See below for a list of what’s happened and what didn’t on the BC Day Long Weekend in 2020.
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 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 …
Events with in-person and online activities …
Events happening soon (but not quite yet) …
Cancelled events (which would normally be happening, but aren’t) …
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 happened on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of July 31st to August 2nd at its usual Exhibition Park venue in Abbotsford. And yes, it’s still happened, 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 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.
For further details see our article about the Abbotsford Agrifair.
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! Yes, you could still enjoy the rides this summer! Isn’t that great news!
Playland was open with over 20 rides on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the August Long Weekend. 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. Prices also included a complimentary souvenir face mask. Admission capacity was limited, however, so you had to book your passes sooner than later to avoid disappointment.
The PNE also hosted a special Drive-Thru event on the BC Day Long Weekend. For details, see below.
A Taste of the PNE: Best of BC Celebration
In addition to Playland and its rides, the Pacific National Exhibition hosted a “Taste of the PNE” event on the Saturday and Sunday of August 1st and 2nd.
Tickets cost $49.50 and specific time slots needed to be reserved and paid for in advance. Admission included access to the site, entertainment, a tour of the PNE’s 2020 Prize Home, festival food and a drink. Bonus perks included a pair of tickets to the 2021 PNE Fair and a coupon for $10 off Playland passes.
For people just wanting access to the festival food, there was also a Drive-Thru Food Truck area. Admission to that was free – you just pay for your food. Advanced registration and food orders were required.
Click A Taste of the PNE: Best of BC Celebration for tickets and more information.
Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival
Vancouver and its LGBTQIA2+ community were 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 for the most part, thanks to COVID-19.
In 2020, although the festival didn’t happen in its usual format because of the pandemic, virtual online activities still took place. See our article about the Vancouver Pride Festival for details. Also, related to the Pride Festival, Really Gay History Tours with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours happened on July 30th and 31st as well as on August 1st and 2nd.
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 is happening online.
- Sunset Beach Festival – the Pride Festival celebrations continue on the Sunday at Sunset Beach from 11 am to 6 pm in years when there isn’t a pandemic.
Click Vancouver Pride Parade & Festival for more details.
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).
See our article about the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival for more details. You couldn’t see the flowers on the August Long Weekend this past year, but at least you could see them later in the summer!
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. Hopefully it will be back better than ever in 2021!
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).
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 was cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus. Hopefully it will happen again in 2021.
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.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for the event in 2021:
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 was cancelled. In its place, however, there was 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: 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.
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 (although not in 2020).
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 past year’s event was 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 was cancelled for this past 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 didn’t happen in 2020. The same as many other major events, it was cancelled.
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 didn’t happen at the beginning of August this past 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. (Note: Most of these are happening in 2020.)
- 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. (Note: Most of these are happening in 2020.)
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.
- BC Day at Burnaby Village – special activities at Burnaby Village Museum.
- Kitsilano Showboat Concerts Series – live entertainment at Kitsilano Beach from 7 until 9 pm (most years, although not in 2020).
- Flyover Canada – the attraction at Canada Place where you can fly across the country in a multi-dimensional film.
- Playland – Vancouver’s amusement park at the PNE is open, 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 will be open.
- Vancouver Water Parks – all three of the Lower Mainland’s water slide attractions are open.
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. (Not in 2020.)
- Theatre Under the Stars – outdoor musical theatre in Stanley Park. (Note: The full season of Theatre Under the Stars was cancelled for 2020.)
- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival – Shakespearean theatre at Vanier Park. (Cancelled for 2020.)
- Playland – amusement park rides and midway activities.
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