In 2020, however, because of the coronavirus, most events have been cancelled. A few are still happening, like the Abbotsford Agrifair, and a couple are offering online activities. Most major events, however, won’t be operating again until 2021.
COVID-19 AND THE AUGUST LONG WEEKEND
Much of the Lower Mainland shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the novel coronavirus. Some venues and restaurants started opening back up in mid-May. Due to government orders that large events not take place this summer, however, many festivals and events have been cancelled this year, including ones on the BC Day Long Weekend.
Events that have been cancelled this year include the Celebration of Light fireworks competition, Harmony Arts Festival, Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival, Squamish Days and most others which would normally be happening this weekend. It will be a strange summer without all these traditional activities indeed!
To learn more about the impact of the virus on the Lower Mainland’s spring and summer plans, see our article about COVID-19 and Vancouver Event Cancellations.
BC Day Long Weekend in 2020
BC Day takes place on the first Monday of August each year, so in 2020 the August Long Weekend runs from the evening of Friday, July 31st, until end of day on Monday, August 3rd.
Information in this article includes the following topics:
Abbotsford Agrifair | Chilliwack Sunflower Festival | Celebration of Light Fireworks | Pride Parade & Festival | Harmony Arts Festival | White Rock Sea Festival | Powell Street Festival | Squamish Days | Fort Langley Brigade Days | Tsawwassen Sun Festival | Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival | Other BC Day Events
Click any of the above links to jump to information about a specific event, or continue reading to learn all about the Lower Mainland’s top BC Day Long Weekend events.
August Long Weekend
Below is a list of the top major events that place most years in Vancouver on the BC Day August Long Weekend.
The Abbotsford Agrifair is a community fair that normally includes agricultural displays and amusement rides. In 2020 it’s scheduled to take place from July 31st to August 2nd at its usual Exhibition Park venue in Abbotsford. And yes, it’s still happening, despite COVID-19, although in a modified format.
The Agrifair is a popular event. In a typical year it features everything from Canadian wrestling to pig races, logger shows, farm animals to look at and live music.
In 2020 the Abbotsford Agrifair is operating as a “Drive-Thru Safari.” For just $15 per carload (including all taxes and fees), guests can drive in to the fairgrounds and see buffalo, goats, sheep, donkeys and other farm animals, plus military vehicles, a demolition derby car display, antique tractors and other interesting things. Cars can also drive up to food vendors and buy mini donuts and other popular fair food.
For further details see our article about the Abbotsford Agrifair.
Chilliwack Sunflower Festival
The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival ran from August 1st until September 15th in 2019, so the BC Day Long Weekend was the event’s opening weekend. 2020 season details are to be determined, but things aren’t looking good. Hopefully the event can still happen. The Chilliwack Tulip Festival, however, is run by the same organization. It usually takes place in April, but in 2020 it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
In years when the summer flower festival does take place you can explore close to 20 acres of beautiful sunflowers in the Fraser Valley! They are amazing! Let’s hope it happens in 2020!
See our article about the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival for more details.
Celebration of Light Fireworks
The Saturday of the long weekend is when the final night of the Celebration of Light international fireworks competition usually takes place. All afternoon and evening there is music and festivities at Second Beach in Stanley Park. Then later, just off English Bay Beach, the fireworks start at 10 o’clock.
The Celebration of Light is one of Vancouver’s premier events and in the evening hundreds of thousands of people turn out to enjoy the pyrotechnics from the beach and surrounding region.
In 2020, the event, unfortunately, won’t be happening because of concerns about the coronavirus. Hopefully it will be back better than ever in 2021!
Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival
Vancouver and its LGBTQIA2+ community was going to celebrate the 42nd Pride Festival on the BC Day August long weekend in 2020. It will now have to wait until 2021 to do that though, at least live and in-person, thanks to the event’s cancellation due to COVID-19.
In 2020, although the festival won’t be happening in its usual format because of the pandemic, virtual online activities will still be taking place. See our article about the Vancouver Pride Festival for details.
In years when it does take place, Pride events include the following:
- Vancouver Pride Parade – the city’s world-famous and very colourful Pride Parade takes place on the Sunday from noon until around 2 pm. The route starts at the corner of Thurlow and Robson and goes down Robson Street, then along Denman Street and Beach Avenue before finishing at Sunset Beach. In 2020, on August 2nd, instead of a live parade taking place in Vancouver’s West End, a virtual parade will be happening online.
