns after a two-year hiatus. English Bay, where the barges are located, is the prime viewing location but other great (and less crowded spots) include Kitsilano Beach, Vanier Park, and Jericho Beach. You can pay to reserve a seat at one of the viewing locations (Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk, Scotiabank Lounge, English Bay Grandstand). You’ll be hard pressed not to let out an ooh and an aaah once the show gets going.

Powell Street Festival

Katari Taiko
Photo Credit: Tracy Moromisato

It’s the 46th Annual Powell Street Festival, and there’s so much to celebrate. This yearly event devoted to Japanese Canadian history, art, culture, and food in the city is truly special. The festival happens July 30-31 in the Powell Street area (Paueru Gai), which is the historic heart of the Vancouver Japanese Canadian community). Expect food booths selling Japanese specialties like takoyaki and imagawayaki, food trucks, artisan vendors, community tents, and an exciting line-up of entertainment and activities for the whole family.

Punch Bowl Festival of Cocktails and BBQ

Photo: Punch Bowl Festival

Punch Bowl Festival combines some of the best summer things: cocktails, barbecue, and live music in an outdoor venue. On July 30 on the PNE Grounds, there will be over 100 vendors providing samples of over 250 kinds of beer, spirit, and cider cocktails, wine, and bites. Other highlights include a Two Rivers Meat smokehouse and BBQ pit, DJ Marvel spinning tunes, the Big Easy Funk Ensemble playing live, and Cointreau’s margarita village.

Harmony Arts Festival

Photo: Harmony Arts Festival

West Vancouver has created such a lovely summer festival, which brings together music, art, and culinary arts. This year’s Harmony Arts Festival will run from July 29 to August 7 on Argyle Avenue between 14th and 16th Streets. The waterfront makes for a calming and beautiful setting to appreciate culture on the North Shore. Visual Arts programming ranges from an Indigenous artists and carvers studio to Artspeaks, which features art demos, workshops, classes, and artist talks. Food and drink options include food trucks and a beachside patio at Millenium Park. Live music happens at multiple stages, such as the RE/MAX Garden Stage.

Vancouver Street Dance Festival

Photo: Vancouver Street Dance Festival

If you’re a huge fan of all kinds of street dancing, the Vancouver Street Dance Festival’s main day is set for July 30 at Robson Square, the site of the first dance battle organized by founders Jessey Kwong and Boris Khramtsov. Their ten-year anniversary event promises to be lively and entertaining. Expect a day filled with showcases, dance battles, an open floor dance party, live music with DJs, and community booths/vendors. The top four semi-finalists representing house, locking, waacking, popping, breaking, hip hop, and youth all-styles dance will be showcased.

There are two preliminary battle days on July 28 and 29, plus a workshop day on July 31.

Early Music Vancouver’s Bach Festival

Image: EMV’s Bach Festival

Early Music Vancouver’s popular Bach Festival returns July 26 to August 6, this time with a focus on the combining of traditional Scottish music with the works of Baroque masters. Artists from the US as well as Scotland will be performing, and venues will span gardens, concert halls, and Celtic pubs. During the BC long weekend, “Les Nations” will take place July 29 at Christ Church Cathedral and feature trio sonatas with French and Italian styles in juxtaposition. An earlier afternoon concert on July 29, “The Last Rose of Summer,” features works by Beethoven, Fanny Hensel, Ignaz Moscheles, Felix Mendelssohn, and Jacques-François Gallay.

Mount Pleasant Live Music at the Plaza

Photo: Mount Pleasant BIA

Every Friday this summer from 6 to 8pm, there is live music at the Mount Pleasant plaza at Main Street and East 14thAvenue. Hosted by the Mount Pleasant BIA, the concerts are a great way to hear amazing artists and get connected to the neighbourhood community. July 29 will have two performances, the first by Jennifer Hershman and the second is TBA.

White Rock Sea Festival and Semiahmoo Days

Photo: White Rock Sea Festival and Semiahmoo Days

A short drive outside of Vancouver will take you to the White Rock Sea Festival and Semiahmoo Days, which runs July 29 to 31. Enjoy views from the White Rock waterfront as you participate in numerous family-friendly activities, such as Pirates in the Park, White Rock’s Got Talent, a Westcoasters car show, and fireworks. Look out for local vendors and a traditional salmon barbecue.

Cymbeline: A Comedic Play

Photo: New West

Theatre performances continue the BC Day long weekend with Bard on the Beach’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the end of the Arts Club Theatre’s run of Kinky Boots, and Theatre Under the Star’s Something Rotten! and We Will Rock You.

New Westminster has free performances of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline happening July 23, 24, 30, and 31 at the Queen’s Park Bandshell. Bench seating is available but will go fast so bring blankets and lawn chairs.


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