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BC Day August Long Weekend in Vancouver

BC Flag in Coal Harbour

A lot usually happens on the BC Day Long Weekend in Vancouver including the Abbotsford Agrifair and Playland, plus farmers markets and other events.

See below for a list of what’s happening and what isn’t on the BC Day Long Weekend in 2021. Or, for more, check out our article about What’s Happening in Vancouver This Weekend.

 


WHAT’S HAPPENING IN 2021?

Some annual BC Day events are taking place, but some aren’t due to COVID-19. And some events are happening live and in-person, while others are running in primarily virtual formats.

Events and activities that are happening this year include Imagine Van Gogh, Playland, the Da Vinci Experience and the Abbotsford Agrifair. There is also the Vancouver Pride Festival, with various events around town, including some with Stanley Park Brewing.

Hawaii from Above is also showing at FlyOver Canada this weekend, and there are walking tours with Forbidden Vancouver and adventure games with Vancouver Mysteries.

See below for more details about what you can (and cannot) do this August holiday weekend, or see our August Events Calendar for a list of other activities at other times of the month.


 

BC Day Long Weekend

BC Day takes place on the first Monday of August each year, so in 2020 the August Long Weekend ran from the evening of Friday, July 31st, until end of day on Monday, August 3rd.

 

Information in this article includes the following topics:


Happening events …

Abbotsford Agrifair | Playland | Chilliwack Sunflower FestivalHarmony Arts Festival


Events with in-person and online activities …

Pride Parade & Festival | Powell Street Festival | Tsawwassen Sun Festival


“To be determined” events (which may or may not be happening) …

Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival | Other BC Day Events


Cancelled events (which would normally be happening, but aren’t this year, at least not to our knowledge) …

Celebration of Light | White Rock Sea Festival | Squamish Days | Fort Langley Brigade Days


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.

 

StayVancouverHotels.com

 

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.

 

Playland at the PNE

Playland is Vancouver’s amusement park with rides and games. It takes place from May until September most years (although in 2020 from just mid-July until September).

The attraction isn’t a special event specifically for BC Day as it takes place all summer. Playland was special in 2020, however, as it was one of the few live in-person events actually happening on the August Long Weekend!

Playland is open with over 20 rides on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the August Long Weekend in 2021. Tickets cost $29.50 for access to the little kid and family-friendly rides, or $39.50 for all rides including the most extreme ones. Admission capacity is limited, however, so you have to book your passes sooner than later to avoid disappointment.

For information about the attraction see our article about Vancouver’s Playland.

 

Playland in 2021

 

Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival

Vancouver and its LGBTQIA2+ community celebrates the 43rd Pride Festival on the BC Day August Long Weekend in 2021. The festival was cancelled last year, due to the pandemic, but not this year! In 2021 the festival includes both virtual (online) and in-person events.

Some of the live events this year take place at Stanley Park Brewing. The Pride Lounge, for example, is an outdoor beer garden which runs daily from July 23rd until July 31st. Also at the Stanley Park venue, in celebration of the brewpub’s second anniversary, Brews & Tunes features live music in the outdoor beer garden on July 30th and 31st. The brewery also hosts a special Farmer’s Market on Sunday, August 1st, between 10 am and 3 pm.

Also related to the Pride Festival, Really Gay History Tours with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours happen on the long weekend. The tours happen every week in the summer, but extra tours are added when the festival is happening.

Click Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival for more details.

 

Really Gay History Tour

 

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. The festival happened in 2020 too – which was great news – but it didn’t start until mid-August (so not until after the holiday weekend).

In 2021, because of the hot summer we’ve been having, the flower festival started up for the season in late July (so in time for the holiday weekend).

See our article about the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival for more details.

 

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival
Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

 

Abbotsford Agrifair

The Abbotsford Agrifair is a community fair that normally includes agricultural displays and amusement rides. In 2020 it happened as a drive-thru event on the long weekend at its usual Exhibition Park venue in Abbotsford. In 2021 it happens as a live in-person event with rides, concerts and other family-friendly activities!

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.

Last year the Abbotsford Agrifair operated as a “Drive-Thru Safari.” For just $15 per carload (including all taxes and fees), guests could 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 could also drive up to food vendors and buy mini donuts and other popular fair food.

In 2021 the Agrifair is happening in close to its regular format (but with a reduced capacity). There are amusement rides, live concerts, food vendors and all kinds of fun activities. And this year, unlike in the past, admission to the fairgrounds is free!

For further details see our article about the Abbotsford Agrifair.

 

Abbotsford Agrifair Drive Thru Safari

 

Harmony Arts Festival

The Harmony Arts Festival is a multi-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.

