What are the best Vancouver Festivals and Events?
What are the best Vancouver Festivals and Events?
Vancouver is one of the most happening cities in Canada if not North America. Each year the calendar is marked with events and festivals covering all four seasons, celebrating just about every facet of this great city. You have everything from performing arts to culture, culinary, sports, film & family events and festivals. Not to mention the various special interest events geared towards enthusiasts and fans of everything from pop culture to movies. So, it isn’t hard to find a couple of festivals and special events in line with your interests.
In this article, we’ll cover all the reoccurring major annual events in Vancouver. We’ll also discuss who these events are best geared towards. That way finding an event or festival that you’re interested in attending and learning more about it is easier.
BMO Vancouver Marathon
The BMO Vancouver Marathon’s free Health, Sports, and Lifestyle Expo is a major draw for both runners and non-runners alike. The marathon weekend is kicked off at the Vancouver Convention Centre which for the next few days plays host to thousands of people both professional runners and amateurs alike from across the country and internationally.
On race day everyone is treated to entertainment which ranges from musical performances to a street festival. Race day block parties feature numerous family activities, snacks, and live music.
In our experience, one of the biggest challenges of attending the BMO Vancouver Marathon is finding a parking spot. Not to mention that traffic diverted around the designated marathon route isn’t fun to drive in during the rush hour.
Our pro tip is to rent a vehicle like the Mercedes METRIS which can accommodate up to 7 people and you never have to worry about parking it. Plus, if you do the math, the limo rental works out to be far cheaper than paying for a taxi, if it is split between 7 friends or family members for that matter. Plus having a vehicle on hand will enable you to quickly shuttle between major points through the marathon’s route so that you continue to keep up with the action.
Celebration of Light
The Celebration of Light is Vancouver’s signature summer event where three countries compete to wow the city’s crowds. The fireworks are choreographed with music, as they are shot off a floating barge.
Burrard Inlet and English Bay play host to tens of thousands of spectators who set out their picnic blankets and folding chairs to soak in the light show. Visitors also have the option of booking their spot in one of the few VIP viewing areas. These areas range from private cabanas to bleachers.
The Celebration of Light is accompanied by a music festival at Sunset Beach too. It is one of the largest community concerts, which is free for everyone. So, expect that finding a parking spot is going to be next to impossible. Unless you’re a party of one which is rare, you’ll want to rent a vehicle like the BMW 740LE which is perfect for a family of three. Hiring a limo also saves you from having to walk all the way to your private spot, since you can be dropped off at the door or at least the nearest point.
Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off during the first half of April paying tribute to the 40,000 plus cherry blossom trees lining the streets of Vancouver. Thousands of visitors arrive in the city to celebrate the bloom of the light pink blossoms dominating the neighborhoods during the festival.
The event offers everyone the opportunity to capture the beauty of these cherry blossoms with arts events, cherry blossom viewing tours, community bike rides, and a couple of Japanese festivals. The festival’s website has an updated list of all the best viewing spots, and there is a map of 2100+ acres of space where these ornamental trees are planted. The best way to cover all that ground and to reach the best spots at the right time is to get a private car service. We recommend something like the Mercedes S550 for a smooth and luxurious drive through all that color.
The festival is more than just about photographing and painting cherry blossoms; it is also about drawing artistic inspiration. So, each year the festival commences with the Cherry Jam Downtown Concert, which pays homage to the season and features bands, dance groups, and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. Everyone performs under the colorful flutter of cherry blossoms lining Burrard Station. That’s followed by the BC Blossom Photo Contest and the Haiku Invitational, both of which is open to everyone.
Dine Out Vancouver Festival
Fond of food? Then January is a great time in Vancouver for foodies with the Dine Out Vancouver Festival in full swing. The 17-day long festival is a celebration of Vancouver’s culinary scene, which includes tastings, menus, events, classes, and workshops.
