Metro Vancouver’s largest Canada Day event usually happens downtown at and around Canada Place. The party includes fireworks, concerts, and loads of fun!
IMPORTANT NOTE: On April 21st Canada Place announced that the annual July 1st event at its venue would not be taking place as usual due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. That means that in 2020 there were no free concerts or evening fireworks as is the case most years.
Although the main celebrations in the City of Vancouver were cancelled, that doesn’t mean they were cancelled everywhere. In fact, over half a dozen Lower Mainland communities still held virtual events online. Some were small and fairly simple, but others were impressive.
For details about Canada Day events that still happened this past year, despite COVID-19, see our article about The Lower Mainland on Canada Day 2020.
See below for information about the following topics:
Click on any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about Vancouver’s July 1st celebrations at Canada Place.
Canada Day at Vancouver’s Canada Place
In years when it isn’t cancelled, on Canada Day there are family-friendly activities by the waterfront all day, including at Canada Place and around the Convention Centre and Jack Poole Plaza.
On July 1st there is also lots of live entertainment and some of the country’s most impressive fireworks displays. In previous years there was also a parade, but this no longer happens.
The Canada Day celebrations at Canada Place are reputedly the largest July 1st celebrations in the country after Ottawa. Expect there to be tens if not hundreds of thousands of people at the festivities. Also expect great music and a festive atmosphere.
For information on Canada Day events at Canada Place and downtown Vancouver, see below. Or, for information on July 1st events throughout the region, click Lower Mainland Canada Day Celebrations. To learn about festivities elsewhere within the City of Vancouver, see our article about Granville Island on Canada Day.
Activities at Canada Place
In years when Canada Place does host activities to celebrate the country’s birthday, family-friendly activities take place from around 11 am until close to 11 pm on July 1st at Canada Place.
Fireworks blast off at the end of the day.
On the Canada Day Weekend there are all kinds of things to see and do in and around Canada Place including on the Main Stage, Celebration Stage and other locations.
FIREWORKS VIEWING FROM NORTH VANCOUVER
Did you know that the views of the Canada Place fireworks on July 1st are spectacular from North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay and the Shipyards? That’s because the fireworks aren’t too far away, plus you get the Vancouver skyline in the background.
To learn more about celebrating July 1st on the other side of Burrard Inlet, click North Vancouver on Canada Day.
Most years, live entertainment takes place on two stages during the Canada Place July 1st event.
The Main Stage is located in the plaza on Canada Place Way, so right out in front of Canada Place. The Youth Zone Stage, meanwhile, is at the north end of the promenade, so on the far other side of the giant building with the white sails.
For an idea of what to expect in 2021 (because 2020 has been cancelled), below is a list of who performed in 2019.
On the Main Stage
- 12:00 pm – Coast Salish Welcome
- 12:05 pm – James Jones Indigenous Hoop Dancing
- 12:30 pm – Charm Dance Company
- 1:05 pm – Strictly Scottish
- 1:55 pm – Royal Academy of Bhangra
- 2:40 pm – Bitterly Divine
- 3:50 pm – Marieme
- 5:30 pm – Delhi 2 Dublin
On the Youth Zone Stage
- 12:30 pm – The Unified
- 1:40 pm – Old Soul Rebel
- 2:50 pm – Blonde Diamond
- 4:15 pm – DiRTY RADiO
In a typical year on July 1st, there are many other things to see and do for people of all ages between Canada Place and Jack Poole Plaza on the other side of the Convention Centre. There are street performers, for example, as well as lots of food trucks.
The Canada Day Parade
Again, there was NO Canada Day Parade in downtown Vancouver for 2019, nor for 2020! 2021 will likely be the same.
Up until 2017, the final year of the annual parade, the 60+-entry event used to begin at the corner of Georgia Street and Broughton, head east down Georgia, turn north along Burrard and finish at West Pender Street.
The Port of Metro Vancouver used to host the Canada Day Parade, but sadly not any more.
The Canada Day Fireworks
Every year (except in 2020) fireworks are launched starting at about 10:30 pm off a barge in Burrard Inlet a ways off Canada Place. The show typically lasts for about 20 minutes.
Best places to watch are from the west and north ends of the promenade deck at Canada Place, as well as from anywhere along the seawall between Canada Place and the north side of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Of course, being best places, these areas will also be insanely crowded.
Other popular locations are along the waterfront in Coal Harbour, from the seawall in Stanley Park, or from Crab Park or even New Brighton Park along the water to the east of Canada Place. The Waterfront in North Vancouver is also an exceptional (and less crowded) place to watch from.
TIP: If you suffer from claustrophobia or you just don’t like crowds, don’t go anywhere near Canada Place or the Coal Harbour waterfront on Canada Day, especially in the evening.
If you want to watch from a safe distance, but still a good location, consider spending the evening on the North Shore somewhere around Lonsdale Quay or the pier at Shipbuilder’s Square. There will still be lots of people there, but nowhere near the numbers around Canada Place.
OTHER FIREWORKS VENUES
Many other communities around the Lower Mainland also have evening fireworks most years including in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, New Westminster, West Vancouver and White Rock.
Click Lower Mainland Fireworks for information about other Canada Day fireworks venues. (Note though that in 2020 most fireworks events will only be taking place online.)
For more information on activities downtown and around Canada Place on July 1st, see the official Canada Day at Canada Place website.
To learn about Vancouver’s other main July 1st festivities, see our article about Canada Day at Granville Island.
For more details on Canada Day events in other places, click Lower Mainland Canada Day Celebrations.
And for other festivals and major events in Metro Vancouver at different times of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar.