Vancouver Summer Festivals Guide

During the summer in Vancouver, tourists come out in droves; but whether you are a tourist, in the market for Vancouver real estate, or already a Vancouver homeowner, summer is a time to get together with friends and family and celebrate the long days and hot weather.  In addition to the many individual concerts and gatherings, Vancouver plays host to numerous festivals throughout the year; the best of which seem to occur during the summer months.  Indeed, there are far too many to choose from.  While most are geared towards family, they are enjoyed by people of all ages, offering something for everyone.  Here are my top picks:

Bard on the beach

Running from now through September 25th, this outdoor Shakespeare festival plays sold out shows each year, offering matinees under the sun and primetime performances under the stars.  Some of Vancouver’s most talented actors and crew are involved in these productions, which this year include Anthony and Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing, Falstaff (an adaptation of Henry IV, parts I & II) and Henry V.

 25th Annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Always a summer highlight, the Jazz Festival offers free shows and paid concerts at various venues throughout Vancouver.  Gastown and David Lam Park in Yaletown are two central locations for free shows and people watching, but don’t miss the Canada Day celebrations at nearby Canada Place on July 1st.  The Vancouver International Jazz Festival runs from June 25th to July 4th, 2010.

33rd Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival

The weekend of July 16th-18th, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival takes place at Jericho Park.  Tickets can be purchased for the whole weekend or for one night only, but people not attending shows are welcome to walk around the vendor’s stalls on the beach lining the concert venue.  This festival has become a huge part of Kitsilano culture dating back to the late 1970s.

Celebration of Light

This international fireworks competition is a crowd favourite every year.  On July 21st, 24th, 28th and 31st, arrive early to English Bay of Kits Beach, or gather at a friend’s place with a view of English Bay to witness an incredible fireworks show set to music.  The large crowd this event always draws ensures an especially festive atmosphere throughout Vancouver – a great way to celebrate the height of the summer season!

Caribbean Days Festival

Just a SeaBus ride over to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver will get you to this waterfront event which takes place the weekend of July 24th and 25th.  The festival features a multi-cultural street parade, Island and International food fair, musical and dance entertainment all weekend long, and an arts and clothing market. 

20th Annual Illuminares Lantern Procession

While this festival is one night only (Saturday July 25th), it is not to be missed.  The procession at Trout Lake in East Vancouver is stunningly beautiful.  Participants can make their own lanterns, or just watch as others walk by with their creations. 

Pacific National Exhibition

Running from August 21st to September 6th, the PNE is the best time to visit Burnaby’s Playland Amusement Park.  The park itself, open all summer long, holds many attractions and rides, but the PNE Fair has added exhibits you won’t want to miss.  Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the fair has live shows, food stalls, agricultural attractions and rides that can only be found over these two weeks.

These festivals showcase some of the best Vancouver has to offer, helping to make it one of the best places in the world to live!

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver

Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver

Vancouver's Lantern Festival


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