BC Day Long Weekend includes a FREE Japanese Culture and Food Festival

powell street festival vancouver 2018

Katari Taiko at the Powell Street Festival Photo credit: [stu-di-o] by jeanie

In a BC Day Long Weekend packed full of major events, including the Pride Festival and the Celebration of Light, the Powell Street Festival might get overlooked. However, the Powell Street Festival is actually the largest event of its kind in Canada and the longest running community arts festival in the Lower Mainland – since 1977.

This free, family-friendly event is held both indoors and out around the Powell Street area within Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood, on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil- Waututh First Nations. Influenced by typical Japanese summer festivals or matsuri, PSF has developed into a unique Vancouver event. Over the course of the 2-day event, nearly 17,500 people participate in the event.

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BC Day Long Weekend includes a FREE Japanese Culture and Food Festival

Highlights of this weekend’s annual Vancouver celebration of Japanese culture

Koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita performs with Chordophone at this year's Powell Street Festival.

Koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita performs with Chordophone at this year’s Powell Street Festival.

Every summer, Canada’s largest celebration of Japanese Canadian arts and culture held in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood. The annual Powell Street Festival features live music, Japanese food, sumo wrestling, martial arts, dance, film, crafts, theatre, Taiko drumming, anime and children’s activities – all free.

This year, the festival takes place July 30-31, from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Oppenheimer Park (400 Block, Powell Street), as well as participating venues Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova Street), Vancouver Japanese Language School (475 Alexander St), and Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue). See some highlights below.

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Highlights of this weekend’s annual Vancouver celebration of Japanese culture

Powell Street Festival to go ahead this weekend, not quite as planned

GRMLN kicks off this year's Powell Street Festival with Southern California dream-pop Friday night at the Electric Owl.

GRMLN kicks off this year’s Powell Street Festival with Southern California dream-pop Friday night at the Electric Owl.

This year, the annual Powell Street Festival hit a major snag. Thanks to an ongoing occupation by First Nations protesters of Oppenheimer Park, the event’s usual site, organizers have had to transplant the country’s largest Japanese-Canadian festival. This week it was announced that the the food, entertainment and other planned activities will continue, but in a car-free block party format centred at Alexander Street (between Princess and Dunlevy avenues) and Jackson Avenue (between Railway and Cordova Streets).

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Powell Street Festival to go ahead this weekend, not quite as planned

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

We’ve rounded up a variety of events this long weekend – tulips, classic cars, crafts, sports and more!  Read on for our top picks for things happening around Vancouver this Friday through Monday!

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Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

5 Places to Enjoy Vancouver Cherry Blossoms Now

Vancouver cherry blossoms

Photo credit: TheVancouverGuy

While many North American cities have a few hundred cherry trees blooming in the downtown core, Vancouver is lucky enough to have 40,000 cherry trees spread throughout the city. Many of these pink and white beauties, in an impressive variety of cultivars including Akebono and Accolade, are blooming now.

You’ve probably spotted the cherry blossoms at Burrard Skytrain Station. And snapped a smartphone pic or two of the blossoms outside your front door. But where should you really commit and set up your picnic blanket?

Here are your five best options for a day of sunshine and petals: Continue reading:
5 Places to Enjoy Vancouver Cherry Blossoms Now

DTES Heart of the City Festival October 26 – November 6

Image: M-J Milloy

Where is the heart of Vancouver? The living, beating nucleus of this fair town is Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood that encompasses Gastown, Victory Square, Chinatown, the Main and Hastings corridors, Japantown, Oppenheimer and Strathcona. The Downtown Eastside is where Vancouver began, and the 8th annual Heart of the City Festival, Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, is a series of events that pay tribute to the neighbourhood’s past and present.

The first residents were the ancestors of Coast Salish people who still reside in the DTES today. For the last 125 years, immigrants of all nationalities have settled in this space making it Vancouver’s most diverse neighbourhood. Far from static, the Vancouver’s heart has shape-shifted from entertainment/shopping centre to skid row to hipster magnet with serious affordable housing issues.

The Heart of the City Festival tells these stories with music, dancing, art and history. There are over 100 events in the festival offerings this year. Here are some you won’t want to miss. Continue reading:
DTES Heart of the City Festival October 26 – November 6

Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club

Although it may not look like it now, Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside was once a baseball diamond – home field for the Vancouver Asahi, an all-Japanese baseball club formed in 1914.  Earlier this month, a ceremony honored the nearly forgotten team, 70 years to the day the club was disbanded and its players sent to internment camps.

The story of the Asahi is among the most fascinating, and little-known, chapters of Vancouver’s early history (as related in this great Vancouver Sun article). The team was started in 1914 when businessman Harry Miyasaki brought together the best amateur players from British Columbia’s fast-growing Japanese population.  The club, known as the Asahi Tigers,  competed against the city’s white ball clubs during the early days of baseball.

And they kicked some butt.

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Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club