More top venues include Vancouver’s Canada Place and Granville Island, West Vancouver’s John Lawson Park, and Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium and Burnaby Village Museum. There is also Surrey‘s Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, Coquitlam’s Lafarge Lake, Fort Langley, Squamish, Whistler Village and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus, most in-person July 1st events were cancelled last year. A number of events still happened, although in most cases just online. In 2021 a number of events are also happening, but in either online or drive-thru formats.
Canada Day events taking place virtually in 2021 include ones in North Vancouver, Port Moody, Surrey, Vancouver (at Canada Place), Steveston Village and White Rock. There are also online events in Fort Langley and New Westminster. Click Canada Day Virtual Events for details about these and other similar events.
Abbotsford, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge plan to host drive-thru-style events. Port Moody was going to have a drive-thru event too, but then cancelled it at the last minute. In Mission this year. they have both in-person and online activities. New Westminster, meanwhile, is running a number of live, in-person activities.
This article contains information about July 1st events in the following locations:
Abbotsford | Burnaby | Coquitlam | Fort Langley | Maple Ridge | Mission | New Westminster | North Vancouver | Port Moody | Squamish | Steveston Village| Surrey | West Vancouver | Whistler | White Rock
Canada Day Events in Greater Vancouver
Canada Day takes place on July 1st each year. On that date, throughout the Lower Mainland, there are celebrations of all kinds. There are pancake breakfasts, parades, live entertainment and fireworks. (Or at least that’s the case in years without pandemics.)
To learn about all Canada Day events and activities in Metro Vancouver, see below. For information about where to see fireworks, in years when they are allowed to take place, click July 1st Fireworks.
Canada Day at Canada Place
The area around Canada Place in downtown Vancouver is without a doubt one of the best (and busiest) places to be on July 1st. At least that’s the case most years, although not in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event at Canada Place is the second largest Canada Day celebration on the planet, next only to those in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. In a typical year there are live performances at Canada Place for much of the day, and thousands of people.
The event didn’t happen in 2020, but there were still some Canada Day activities and extra decorations at the FlyOver Canada attraction at Canada Place. In 2021, celebrations return in a virtual format via Global BC television at 11:00 am.
At the Canada Place celebrations, in addition to evening fireworks, there is usually free outdoor entertainment. Performers in the 2021 virtual event include 54-40, Delhi 2 Dublin and Spakwus Slolem. The broadcast also features mascots, cocktail and barbeque demonstrations, and more.
The theme for this year’s Canada Place event is #CanadaTogether. This was added recently in the wake of the discovery of hundreds of children at the site of a former Kamloops residential school. The event aims to provide an opportunity to reflect during the broadcast.
For details about what normally happens around Canada Place on July 1st, see our article about Canada Place on Canada Day.
Canada Day Vancouver Fireworks
In years when the fireworks do take place, best places to watch the pyrotechnics at night on Canada Day are along the water in Coal Harbour. This includes at Canada Place and around the Convention Centre. People also watch from many places along the Coal Harbour seawall between the Convention Centre and the Vancouver-facing side of Stanley Park.
Views of the fireworks are also really good from North Vancouver, including from Lonsdale Quay, the pier by Shipbuilder’s Square and Waterfront Park.
Click July 1st Fireworks for more details about the events in years when they happen (which isn’t the case in 2021).
Canada Day at Granville Island
The area around Canada Place isn’t the only neighbourhood within the City of Vancouver where you’ll find free things to see and do on July 1st. For a parade, Jazz concerts and fun family-friendly activities, then Granville Island is the place to be most years.
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival takes place during the week or so leading up to the July long weekend. In normal years free Jazz concerts take place at Granville Island on various days during the festival, but especially so on July 1st itself. There are also street performers, craft activities and a parade.
While exact details are still to be confirmed as of late June, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot will be happening on Granville Island for Canada Day in 2021. There are still a few Jazz Festival performances though, so check out our article about Free Jazz Festival Concerts to see when they are.
Canada Day in Abbotsford
Abbotsford celebrates July 1st with a parade, outdoor concerts, festival activities and fireworks at Abbotsford Exhibition Park most years. The parade usually starts at 11:00 am. The festival runs from 1:00 until 10:00 pm and the fireworks blast off at 10 o’clock.
In 2020 Abbotsford’s Canada Day celebrations were held virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak. In 2021, celebrations take place in a drive-thru format. The “Drive Across Canada” event features something to see from each province. The event happens from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on July 1st at the TRADEX Centre. To participate you have to register in advance.
The 2021 Abbotsford Canada Day celebration also coincides with the city’s Food Truck Festival that runs from July 1st to 4th. Open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm at Exhibition Park each day, there’s no better way to celebrate than with some great food!