- Sunset Beach Festival – the Pride Festival celebrations continue on the Sunday at Sunset Beach from 11 am to 6 pm.
Click Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival for more details.
Harmony Arts Festival
The Harmony Arts Festival is a 10-day arts festival that usually starts on the August Long Weekend. The event features live music, free nightly movies, art displays and all sorts of things for people of all ages to see and do.
General admission to the Harmony Arts Festival is FREE and it takes place in West Vancouver along the water between Ambleside and John Lawson Park.
Last year the Harmony Arts Festival ran from August 2nd to 11th. In 2020 the event has been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
Harmony Arts Cinema in the Park
In addition to live music, art and other festive activities, the Harmony Arts Festival also features a series of free nightly movies. Below was the 2019 film schedule for the long weekend. 2021 films will likely be comparable.
- August 2 (Friday) – The Green Book
- August 3 (Saturday) – Crazy Rich Asians
- August 4 (Sunday) – The Incredibles 2
- August 5 (Monday) – Indian Horse
See the Harmony Arts Festival for more details on this great community event.
White Rock Sea Festival
The seaside resort town usually celebrates its Sea Festival on the August Long Weekend. The FREE event includes children’s activities, fireworks, a torchlight parade and tons of live entertainment.
Most years the festival takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend in August. In 2020, because of the coronavirus, it has been cancelled.
TIP #1: If you can’t stay all day and evening, but you really want to enjoy the beach during your visit, try to be in White Rock at low tide when the sand seems to go out forever.
TIP #2: If you go on the Sunday combine your trip with a visit to the White Rock Farmers Market which is a great market at 15154 Russell Avenue between 10 am and 2 pm.
Click White Rock Sea Festival for more information.
Powell Street Festival
The Powell Street Festival is a FREE festival celebrating Japanese-Canadian culture and heritage on the BC Day Long Weekend. It usually takes place around Powell Street in East Vancouver from 11:30 am to 7:00 pm on the Saturday and Sunday.
In 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the live event has been cancelled. In its place, however, there is an online telethon featuring performances and cultural activities.
Festival venues most years include Oppenheimer Park (in the 400 block of Powell Street), the Firehall Arts Centre (at 280 East Cordova Street), the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (at 475 Alexander Street), and the Vancouver Buddhist Temple (at 220 Jackson Avenue).
In years when it does take place, at the Powell Street Festival expect to see Japanese art and cultural displays, tasty Japanese festival foods, martial arts demonstrations, Taiko drumming, tea ceremonies, ikebana flower-arranging workshops and all kinds of Japanese activities and things to buy.
The festival usually takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the BC Day Long Weekend. Hopefully the festivities will happen in their usual format again in 2021. Until then, we can still look forward to 2020’s telethon activities on August 1st.
TIP: While in the area, if you’re interested in picking up some cheap fruit and vegetables, then drop by Sunrise Market at 300 Powell Street. It often has some of the best produce deals in Vancouver.
For more information see the Powell Street Festival.
Squamish Days Festival
The Squamish Days Logger Sports Festival is a small-town community event featuring logging industry-related activities and other fun stuff including a chair carving contest and bed races through the town. Squamish Days runs from the Thursday of the August Long Weekend until the Holiday Monday.
Last year Squamish Days ran from August 1st until the 5th. In 2020 the festival was going to run from July 30th until August 3rd. Because of COVID-19, however, this year’s event has been cancelled.
In years when the festival does take place, on the Saturday there is usually a Kids Festival downtown at the O’Siyam Pavilion Park at 37978 Cleveland Avenue during the day and a Logger’s Stomp Dance at Chances Casino starting at 9 pm.
On the Sunday there is usually an early morning 8 km run, a pancake breakfast at Chieftain Centre Mall at 1301 Pemberton Avenue, a parade at 11 am, and the Open Loggers Sports Show and Rotary BBQ in the afternoon at Al McIntosh Loggers Sports Grounds.
And on the Monday, BC Day, there is usually the community picnic from 11 am to 4:30 pm at O’Siyam Pavilion Park which is a free event with outdoor concerts and food trucks.
