10 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day in Vancouver

Jacki Gunn, Maggie Onedo, Mary Saunders, Jalen Saip, Alex Gullason, Aida Virizu in Ladies Against Humanity at The Improv Centre; Photo: Zemekiss Photography

On Friday, March 8, 2024, events to commemorate International Women’s Day will take place all across the world. Here, in Vancouver, there are a wide variety of happenings on and around March 8 to champion the many amazing women who are making a big impact in this city—and beyond.

Pacific Arts Market: Women’s Day Art Fair

Pacific Arts Market, located in South Granville, champions local art, including fabulous works created by female artists. On March 9, from 1pm to 5pm, they’ll be hosting a special Art Fair that showcases female artists based in British Columbia in diverse forms, including jewelry, paintings, and sculpture. Admission is free, although those who make a donation ($10 plus $1.98 fee) receive a special gift bag.

Vancouver Skateboard Coalition and Rolla Skate Club’s “We’re Here”

Grab your skateboard or put on your roller skates for the fifth annual “We’re Here,” taking place March 8 from 6 to 9pm at the Rolla Skate Club (Rollerland Building at the PNE, 2901 East Hastings Street). Presented by the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, this inclusive event is all about celebrating community and encouraging lively socializing. Beginners are welcome, with no need for pre-registration. You can borrow a skateboard or rent roller skates for free.

Workout for Women’s Day

Workout for Women’s Day is an inspiring initiative that combines healthy living with charitable fundraising. This year’s campaign takes place March 2-8, 2024, and entails fitness instructors and movement studios offering special classes to raise money for charities (e.g., Rise Women’s Legal Centre) that “support girls, women, and other marginalized genders.” Since its inception five years ago, they’ve contributed more than $145,000 to these charities. Classes this year include ‘90s Ride with Natasha Lowe at Cadence Cycle and Movement Studio (March 5, 6:10pm to 6pm), Zumba with Asal at Baza Dance Studios Inc. (March 6, 9:30am to 10:30am), and Gentle Yoga with Bella at VWHC (March 7, 6pm to 7pm).

Science World: Girls and STEAM

Science World is a place not only with fun educational exhibits, but also with programming meant to inspire its young visitors to pursue their educational and professional dreams. On March 8 at 11am, they’re hosting an in-person as well as livestreamed event called “Girls and STEAM.” In this 45-minute talk presented by STEMCELL Technologies, three local STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) leaders will talk about their career journeys in all their trials and triumphs. They’ll discuss their pasts, their current work, as well as what they have planned for the future; their presentations will be followed by a Q&A session. Those who purchase regular admission that day can attend the in-person event. Before or after the talk, make sure to visit the connected exhibition, Dream Tomorrow Today, an interactive look at the future of STEAM.

Gender Equity in Media Festival

Photo: GEM Fest

The 19th edition of the Gender Equity in Media Festival (GEM Fest) returns March 5-9, 2024, to VIFF Centre (also available on-line). This unique and ground-breaking festival brings together films from around the world, representing a range of genres, including documentary and animation, in both short and feature-length. Filmmakers are women and gender-diverse. Works include Tautuktavuk (What We See), a feature-length film by Lucy Tulugarjuk and Carol Kunnuk, which explores the healing journey of two Inuit Women (March 8 at 6pm) and Two One Two, a short animated documentary by Shira Avni about motherhood and family (part of the Short Programme: Night on March 9 at 12:30pm). The festival also includes an opening reception, a closing gala, a pitch forum, an awards ceremony and various industry panels (e.g., Cinematic Visions: A Discussion on Visual Storytelling, March 6 at 3:30pm).

Vancouver Art Gallery Exhibitions

Image: Emily Carr, Untitled (Self-portrait), 1924–25, oil on paperboard, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust

Get to know the impressive oeuvres of local female artists at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which currently has three female-centric exhibitions. Running until April 1, 2024, is a spotlight on the late Trinidadian Canadian artist Denyse Thomasos in an exhibition titled Just Beyond, which encompasses over 70 of her works (paintings and on paper). Thomasos’ paintings combine the personal and the political, often playing creatively with formalist techniques.

