BC Day, otherwise known as British Columbia Day, is an annual long weekend in…you guessed it, the province of British Columbia! On this day, British Columbians take a day off to celebrate their local heritage and recognize shaping the social, cultural and political landscape of the province. Keep reading to learn what you can do this coming long weekend to show your BC pride!
Honda Celebration of Light Fireworks
This fireworks event is arguably the most popular summer event in Vancouver. Every year in July, around 1,200,000 people gather around the English Bay area to observe the performance. This year, the competing teams are from Japan, Canada, and Spain. All three firework shows start at 10:00 PM sharp and last around 25 minutes. We should also mention that the Canada fireworks will be accompanied by a special airshow at 6:00 PM by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. So come out to the event to show some BC and Canadian pride!
- July 23rd: Akariya Fireworks from Japan (already performed)
- With pre-fireworks Red Bull Air Show
- July 27th: Midnight Sun Fireworks from Canada
- With pre-fireworks Red Bull Air Show and Canadian Forces Snowbirds
- July 30th: Pirotecnia Zaragozana from Spain
- Wirth pre-fireworks Red Bull Air Show
Time: from 10:00 PM to 10:25 PM, rain or shine! Accompanying firework music can be found on the Breeze 104.3 FM and Z 95.3 FM.
Location: English Bay, Vancouver
Playland at the PNE
From around April-May to August-September, the Pacific National Exhibition, also known as the PNE, opens to British Columbians at Hastings Park in Vancouver. The exhibition boasts an annual 15-day summer fair known as the Fair, a seasonal amusement park known as Playland, and indoor arenas for performances, shows and other special events. While the Fair won’t be open until August, Playland currently is, so consider heading there if you’re a big fan of rollercoasters, games, and food!
Their current schedule and prices are as follows:
- Open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of the BC long weekend
- Tickets are $31.50 if purchased in advance and give access to all family-friendly rides
- Tickets are $43.50 for all rides including the most extreme ones!
*Admission capacity is limited, so be sure to book your tickets sooner to avoid any disappointment!
Powell Street Festival
The Powell Street Festival is another annual and free event taking place on the BC long weekend. This festival focuses on celebrating Japanese-Canadian culture and heritage in BC, particularly, in Vancouver. It is influenced by the traditional and grand Japanese summer omatsuri (meaning festival in Japanese), with Japanese art and cultural displays, delicious Japanese festival foods like yakisoba noodles, takoyaki, and kakigōri (shaved ice), martial art demonstrations, Taiko drumming, tea ceremonies, ikebana flower-arranging workshops, and more. There are also small booths where local artists and artisans sell their handmade goods, as well as live performances and walking tours relating to Japanese culture.
Performances on Saturday include:
- Vancouver Iaido Club @ 12:00 PM – Traditional Samurai martial arts demonstration at Oppenheimer Park featuring Japanese swords
- Ichigo-Ichieh New Theatre: Hiromoto Ida @ 2:00 PM – Solo dance performance by Ida at the Firehall Arts Centre
- Vancouver Okinawa Taiko @ 3:15 PM – 30-minute drum-dancing session promoting Okinawan culture on the Street Stage
- Tasai Collective @ 4:00 PM – Show at the Vancouver Japanese School by Sora, Yurie, and Steve; dance, music and lights are all combined into one large performance!
- Kytami & Phonik Ops @ 5:30 PM – Violinist and producer duo perform their unique sound at Oppenheimer Park
- Kimiko Dorey @ 6:00 PM – “Hafu” (half Japanese, half Canadian) vocalist hits the Street Stage for a traditional solo performance
Performances on Sunday include:
- Origami @ 12:00 PM – Paper folding with Taeko Morita from 12:00 to 5:00 PM at Oppenheimer Park
- 360 Riot Walk Live Tour @ 2:00 PM – Guided tour at the Vancouver Japanese Language School; uses 360-degree video to show the history of the 1907 Vancouver Anti-Asian Riots
- Zai Daikon @ 2:30 PM – Japanese theatrical group’s play performance at the Firehall Arts Centre
- Kokoro Dance with Jo Passed @ 3:00 PM – Butoh dance by Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi choreographed to Jo Passed music at Oppenheimer Park
- The Deep Cove @ 4:00 PM – Rock band performance with cinematic and catchy tracks on the Street Stage
- Sumo Tournament @ 4:00 PM – Exciting competition where participants force their opponents out of a circle at Oppenheimer Park
Date and time: Takes place on Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st
Location: around East Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park
Other Events Around BC
- Bard-B-Q & Fireworks
- See A Midsummer Night’s Dream, eat some delicious food, and end the night with a wonderful (and private) view of the Celebration of Light fireworks
- Summer Sundays
- Enjoy some free live music at 2:00 PM at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody
- Farmers Market
- Check out the Sundays farmers’ market at Ambleside, Coquitlam, Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant and Steveston Village for the freshest foods and ingredients
- Tsawwassen Sun Festival
- Join this three-day community event and take part in some family fun! Their main event, Holiday Monday, features a free pancake breakfast, classic car show, Kids Fun Zone, Antique Fair and more!