Click Canada Day in Abbotsford for details.
Canada Day in Burnaby
Canada Day festivities in Burnaby usually take place at Burnaby Village Museum, Edmonds Community Centre and Swangard Stadium. None of the three events, however, happened in 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Not much is happening in 2021 either.
The Burnaby Village event usually runs from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. It’s both educational and fun, especially for families and children. In 2021 the museum’s website doesn’t list any special Canada Day events or activities. The venue is, however, open to the public on the statutory holiday.
Smaller and fairly simple kid-friendly celebrations also usually take place at Edmonds Community Centre at 7433 Edmonds Street between 11:00 am and 2:30 pm.
In years when the event doesn’t get cancelled, at Swangard Stadium free concerts begin shortly after 6 o’clock and the fireworks start at dusk.
According the City of Burnaby’s website, no major special events are happening at Edmonds Community Centre, Swangard Stadium or elsewhere in the city this year.
See Canada Day in Burnaby for more details on activities at each venue.
Canada Day in Coquitlam
Coquitlam’s Canada Day festivities usually take place at Lafarge Lake not far from the Lafarge Lake – Douglas SkyTrain Station. They typically run from 12:00 until about 10:30 pm. In normal years, the free family-friendly celebrations in Coquitlam include food trucks, community information booths, outdoor concerts and evening fireworks.
Last year’s celebrations happened virtually due to COVID-19.
In 2021, a drive-thru parade was going to take place from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It was going to be sort of like a reverse parade where participants drive down the route and pass by various sights and entertainers lining the street. Different pre-recorded performances, demonstrations and educational videos were also available online beginning at 9:00 am.
As of the end of June, 2021, it appears that the drive-thru parade isn’t happening after all. There are still online activities taking place, but no live activities or parade. Exact details, however, are to be confirmed.
Click Coquitlam on Canada Day for more information about the 2021 event.
Canada Day in Fort Langley
In years not affected by a global pandemic, Fort Langley celebrates Canada Day at the historic fort with family-friendly activities. The nearby BC Farm Machinery & Agricultural Museum and Langley Centennial Museum also normally welcome visitors on July 1st. In typical years, the two museums host the town’s main Canada Day festivities in the street outside.
Last year Fort Langley live-streamed its Canada Day festivities. In 2021 celebrations take place online again. The main concert begins at 11:00 am with musicians from a variety of genres. Also, on June 28th, a scavenger hunt around the city became available.
Click Canada Day at Fort Langley for more details.
Canada Day in Maple Ridge
July 1st celebrations at the Memorial Peace Park usually run from 12:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 in the evening.
Things to enjoy at the free event usually include the farmers market, pony rides and community barbecue. There is also live music, a Canada Day Flyover and family-friendly games.
In 2020 the celebrations took place online. In 2021, a drive-thru “Cross Country Road Trip” happens at the Albion Fairgrounds and Sports Complex. Folks can enjoy live entertainment by performers such as Stone Poets, Lola Parks and Taylor-Rae.
In conjunction with the Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival, food from different parts of Canada is also available. While the drive-thru experience ends at the Food Truck Festival, you can still access the latter freely without doing the full drive.
For details about the 2021 Canada Day celebrations click Maple Ridge on Canada Day.
Canada Day in Mission
Canada Day festivities usually take place in Mission from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm at Fraser River Heritage Park on July 1st. Activities there typically include a pancake breakfast, yoga, live music, dog agility demonstrations and all kinds of other fun things.
In years when the live events are all able to run, at 8:30 pm admission to Mission Raceway Park is free. That’s where the fireworks take place starting at 10:00 pm (but not in 2021).
Mission’s 2020 Canada Day celebrations were moved online. Due to COVID-19, no in-person celebrations took place.
In 2021 there is a bit of a mix of online and in-person events with a family swim being the biggest in-person one. Most activities continue to be virtual though.
Click Canada Day in Mission for more information about what usually happens on July 1st.
Canada Day in New Westminster
New Westminster usually has a few different events taking place on July 1st. All 2020 Canada Day events in the city were cancelled though. This was due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the province’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people. That being said, the community still celebrated with a number of online activities.
Canada Day 2021 is smaller-scale in New Westminster compared to normal years. There are, however, some in-person activities on offer. This includes family yoga in Moody Park and Ryall Park, the New West Farmers Market, food trucks and a performance by children’s music entertainer Will Stroet.
In years when live celebrations aren’t cancelled, the New Westminster Philippine Festival Society hosts the New Westminster Multicultural Festival. Free family-friendly activities usually happen at Pier Park between 2:00 and 10:00 pm.