The festival includes more than 250 restaurants with an array of menu choices starting from $20 to $40. In addition, there are 80 culinary events from street food celebration, cooking lessons, tasting tours that take people to various neighborhoods, and dinners paired with art, beverages, and also a movie.
During the Dine Out, Vancouver Festival, participating hotels offer special rates which are available through the festival’s website. Though you’ll want to book in advance if you’re flying in from out of the city, you’d also want to book a car like the Jaguar XJL or the Cadillac Escalade ESV for a larger family for the entire 17 days.
HSBC Canada Sevens
The HSBC World Rugby Seven Series happens to be one of the most anticipated global sporting events. It features the dynamics of sevens rugby coupled with the glitz and glamour of entertainment, which brings with it a massive fan following. A following that happens to be unrivaled in Vancouver.
The series includes 16 teams which are divided into four pools based on their prior rankings. The first day of the tournament consists of a round of play within the pools. The second day the bottom two teams from each pool contest for the Challenge Trophy competition. The higher seeded teams progress to the competition’s Cup, and they have the opportunity to win silver, bronze, and gold medals. If you are a rugby fan, the HSBC Canada Sevens is a must watch.
The International Jazz Festival
The International Jazz Festival in Vancouver is one of the largest and most vibrant music festivals in the city. It is the biggest summer celebration and carries on for 12 days starting from late June to early July. The festival attracts over 500,000 fans from across the world.
The festival is often headlined by big names like Lady Gaga, Buddy Guy, Erykah Badu and Tony Bennett amongst numerous others who share the stage with starts from Latin, Jazz, funk, and fusion scene. The festival brings as many as 1800 artists together for a whopping 300 concerts, that take place in 35 venues both outdoor and indoor across Vancouver. Each venue as you’d expect is packed to capacity especially the free concerts hosted at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Granville Island during Canada Day and David Lam Park which hosts concerts for the closing weekend.
In addition to lots of music, there is food and drink. It is absolutely permissible to get drunk at one of the many concerts, but there is a strict rule against driving when drunk. That’s why most people who plan a weekend concert at the festival with friends will rent something like Lincoln Navigator, or a larger group may benefit from the Mercedes Executive Van. Each of these is large enough to accommodate extra drinks and perhaps bags and snacks. Plus you don’t have to worry about circling the venue for a parking spot which we can tell you from experience is near impossible to find. The vehicle will also drop and then pick you up from the venue’s entrance, which saves you from having to walk for several minutes to your car and all the traffic.
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is amongst Vancouver’s top events of the year. The event is produced over the course of three weeks every January and presents some of the best work in the live performing arts industry.
The festival is meant to expand the horizon of audiences, aspiring artists and artists with groundbreaking work across multiple disciplines and genres. The festival also brings to light acclaimed international and local artists, who are then blended in with rejuvenating, inspiring and stimulating works of art.
A big part of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is the PuSh Assembly, where people gather to share perspectives and ideas. It is also aimed to foster a sense of community and reflect upon the recent industry trends as well as stimulating dialog amongst patrons, international practitioners, etc. So, the event is an open invitation to everyone from industry insiders to art aficionados. Arrive in style and on time, Limobook has driven many of the top artists to this events year after year.
The Annual TED Conference
Most people reading this blog post have heard of the TED Conference, which is an annual event that aims to bring together some of the leading names in the fields of design, entertainment, and technology. However, it also introduces influencers and major names in arts, business, science, etc.
We have had the pleasure of driving some of the world most influential people. We offer them private airport pickup services, hotel transfers, and vip event transportation to Vancouver and surrounding cities.
Limobook can also offer daily car service rates for groups and vips guests that expect the best every time.
Some popular names to have graced the TED Conference includes Apple’s founder Steve Jobs who talked about seeing opportunities at times when they are setbacks. Al Gore also famously presented his findings on climate change. All of these people have one thing in common they were in TED Conference’s home town, i.e. Vancouver, Canada.
