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The Big Picnic Cherry Blossom Event

Vancouver Morris Men and Cherry Blossoms

The Big Picnic is a free Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival event featuring live entertainment at Queen Elizabeth Park on a weekend in April most years.


2020 BIG PICNIC CANCELLED

Originally scheduled to take place on April 11th, 2020, the Big Picnic has been cancelled this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Hopefully the event will take place again in 2021.

For information about COVID-19, its impact on Vancouver and a list of other cancelled events, see our article about the Coronavirus in the Lower Mainland.


Vancouver’s Big Picnic

The Big Picnic is a free event where people are invited to bring their families, friends, picnics and something to sit on and to enjoy an afternoon of live entertainment and cherry blossom viewing.

Performers at the event last year included Laura Yu Wu who sang and played the Chinese harp. There was also the North Shore Celtic Ensemble who played their fiddles, a group of Chinese Fan dancers, the Chibi Taiko Japanese drumming group, and Kiyoshi Iio playing his handpan (metal percussion instrument).

The year before the Vancouver Morris Dancers were one of the performers, and there was yoga or some other kind of group exercise session too. We’re not sure if yoga will be taking place there again this year, but you never know.

Performing arts groups that were scheduled to perform in 2020 before the event was cancelled included the Khac Chi Ensemble (which is a pair of Vietnamese musicians) and the Coastal Wolf Pack (or “Tsatsu Stalqayu,” which is an Indigenous group of singers and dancers).

Also scheduled to perform in 2020 was Vancouver Okinawa Taiko (which is a Japanese-Canadian drumming group), the Jessica Yue Dance Studio, and Namsadang Taiko (which is a Korean drumming group from the Namsadang Cultural Institute in Burnaby).

Yoga Under Cherry Blossoms at the Park
Yoga at the Big Picnic

About the Venue

The Big Picnic usually takes place at Queen Elizabeth Park which is a beautiful place and the highest piece of land within the City of Vancouver (which doesn’t actually make it very high compared to some other parts of the Lower Mainland). At the top of the hill is the Bloedel Conservatory which features tropical plants and is worth checking out.

Queen Elizabeth Park is located at the corner of Cambie Street and West 33rd Avenue. The closest SkyTrain Station is King Edward which is about a 10-minute walk away.

Tips and Advice

Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the Big Picnic event.

TIP #1: The Riley Park Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays by Nat Bailey Stadium just down the hill and across the street from Queen Elizabeth Park. It’s worth checking out and a good place to pick up food for your picnic.

TIP #2: Parking will be a challenge on the day of the Big Picnic for a number of reasons. First, if the weather is good, there will be hundreds if not thousands of people. Second, much of the parking at Queen Elizabeth itself will be reserved for vendors and organizers of the event. What does this mean? Take public transit if you can!

TIP #3: Don’t forget to take your camera, something to sit on and your picnic (or money to buy one).

TIP #4: Explore the park while you’re there. It’s a beautiful spot!

TIP #5: Another event taking place on the same day in 2019 is the Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade which attracts a couple of hundred thousand people in years with good weather. It takes place along Marine Drive, Main Street and 49th Avenue (so less than a 10-minute drive from Queen Elizabeth Park in good traffic). Check it out if you can, but also avoid driving anywhere close to that part of town!

TIP #6: Yet another event taking place on the same day in 2019 is the Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Garden. This is also highly recommended if you like beautiful gardens and Japanese culture. VanDusen Gardens is just a 20-minute walk from Queen Elizabeth Park heading west.

TIP #7: Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival events sometimes get cancelled or postponed due to weather or the state of the cherry tree blooming season. Before heading out with all your stuff, especially if poor weather has been in the forecast, double check the VCBF website to make sure things are still happening as planned.

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Big Picnic
Cherry Blossom Festival at Queen Elizabeth Park

Other Information

For information about other similar and related events in April see our article about the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.

For further details about the Big Picnic, see the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website.

For more information about the venue click Queen Elizabeth Park.

For a list of other things to do in the Lower Mainland check out our April Calendar or click Festivals & Events.

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