Separate from the New Westminster Multicultural Festival, the official New Westminster Canada Day celebrations normally happen at Queens Park. Crafts, live music and family-friendly activities typically run from 11:30 until 2:30 pm. This more regular programming doesn’t seem to be happening in 2021. Hopefully it will again in 2022.
Another annual event takes place on Canada Day most years at Westminster Quay – the Hyack Festival’s market and evening fireworks. Entertainment usually starts at 2:00 pm and the pyrotechnics blast off at 10 o’clock (although not in 2021).
Click Canada Day in New Westminster for further details about this city’s July 1st events.
Canada Day in North Vancouver
In North Vancouver on July 1st there is usually a parade in the morning and a festival in the afternoon. The festival boasts bouncy castles, food trucks and free entertainment. It’s a great family-friendly community event.
The 2020 Canada Day Celebrations in North Vancouver still happened, but not in their usual formats or normal scale due to the coronavirus. Last year North Vancouver hosted one of the most elaborate and sophisticated virtual Canada Day events in British Columbia. It was shorter than some, at just 90 minutes, but it featured top local musicians and the showcasing of some amazing scenery.
Last year, in addition to the online event in the afternoon, a drive-thru pancake breakfast and parade also happened in North Vancouver. The Lions Club hosts a free breakfast every year, and they did it last year too (although in a format that allowed for physical distancing). People who signed up to get their take-out pancakes were encouraged to decorate their cars and wear red and white.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, another virtual Canada Day event takes place on July 1st in 2021. The online production begins at 1:00 pm. The event features performances by some of the North Shore’s top musical talent. For more information click North Vancouver Virtual Canada Day Celebrations.
North Van Canada Day Parade
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, Canada Day celebrations on the North Shore usually begin with a parade starting at about 10:00 am. The parade route goes along 13th Street from Grand Boulevard before heading down 17th Street via Lonsdale Avenue to Mahon Park. The best place to view the procession is by 14th and Lonsdale, although this is also the most crowded.
Last year, because of COVID-19, the annual parade was cancelled. It’s not happening in 2021 either. As mentioned above, however, there was still a pancake breakfast last year, and people who attended that were encouraged to decorate their cars. So a “kind-of-parade” still happened, just not the usual big one. Hopefully the regular parade can return in 2022.
Canada Day at Waterfront Park
North Vancouver’s main Canada Day celebrations are usually an afternoon event. Family-friendly activities and entertainment happen on July 1st at Waterfront Park. The venue is just a short walk from the SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.
At the North Vancouver Canada Day celebrations, in years when they aren’t cancelled, there are kids’ activities, food vendors, dancers, live music, bagpipes and other performances by local Vancouver and North Shore talent.
If you plan to be on the North Shore in the afternoon on July 1st and want to celebrate Canada’s birthday, then Waterfront Park is the place to be!
Click North Vancouver Canada Day Celebrations for more information.
North Vancouver Canada Day Video
To give you an idea of what to expect at the Canada Day event at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park in a typical year, check out the following video. It was filmed in 2019. Groups performing at the event (and appearing in the video) include the J.P. Fell Pipe Band and the Day Trippers (who are a Beatles tribute band).
Canada Day in Port Moody
Before getting cancelled due to COVID-19, Canada Day celebrations at Rocky Point Park were going to be from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm on July 1st in 2020. Family-friendly activities would have included an import car show, boat rides and live entertainment all day.
Port Moody’s Canada Day festivities are actually part of that community’s larger Golden Spike Days festival that takes place over four days during the July long weekend each year.
Golden Spike Days returns in 2021, although in a different format than usual. A drive-thru event was going to take place on July 1st from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at the Port Moody Recreation Centre. Meanwhile, a free virtual event happens from July 1st until July 4th. There is also a 50/50 draw that you can partake in.
Just days before the July 1st drive-thru event was going to happen, it got CANCELLED. This was done in response to the discoveries of unmarked graves at a couple of former residential schools. Also, the dates for the virtual event were moved to July 2nd to 4th (so no longer on Canada Day itself).
See our article about Port Moody’s Golden Spike Days for more information.
Canada Day in Squamish
Squamish usually celebrates Canada Day with a parade, community festival and live music. In some years (but not all) there have also been fireworks.
Due to a combination of budget cutbacks and health concerns about the coronavirus, July 1st celebrations in Squamish didn’t happen last year. As of late June we haven’t heard official word about the status of the event for 2021, so it seems likely it was cancelled again.
In years when it does happen, the parade takes place in the morning along the town’s main street. Then, after the opening ceremonies, there is a festival at Junction Park with live music and family-friendly activities. In 2019, and a number of other years in the past, in the evening, there has been more live music, a beer garden and fireworks at Brennan Park.