TIP: The Squamish Farmers Market is an exceptional market on Saturdays at the corner of Victoria Street and Cleveland Avenue from 10 am until 3 pm in Squamish. It’s worth visiting any weekend in the summer but especially when there are other activities also going on in town.
For more information, click Squamish Days.
Brigade Days at Fort Langley
Brigade Days at Fort Langley is an annual event that runs all weekend – from the Saturday until the Monday. In 2020 the event was scheduled to run from August 1st to 3rd. Due to the coronavirus, however, it has been cancelled for this year.
In years when the event does take place, from 10 am to 5 pm each day at the National Historic Site there are usually historical re-enactments and interpreters in 19th-century-period costume. In addition to regular summer fort activities, highlights of the weekend also include demonstrations of fort-related activities and historic weapons.
On the BC Day statutory holiday Monday there’s the main event – the re-enactment of “The Arrival of the Fur Brigades” where characters in period costume paddle to the fort with their cargo.
For more information, click Brigade Days at Fort Langley.
Tsawwassen Sun Festival
The Tsawwassen Sun Festival is a three-day community event that features a slow-pitch tournament and a range of other sports and family-friendly activities.
The main day of the festival is definitely the Holiday Monday, That’s when the parade takes place as well as the pancake breakfast, classic car show, Kids Fun Zone, Antique Fair and Main Stage performances.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival won’t be happening in 2020. The same as many other major events, it has been cancelled for this year.
Click Tsawwassen Sun Festival for more information.
Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival
The Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival is a fairly large music festival that takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the BC Day Long Weekend at the Albion Fairgrounds in Maple Ridge.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and government orders that gatherings of 50 or more people not take place, the festival won’t be happening at the beginning of August this year.
In years when it doesn’t get cancelled, the festival features dozens of food trucks, market vendors and two stages with fabulous outdoor music.
Click Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival for more information.
Other BC Day Weekend Events
In addition to the above major events, there are many other great activities going on throughout the Lower Mainland on the BC Day August Long Weekend. Some are special events just for the holiday weekend, while others are some of Vancouver’s best events that take place every weekend in the summer.
The following events took place in 2019 (and will likely happen again in 2021):
- Music at the Cannery – live music in Steveston Village at 6:30 pm outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery at 12138 Fourth Avenue.
- North Vancouver Summer Concert Series – free outdoor concerts at Lynn Valley Village, Deep Cove’s Panorama Park and Edgemont Village from 7 to 9 pm.
- Musical Nooners – a free concert at noon outside the CBC Building in downtown Vancouver at 700 Hamilton Street.
- Shipyard Night Market – free live music and summer night market activities at North Vancouver’s Shipbuilders’ Square from 5 until 10 pm.
- Bard-B-Q & Fireworks – a special dinner and pyrotechnics night at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival starting at 5 pm. (Note: The full season of Bard on the Beach has been cancelled for 2020.)
- Shipyards Summer Sessions Concerts – free live music at Shipbuilders’ Square in North Vancouver in the evening.
- Saturday Farmers Markets – in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Fort Langley, Haney (Maple Ridge), Lonsdale Quay, Squamish, Trout Lake and the West End.
- Robson Square Salsa – free salsa lessons and dancing in downtown Vancouver from 3 to 7 pm.
- Summer Sundays – free live music at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody starting at 2 pm.
- Sunday Farmers Markets – at Ambleside, Coquitlam, Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant, Steveston Village, Whistler and White Rock.
- BC Day at Burnaby Village – special activities at Burnaby Village Museum from 11 am until 4:30 pm.
- Kitsilano Showboat Concerts Series – live entertainment at Kitsilano Beach from 7 until 9 pm.
Other All Long Weekend Events
The following events take place either every day or most days of the BC Day Long Weekend:
- Richmond Night Market – market activities and dinosaur displays all weekend in the evenings at 8351 River Road in Richmond.
- Theatre Under the Stars – outdoor musical theatre in Stanley Park. (Note: The full season of Theatre Under the Stars has been cancelled for 2020.)
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival – Shakespearean theatre at Vanier Park. (Cancelled for 2020.)
- Playland – amusement park rides and midway activities from 10 am to 6 pm on the Friday and until 7 pm every other day.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver for Children
- Lower Mainland Summer Activities
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Lower Mainland Restaurants