The Roundhouse is a community arts and recreation centre in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. It’s close to the False Creek Seawall and David Lam Park.
In addition to being a place for art classes, indoor recreational sports and educational workshops, the venue is also home to numerous events throughout the year.
Lots of events take place at the community centre. A great one, for example, is Project EveryBODY, PEBCelebratesLive which is a free event showcasing art and performances by members of the local disability community on December 2nd in 2022.
The Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre
The Roundhouse is one of the most prominent rec centres in the City of Vancouver. That’s partly because it’s located in a fairly central and popular neighbourhood in a densely populated part of the city. The building is also a historical landmark. At least for people who don’t live nearby, the Roundhouse is perhaps most well-known though for its events. Some fair-sized festivals take place there, more than at any other community centre in the city it seems.
Inside the building there is a large hall which is a very good place to host events. There are plenty of other facilities in the Roundhouse as well with a gym, a theatre, an after-school child care centre, and art studios for dance, woodworking and more. Outside there is a large plaza where events also take place. The community centre organizes a number of athletic, artistic and other recreational programs for those of all ages.
A “roundhouse” is typically a building used to store and repair locomotives. That is what the Roundhouse Community Centre’s original purpose was as the building housed CPR trains beginning well over a century ago. The site was renovated in the 1980s to become a display pavilion for Expo 86 and the community centre came into being in the 1990s.
There is still a legacy of trains at the Roundhouse today as the building is home to Engine 374 which was the first passenger train to arrive in Vancouver back in 1887. It’s not a massive display but it’s free to visit and one of the oldest historic objects in the city.
Events at the Roundhouse Community Centre
Examples of events at the Roundhouse most years include the following (most of which are free to attend):
- Talking Stick Festival – a series of Indigenous events take place at various venues in Vancouver including at the Roundhouse.
- West of Main Art Walk – a preview exhibition takes place at the Roundhouse a week or two before dozens of Vancouver art studios host open houses in the late spring.
- Engine 374 Celebration – an event in May when people celebrate the anniversary of the first train arriving in Vancouver in the late 1880s.
- Bastille Day – a festival celebrating the French national holiday on or around July 14th.
- Vancouver Comic Arts Festival – an event that showcases comics, comic art and anime in late spring most years.
- Electrafest – an electric vehicle trade show that that used to features electric cars and bicycles in the summer. (Note: This event hasn’t happened for a few years, since covid-19, and may or may not take place again in the future as of 2022.)
- Project EveryBODY, PEBCelebratesLive – a free event featuring art, film, comedy and other activities by members of the disability community in Vancouver in winter.
- Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – the Roundhouse is one of two or three venues in the City of Vancouver where this festival happens on or around December 21st each year.
To learn more about the venue see the Roundhouse Community Centre‘s website.
To learn more about the area, check out the following articles:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Trout Lake and the Trout Lake Community Centre
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Vancouver’s Calendar of Events
- Festivals and Events in Vancouver
- Vancouver Theatre Companies and Theatre Venues