Click Canada Day in Squamish for more details about this community’s typical July 1st activities.
Steveston Village Salmon Festival
One of the best times to visit historic Steveston Village in Richmond is on Canada Day when the community attracts up to 70,000 people to its Salmon Festival. The event features a pancake breakfast, parade, Japanese cultural fair, craft fair, music concerts and a world famous salmon BBQ.
In 2021, the celebrations take place in a different format from usual. Most festivities are available online this year, including a digital parade, virtual performances and more. Folks can also cook a salmon barbeque while watching a how-to video recording at home.
Check out the Steveston Salmon Festival for more information.
Canada Day in Surrey
Last year Surrey celebrated July 1st with a major online event. Family-friendly entertainment ran in the morning. In the evening Hayley Wickenheiser hosted the main event.
In 2021, Canada Day celebrations in Surrey happen in a virtual format once again. There are two shows set to be broadcast on both YouTube and Facebook. The first is from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm and the second from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A variety of artists are performing, headlined by Walk Off the Earth, Jim Cuddy and Buffy Sainte-Marie
Some of the largest Canada Day festivities in the Lower Mainland usually take place at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre in Surrey (or at least they do in years without COVID). As with most other top Canada Day festival venues, admission is free.
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, and unlike most other Canada Day events, at the Surrey event there are usually amusement rides. As the event is online in 2021, obviously, there are no rides this year.
In addition to all the midway rides, games and food vendors, the Surrey Canada Day event also usually features live music concerts throughout the day, ending with the star attraction at the end. The day finishes with fireworks at about 10:15 pm (though not in 2021).
For more information about this city’s July 1st celebrations, check out Surrey Canada Day Festivities.
West Van Red & White Picnic
This event was cancelled last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no picnic once again in 2021, and not any online events either.
Instead, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in 2021, a few bands will play from rooftops around the West Van area. This is not so much for direct spectators. The organizers actually ask that people don’t crowd in front of the buildings in question. You should, however, be able to hear the music if you’re in the area.
At 7:00 pm in 2021 there will also be a moment of silence. This is in response to the discovery of over 200 children at a Kamloops residential school site (plus other schools since then). The event organizers encourage people to wear orange on Canada Day as a mark of reflection.
In years when events aren’t cancelled due to pandemics, West Vancouver hosts its Canada Day celebrations at John Lawson Park. The event runs from mid-afternoon until the end of the fireworks at night. At this community event participants bring their lawn chairs and picnic dinners and enjoy a variety of live entertainment performances.
While fireworks take off from a barge in the water off Canada Place in downtown Vancouver on July 1st most years, a similar barge on the water just off West Vancouver’s John Lawson Park is the site for a second series of pyrotechnics. Places to watch the North Shore event include the beaches at Ambleside, John Lawson Park and Dundarave.
For more information about what normally happens on July 1st in this community see our article about West Vancouver on Canada Day.
Canada Day in Whistler
Less than a two-hour drive from Vancouver, more fabulous Canada Day celebrations usually take place up at Whistler.
On July 1st most years there’s a pancake breakfast, parade and a free outdoor concert. Also in the afternoon there are art displays and live music performances throughout the village in the later part of the afternoon. Fireworks blast off from the top of the mountain at the end of the day.
The in-person Canada Day celebrations in Whistler were cancelled last year due to COVID-19. Whistler announced that the city would run virtual celebrations on July 1st instead. 2021 is a partial return to normalcy. While there isn’t anywhere close to all the standard events, there are a number of in-person activities on offer.
The Whistler Olympic Plaza is the main site to visit on Canada Day this year. In that area there are yoga and drum circles followed by live painting demonstrations and a number of character actors.
Various parks around the area host food trucks this year, and some attractions like the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre and Whistler Museum are free on Canada Day. All transit in Whistler is free on July 1st as well.
For more information about July 1st events in this community, see our article about Whistler on the Canada Day Weekend.
Canada Day in White Rock
Canada Day by the Bay usually happens on White Rock’s West Beach between 10:00 am and 10:30 pm. Activities there include a sandcastle-building competition, free concerts, family-friendly activities and fireworks.
White Rock’s Canada Day by the Bay celebrations happen virtually in 2021. Folks can enjoy the event from home on YouTube and Facebook with the first show starting at 1:00 pm and the second starting at 7:00 pm. Featured performers are The Heels, Hilarapy and Fionn. Online trivia and other activities also take place in virtual formats.
Click White Rock on July 1st for more information.
For a list of events that happen online, click Canada Day Virtual Events.
To learn about other major events in the Lower Mainland at different times of the year, check out the Festivals and Events Calendar.
For details about the province’s next statutory holiday, click BC Day Long Weekend.