The Vancouver All British Field Meet classic car show takes place on the grounds of VanDusen Botanical Garden on the Saturday of the May Long Weekend.
In 2020 the event was going to be on Saturday May 16 (so a couple of days before the Victoria Day statutory holiday). Due to concerns about the novel coronavirus, however, the event got cancelled. All things going well, the event will likely take place on Saturday, May 22, in 2021.
For the event’s official website click Westerndriver.com.
British Classic Car Show
The All British Field Meet (ABFM) is a fabulous event for people of all ages, especially if you love vintage British vehicles, classic sports cars and/or botanical gardens.
About the British Car Show
The car show usually takes place on the Saturday of the May Long Day Long Weekend every year at VanDusen Botanical Garden, so in 2020 it was supposed to happen on May 16. In late March, however, out of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers cancelled the spring event and hoped to reschedule it for later in the summer. In the end, however, postponing the show until later in the year wasn’t possible.
On display each year there are antique Rolls Royces, pre-war motorcycles, and the latest Jaguars, Aston Martins and Land Rovers, as well as a wide range of vintage classics of various other models. It’s an impressive event featuring literally hundreds of British cars and motorbikes.
At the event there are also food trucks, motor parts vendors, the current year’s vehicles from local dealerships and live entertainment, all of which make the long weekend Saturday an amazing day to be at VanDusen Garden.
With five dozen different classes of vehicles on display, over 450 cars in total and some 5000 car fanatics expected, the All British Field Meet is the largest classic car show of its kind in Western Canada.
SPECIAL FEATURED VEHICLES
Every year, in addition to all the other cars, the event features a few special vehicle marques. In 2020 they were going to be the Triumph Stag (which turned 50 years old this year), and all models of the English Ford.
For comparison, in 2018, the All British Field Meet headliner vehicles were an Austin-Healey Frogeye (a.k.a. Bugeye Sprite) and a Jaguar XK120. Also on site in that year (and again in 2019) was the customized “Grizzly Torque” Land Rover that Canadian artist Robert Bateman drove tens of kilometres across Africa in during the 1950s. The vehicle was also famously used by Bateman at that time as a painting canvas!
Admission to the ABFM Car Show
The Vancouver All British Field Meet takes place at VanDusen Garden at 5251 Oak Street on the Saturday of the May Long Weekend from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Early-bird ticket prices last year, up until May 10, 2019, are listed below. As you’ll see, if you purchased early you saved between $2 and $5 for most tickets. (Note: A small online fee was extra.) 2021 prices will likely be similar.
- Adults (ages 19-59) – $15
- Seniors (ages 60+) – $12
- Youth (ages 13-18) – $10
- Children (ages 5-12) – $6
- Families (2 adults plus children under age 19) – $35
- Combined High Tea & Show Entry – $40 each
Ticket prices for the public after May 10 in 2019 were the following (plus a small online fee):
- Adults (ages 19-59) – $17
- Seniors (ages 60+) – $15
- Youth (ages 13-18) – $12
- Children (ages 5-12) – $6
- Families (2 adults plus children under age 19) – $40
- Combined High Tea & Show Entry – $45 each
- Children under 5 years of age are free
Note: Some of the above prices were even lower than they were in the previous year, which is great! The age of seniors dropped from 65 to 60 compared to 2018, so folk between the ages of 60 and 64 got to pay even less than they did the year before. Youth, child and family passes were also all about $2 less than in the past too!
Included with the cost of admission in 2019 was a chance to win a trip for two to Great Britain. Other prizes included a new set of tires and a $200 gas card.
2020 Schedule of Events
Below is a schedule of what was going to happen at the event in 2020 (until it got cancelled). Times and details in 2021 will likely be similar.
- 10:00 am to 4:30 pm – Gates are open to the public
- 10:00 am to 3:30 pm – Event merchandise and regalia for sale at the ABFM official tent
- 11:45 am – First seating for the Plated High Tea
- 1:30 pm – Entrants’ Choice & Individual Class Voting Closes
- 2:00 pm – Second Seating for Plated High Tea
- 3:30 to 4:30 pm – Pipe Band and Awards Presentations
Plated High Tea in the Carriage Trade Teahouse
In addition to the cars on display, swap meet, food trucks, exhibitor booths, cars for sale and music in the bandstand, there is also a plated High Tea served in a tented area on the day at VanDusen Garden. Being a “British event”, High Tea seems only fitting!
In 2020 the High Tea was scheduled to be served in two sittings which were going to take place at 11:45 am and 2:00 pm. The cost was $45 per person. Items on the menu included smoked salmon, cucumber, egg salad and ham & cheese sandwiches. There was also going to be a selection of fresh-baked pastries (including scones and clotted cream of course), a miniature dessert platter and both tea and coffee.
Also included in the cost of admission to the Carriage Trade Teahouse was a chance to win a couple of gift baskets or a $100 Gas Card.
ABFM Car Show Video
For an idea of what to expect at the All British Field Meet check out the following promotional video showcasing scenes and participants from the event in 2019.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions on how to make the most out of your experience at the All British Field Meet.
TIP #1: Buy your tickets online and skip the early morning lineups. It’ll be worth waiting in line to get into this very popular event, but you’ll be even happier if you can bypass the queue.
Especially if you plan to get there towards the start of the day and it’s sunny, it’ll also be worth paying the extra little processing fee for the convenience.
TIP #2: Tickets are available on the day at the gate. They will be the same as non-early bird prices, minus the couple of dollars in online fees.
If you enjoy car shows like this, other Lower Mainland events you might be interested in at other times of the year include the following:
- Vancouver International Auto Show – a major modern car show at the Vancouver Convention Centre in March (although postponed in 2021).
- Easter Vintage Car Rally – a gathering of over 70 vintage cars on Easter Sunday (which takes place each year in either March or April). In past years it took place in the parking lot of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. In 2019, however, it took place at the Trev Deeley motorcycle store on Boundary Road (and will likely do so again in the future).
- All-British Vancouver-Whistler Run – a continuation of the above ABFM car show at VanDusen Garden on the May Long Weekend, but up at Whistler in the Creekside Village Plaza the following afternoon on the Sunday.
- Sockeye Run Car Show – a large car show in Steveston Village in June.