What are the best festivals in Vancouver?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Maria Tallarico

Vancouver’s festival scene goes all year, but summer and fall are particularly busy times. The Vancouver International Film Festival screens hundreds of flicks from countries all over the world, with a heavy Canadian contingent and engaging roundtable discussions and screenings. Those that enjoy and outdoor festival will love the Cherry Blossom Festival, which includes free bike and walking tours and a haiku contest. Reading and writing are a focus of The Vancouver Writer’s Festival, a very popular October event that hosts readings, panels, interviews and poetry slams, while oenophiles mark their calendars for the Vancouver International Wine Festival which hosts tastings, wine dinners at the city’s finest restaurants, seminars, brunches and a gala evening with luxury silent auction. During the dog day’s of summer, a waterfront park is transformed into a playhouse to host the Bard on the Beach Playhouse Festival. Kitsilano’s Vanier Park is home to tents that serve as a theatre (with the picturesque mountains as a natural backdrop) and audiences are mesmerized year after year by the outdoor performances of the Bard’s famous work.

Carolyn B. Heller

Vancouver has numerous festivals throughout the year, celebrating art, music, theatre, and many different cultures. Here are a few of the best:

Celebration of Light: On three summer nights in late July or early August, it seems like the entire city gathers around False Creek for this annual fireworks competition. Find a spot along English Bay if you can; the fireworks are launched from a barge in the harbor.

Vancouver Pride Festival: Vancouver’s large gay community celebrates with a lively multiday Pride Fest in July/August, including the city’s biggest parade.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival (mid-July): If you enjoy folk music, join the throngs who’ve been turning out for this weekend-long folk celebration that been held outdoors at Jericho Beach for more than 35 years.

Vancouver Fringe Festival: For theatre lovers, the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival (September) is an eclectic smorgasbord of stand-up comedy, serious plays, amateur musicals, and professional productions. It’s always great fun.

Chinese New Year: Vancouver’s large Chinese community celebrates the annual lunar new year (January-February) with fireworks, parades, and other special events. The festivities are big in Vancouver’s Chinatown, but even more events take place in the nearby suburb of Richmond, where more than 60 percent of residents are of Asian heritage.

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