Meanwhile, Rooted Here: Woven From the Land, on until May 12, 2024, features Salish weavers, including female weavers qʷənat, Angela George (səlilwətaɬ/Tsleil-Waututh); Chepximiya Siyam’ Chief Janice George (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh/Squamish); and Qwasen, Debra Sparrow (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm/Musqueam). The exhibition provides historical and cultural situating of their work and their contributions to the continuation and reinvention of traditional weaving practices.

And finally, Emily Car: A Room of Her Own, running until January 5, 2025, features 25 of the Gallery’s Emily Carr Collection as it considers the BC artist’s significant artistic legacy, her impact on the Gallery, and the collecting of her works.

The Improv Centre: Ladies Against Humanity and Fashionably Late

Alex Gullason, Jalen Saip, Jacki Gunn, Maggie Onedo in “Ladies Against Humanity” at The Improv Centre; Photo: Zemekiss-Photography

Vancouver is home to incredible female comedic talent, evidenced by the hilarity found at shows put on by The Improv Centre. The theatre company, which specializes in improv theatre that often draws upon audience suggestions, is putting on two shows this month in honour of women. The first is called “Ladies Against Humanity” (March 13 at 7:30pm, 18A) and is a play on the popular game Cards Against Humanity. The funniest women in town will enact scenes that don’t hold back in the bid to outdo each other in the ‘horrible’ department, as inspired by the diabolical premise of the hit game. The second show “International Women’s Day: Fashionably Late” (March 14 at 7:30pm, PG) will spotlight well-known female stars as well as special guests for a fun night of improv in celebration of International Women’s Day.

MOSAIC: Panel on Gender Equality

Photo: MOSAIC – International Women’s Day Canada: Celebrating Progress and Unity in Gender Equality

MOSAIC, which supports newcomers to Canada, particularly in settlement and finding employment, is hosting a free International Women’s Day event: “Celebrating Progress and Unity in Gender Equality” on March 8 from 2pm to 4pm at 5575 Boundary Road. The event, organized by Multicultural Outreach Services, consists of a panel discussion with three speakers who will talk about how they overcame barriers and challenges to reach success in their fields. The event also offers networking opportunities, refreshments, as well as information on important policies and legislation in order to educate and empower attendees.

Vancouver Cocktail Week: Spirited Women

Vancouver Cocktail Week (VCW) is in full swing, lasting under March 10. The schedule is jam packed with interesting and delicious cocktail-related events, including one devoted to International Women’s Day. On March 8 from 6pm to 8pm at Cantina 189, VCW is holding “Spirited Women,” which focuses on women in the whisky industry and invites participants to sample whiskies crafted by female distillers, paired with tacos. During the event, guests will receive a welcome cocktail with Popol Vuh Mezcal, 4 different tacos (e.g., birria), and 3 different whiskies (e.g., Stobcross Single Malt from The Clydeside Distillery).

The Cultch: Femme Festival 2024

Photo: Fat Joke

Celebrations of female talent continue into this spring. The Cultch is hosting their seventh annual Femme Festival, which showcases the representations and narratives of female-identifying voices. The Festival, running over the course of April and May, consists of four world premieres of exciting theatre productions. They are Parifam (April 4-14, Historic Theatre), You Used to Call Me Marie… (April 18-28, York Theatre), Fat Joke (April 25-May 5, Vancity Culture Lab), and Homecoming (May 2-12, Historic Theatre). For example, Fat Joke is written and performed by Cheyenne Rouleau and co-presented by Neworld Theatre and The Cultch in association with Rumble Theatre. It’s a one-person show that explores the issue of fatphobia, weaving together personal storytelling with comedy.


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