The conference is more than just a long list of presentations. It is a five-day meeting and features thought-provoking performances and demonstrations which connects with fellow attendees. There are parties, dinners, an art exhibit, and wellness activities. So, there is something for everyone.
The Vancouver Biennale celebrates public space. It is a bi-annual public space art exhibition that brings new media, performances in public parks, urban plazas, and beaches, etc. Thanks to the help from many emerging and famous artists, each exhibition has managed to transform Vancouver into a living open-air museum. To date, there are 78 artists from over 25 countries and 4 continents participating in Vancouver Biennale exhibitions.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Each July Vancouverites head over to Jericho Beach for what is the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which is a huge event that brings together the world of roots and folk music. It is an event that may change your mind about what folk music is all about. Each year the event is graced by big names of the industry like Joan Baez, Loudon Wainwright III, and Kidjo, who perform on eight outdoor stages for a total of three days. Same of the headlining bands have used our car service for their Vancouver transportation.
In addition, outdoor stages also feature is a pretty extensive selection of street foods, the festival community village which teaches visitors about community building and the crafts market. The festival happens to attract hundreds of people each year, including families who head over to the Little Folks Village, which is a location showcasing song-singing, storytelling, face painting, and craft making.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a family event, and for those traveling with the family, it is best to get a car rental of some kind. Our advice is to rent the Mercedes Executive Bus, which can accommodate up to seven people. Do the math, and it is evident that it is way cheaper per person than a taxi for that matter. Also, you don’t have to worry about paying for parking, which is often the case around these music festival venues.
Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF)
Each September Vancouver plays host to one of North America’s largest film festivals. The Vancouver International Film Festival or VIFF is one of the most significant events with over 140,000 film fans attending the festival. The VIFF screens 380 movies for 16 days during the festival.
Unlike other film festivals, this one isn’t as much about celebrities gracing the red carpet but rather about those who love independent films and the film making process. Attending the showing requires that you buy a ticket at the nearest box office.
The VIFF also happens to be the largest showcase for Canadian films and also has an international slant to it since it screens films from over 70 countries. The films include those from East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, most of which are documentaries. So, if you’re a film lover, the VIFF is an exciting time to be there since it gives you the chance to explore the diversity and love that it encourages. We have picked up many VIPs for this event from YVR airport transfers to their hotels, and the event.
It is no wonder that most screenings are received well, and it is fairly common for tickets to be sold out. Finding a parking spot around a location screening a much anticipated or popular film can also be difficult so our pro tip here would be to get a limo rental. Sharing the vehicle rental with friends perhaps helps keep the costs down, and you don’t have to worry about hailing a cab during the wee hours of the morning.
Vancouver International Wine Festival
It is amongst the oldest and largest wine-related events in the world. The VIWF brings 25,000 wine enthusiasts from around the globe each year; these include everyone from wine insiders to enthusiasts and newbies alike. However, the focus of this festival is wine insiders and traders. That’s why the majority of the event is open to everyone.
At the heart of this festival is the International Festival Tasting Room, that is open for three days and gives hundreds of attendees the chance to sample over 700+ wines from across the world. Each year the festival chooses to feature a region, in the past, it has featured Australia, Italy, California, and Spain with the region highlighted through many other tastings and events.
Local wines from British Columbia are very well represented both at various events and the tasting room. You’ll also be able to enjoy wine dinners at the largest restaurants in Vancouver with lunches, brunches, and seminars.
It is easy to have way too much wine than you should, which increases your blood alcohol level, making it dangerous to drive. That’s why the best thing to do when you’re planning to visit the Vancouver International Wine Festival is to get a car service or a limousine rental. That way, you don’t have you worry about driving with a high blood alcohol level. Our limo car service option is perfect for this type of event, you just enjoy yourself and we take care of the rest. Why risk any issues when Limobook has your back in style and comfort.
Vancouver Opera Festival
The Vancouver Opera happens to be the second largest opera company in Canada. The company is regarded internationally for its community leading educational programs, community partnerships, and main stage productions. The Vancouver Opera Festival run by BMO is currently in its third year and continues to work towards redefining “opera” and welcoming new audiences of all ages.