In 2020 the event was cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus. In 2021 the festival runs from July 30th until August 8th, but in a modified format. There are still concerts and art displays in 2021, but no outdoor movies.

See our article about the Harmony Arts Festival for more information.

 

Harmony Arts Festival Garden Stage
Harmony Arts Festival

 

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 was cancelled. In its place, however, there was an online telethon featuring performances and cultural activities. In 2021 the festival happens in both in-person and online formats on the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend (so on July 31st and August 1st).

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 large-scale in-person format again in 2022.

TIP: In years when the live event does take place, 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.

 

Japanese Festival Audience
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 usually runs from the Thursday of the August Long Weekend until the Holiday Monday.

In 2019 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, last year’s event was cancelled. The festival also isn’t happening in 2021, although the bed races are still taking place.

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.

 

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

 

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 was cancelled. It has also been cancelled again in 2021.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for the event when it happens in 2022:

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.

 

Sea Festival Night Parade
White Rock Sea Festival Night Parade

 

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 usually 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 didn’t happen in 2020. The same as many other major events, it was cancelled.

In 2021 the festival is happening, but mostly in an online format. There is, however, a drive-in movie on Sunday, August 1st. There is also a drive-by car cruise on August 2nd.

Click Tsawwassen Sun Festival for more information.

 

Tsawwassen Sun Festival
The Tsawwassen Sun Festival

 

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, didn’t happen because of concerns about the coronavirus. It’s not happening in 2021 either for the same reason. Hopefully it will be back better than ever in 2022!

See Celebration of Light for further information about the event in general, or click Fireworks Viewing Venues for a list of best places to watch the pyrotechnics from (at least in years when they do take place).

 

Celebration of Lights Fireworks

 

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 was cancelled that year. In 2021 the fort itself is open, but no programming or events are taking place (likely until at least September). As a result, Brigade Days has been cancelled once again.

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.

 

Fur Trading Canoes in Fort Langley
Historical Re-Enactment at Brigade Days

 

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 didn’t happen at the beginning of August last year. As of mid-July, 2021, whether it’s happening or not this year is unclear. We’re guessing that it isn’t happening, although exact details are to be confirmed.

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.

 

Marley Stage at the Caribbean Festival
Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival

 

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 are in some cases in 2021, but in other cases not):

 

Friday Events

  • Flyover Canada – the attraction at Canada Place where you can fly across the country in a multi-dimensional film. (It is open on the August Long Weekend 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. (Not happening in 2021.)
  • 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. (Not happening in 2021.)
  • Musical Nooners – a free concert at noon outside the CBC Building in downtown Vancouver at 700 Hamilton Street. (Not happening in 2021.)
  • Shipyard Night Market – free live music and summer night market activities at North Vancouver’s Shipbuilders’ Square from 5 until 10 pm. (Cancelled for 2021.)

In addition to the above, two world-class art exhibitions are in the Lower Mainland in 2021. The Da Vinci Experience showcases the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci in Tsawwassen. Imagine Van Gogh, meanwhile, showcases the art of Vincent Van Gogh using modern technology in downtown Vancouver.

 

Shipyard Night Market
Shipyard Night Market

 

Saturday Events

 

Sunday Events

 

Monday Events

A few events take place on the BC Day Long Weekend, but most of them are on the Saturday and Sunday. Not so much happens on the holiday Monday. Below though are our top picks of things to do on the Monday in a typical year.

  • Kitsilano Showboat Concerts Series – live entertainment at Kitsilano Beach from 7 until 9 pm. (Happening as a series of virtual events in June and July of 2021.)
  • Flyover Canada – the attraction at Canada Place where you can fly across the country in a multi-dimensional film. (It is open on the August Long Weekend in 2021.)
  • Playland – Vancouver’s amusement park at the PNE is open in 2021, but with limited capacity.
  • Lower Mainland Parks – these will be popular places to be, so head out early before they fill up (and several of them will).
  • Vancouver Beaches – these too will be popular, so if you hope to find parking get there early in the morning!
  • Outdoor Swimming Pools – most (but not all) of the Lower Mainland’s outdoor pools are open.
  • Vancouver Water Parks – all three of the Lower Mainland’s water slide attractions are open.

 

Free Events and Activities in August

 

Other All Long Weekend Events

The following events take place either every day or most days of the BC Day Long Weekend:

 

Other Information

For a list of other great things to do later in the summer, check out Vancouver’s August Events Calendar. Or, for a list of major events throughout the year, see the Festivals & Events Calendar.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

 

 

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