The festival generally runs from April to May and features two main stage events in addition to a series of special events and various family programming celebrating fables and fairy tales.
The Festival commences with the VOX pre-festival fundraising event. Guests at the event have the chance to discover what is defined as the next generation of Canadian opera in what is often an exhilarating vocal feast, by competitors which are soon after followed by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage surrounded by Faust. Guests can enter and enjoy the show by purchasing tickets to the competition, and they can choose to enjoy the full gala experience too.
Vancouver Pride Festival
The Vancouver Pride Festival is Canada’s largest gay pride celebration. The festival culminates with the Pride Parade. Each year the Vancouver Pride Festival includes over 20 official events bringing together the LGBTQ community including supporters, allies and friends.
During the two weeks leading up the Pride Weekend, the community hosts tea parties, concerts, block parties, youth dances, a family-friendly picnic at Stanley Park and a fund-raising event.
The parade attracts over 650,000 spectators who come to watch the large rainbow bedecked floats and colorful marchers follow the route through Robinson Street, along the Denman Street and Beach Avenue which ends at the waterfront in the heart of Sunset Beach. The beach then plays host to revelers who join a celebratory festival with a beer garden and stage performers.
It is a fun-filled family event where everyone is invited. That’s why it attracts both local tourists and international travelers alike.
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
Fans of Shakespeare will certainly not want to miss Bard on the Beach, which happens to be the largest professional Shakespeare festival in Western Canada. The festival runs each year from early July till September in Vancouver, BC.
The festival is Produced by Bard on the Beach Theatre Society, the mission of whom is to celebrate, perform and explore the many works of William Shakespeare. Apart from the annual summer festival, the society also runs many outreach and educational programs all year round under their umbrella Bard Education.
Capture Photography Festival
The Capture Photography Festival showcases the best lens-based art which starts from April at over a dozen galleries and various venues dotted across the Metro Vancouver area. There is an extensive list of Public Art Programs, Events Program, a youth-oriented learning program, community events, various films and talks by famous artists.
It is the largest lens-based art festival in Canada by a not-for-profit organization. The festival showcases the best, most thought-provoking, and challenging photography by both local and international artists. A must visit for photography enthusiasts, or those interested in the art of capturing art and culture through the lens.We have taken multiple photography classes on tours of Vancouver to many interesting sites. The Mercedes Executive Mini Bus holds 15 people (and all their gear) easily.
Fan Expo Vancouver
Fan Expo Vancouver is one of the most anticipated pop-culture conventions for fans of anime, horror, comics, cosplay, gaming, and authors. It is a three-day fun packed extravaganza with numerous family-friendly activities, celebrities, attractions, etc.
It goes without saying that everyone is a big fan of something and the Fan Expo Vancouver aims to be the place to celebrate everything that you’re a fan of especially if it is part of pop culture. Visitors have the opportunity to get an autographed photo with their favorite guest and the inside scoop about their favorite TV show or movies.
Professional comic artists also battle it out in Sketch Duels, there are various How-to workshops, and you can take photos with a costumed character of your choice. There are also souvenirs and gifts for sale thanks to over 250,000 sq/feet of shopping opportunities.
Generally, the festival takes place in October at the Vancouver Convention Center and is open to everyone of all ages. However, since the convention center is often packed, parking is several minutes away from the front door. So, there is a lot of walking involved. The best way to avoid it and be picked as well as dropped at the front door is to hire a luxury limousine or a car service.
Canada Day celebrations in Vancouver BC
Canada Day is a festival that celebrates Canada in its entirety. You get to enjoy everything from colorful red and white parades to the waterfront parties. There are fantastic firework displays late in the evening. The best thing about all these Canada Day events in Vancouver is that all the events are free. Why not go in style with a Vancouver Limousine from our fleet. The BMW 7 series car is perfect for smaller groups and the signature Mercedes Sprinter Van is for when you want to show up in total style.
The vast majority of locations are easily served by transit, but they can get very crowded as you might imagine. So, you’ll want to allow some extra time to get there. However, you can avoid the crowds so to speak by hiring a limo car service.
If you’re joining the fun with the wife and kids, and expect to keep partying till the end of the fireworks, you’ll probably want to rent a vehicle like the Mercedes Executive Van. You can then travel in luxury to all the best spots to enjoy Canada Day celebrations like Granville Island and then from there to the Steveston Salmon Festival, all without worrying about being packed in the metro or getting stuck in traffic.
Crafted Vancouver is a not-for-profit organization; its goal is to showcase traditional craft, as well as an exceptional contemporary craft from numerous international, national, and local makers both known and unknown. The festival takes place at many different venues with an array of self-guided events. Events like film night, exhibitions, studio tours, private walks, artist talks, tasting, and dining events are meant to be entertaining and educational.
In addition to signature events, the event’s organizers partner with museums, galleries, craft guides, associations, cultural organizations, scholars, collectors, embassies, writers, chefs, educational instantiations, etc. The event partners work towards highlighting the skill of contemporary craft makers both globally and locally. So, everyone from indigenous people to various cultural groups continues to honor the tradition of traditional crafting practices which have been handed down through the generations.
Limobook has helped many organisations with corporate transportation over the years. It could be for your CEO, your employees or country ambassadors we have strict privacy rules, and security protocols when it comes to transpiration. Call us now to arrange for a quote for your next event.
The event is as much a celebration as it is a showcase of fine crafts and skills of craftsmen. It is also a celebration of unique pieces with greater meaning.
Laughing and making people laugh is what JFL NorthWest is all about. Each year it is presented in association with SiriusXM with the promise of delivering big laughs as it brings together the funniest stars in the comedy world each February.
Vancouverites and guests of the city are treated to some of the best standup comedy which includes live podcast records, to sketch, to improv, breakout performances all from the Best of West Series.
Also on the cards is the Just For Laughs Film Festival with red carpets, film screenings, etc. There is also a multi-day Block Party which features food trucks, live music, and games.
Le Centre Culturel Francophone de Vancouver
It is one of the most important musical and cultural francophone events in Western Canada since 1990. The event strings together more than a week of beautiful concerts all under the banner of the International Francophone Music event.
The event brings thousands together from across Canada and even internationally to hear Canadian and international artists. Not only does it draws in local Vancouverites but also tourists who are interested in French culture and language. If anything this is the most unique cultural experience on the West Coast.
Theatre Under The Stars Musical Society
Fans of theatrical performances are treated to the best experience during the Theatre Under the Stars Musical Society festival. Theater Under The Stars or TUTS as it is abbreviated is a not-for-profit charitable organization and runs one of the largest musical theatre businesses in Vancouver.
The organization is officially operated by the Theatre Under The Stars Musical Society, and during the summer event, there are two full-length musicals at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. The event generally starts during the first half of July and runs till Mid-August.
The performances attract hundreds of people to Malkin Bowl, and getting here can be a bit of a hassle. That said the area is served well by public transport, but our advice is to get a limo car. That way you don’t have to worry about circling the parking area looking for a spot or paying for it outside of the venue. Plus a van is great for a large group of people.
Summary of best things to do when visiting Vancouver BC, Canada
Vancouver is one of the most happening cities in Canada. If you happen to be visiting or staying for an extended period of time, these are some of the festivals we are sure you’ll be interested in attending.
The best thing about many of these festivals is that they are open to the general public and free. So, there is a lot of fun to be had without spending anything. All you need is to get there on time. While most venues are served well by public transport, you’ll want to hire a car to avoid paying for parking, searching for a spot to park and driving through heavy traffic. Plus, Canada and in particular Vancouver has some very strict drink driving laws. So, you certainly don’t want to be behind the wheel of a car even if you’ve had a few glasses of wine or beer.