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BC Culture Days in Vancouver

BC Culture Days in Vancouver

A celebration of Canadian culture and arts, BC Culture Days happens in September at various locations in Metro Vancouver and around the province.

Despite COVID-19, BC Culture Days still ran in 2020! In fact, unlike previous years, it ran for a full month, with both in-person and online activities. The 2021 edition was similar and took place from September 24th to October 24th.

(* For photo credits of the above images, see bottom of this article.)


British Columbia Culture Days

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many festivals and events in the Lower Mainland and around the world being either postponed or cancelled altogether. Fortunately, BC Culture Days was still able to run from September 25th until October 25th.

This was significantly longer than usual, as regular Culture Days events are typically only one weekend long. The change in format continued in 2021 as the event was again one month long.

Culture Days is a national festival that celebrates Canadian arts and culture. 2020’s theme was “Unexpected Intersections”, which focused on unusual pairings and mashups. The 2021 theme was “RE:IMAGINE”, which looked into the future at what a post-COVID world might look like.

In 2022 BC Culture Days runs from September 23rd to October 16th. Additional details are to be confirmed.


BC Culture Days in the Lower Mainland

There were a grand total of ten culture ambassadors in 2021, twice as many as the year before. Ambassadors included two Vancouver-based artists: August Bramhoff (a photographer and visual artist) and Carter Kirilenko (a documentary film-maker).

The ambassadors come from all over the province and represent a wide range of different backgrounds, cultures and areas of professional expertise.


2021 BC Culture Day Events

There were many different events scheduled for the month-long festival in 2021. They included visual art exhibits, discussion panels about culture and the future of the arts, in-person workshops and activities, different performances and more. To take part in some of the events you had to register in advance. With others though, you could just show up.

BC Culture Day events and activities in the Lower Mainland include activities and attractions that are open and happening this time of year anyway, but sometimes with a bit of something extra. Included in the list of things to do in 2021 were the following:

For more information regarding 2021’s series of events, continue reading below or visit the BC Culture Days website.


BC Culture Days Performer
Photo of Lorita Leung Dance Company by Mary Matheson


When and Where?

In pre-pandemic years, BC Culture Days usually took place on the last weekend of September. However, since COVID-19 hit North America the festival shifted to a full month with a variety of in-person and online events.

One free virtual event in 2021 was the Wild Words North Writing Festival and Art Exhibit. Broadcast from Dawson Creek, this event took place over two different evenings on September 24th and 26th. For this, a group of professional writers from BC gathered to do some readings and also led discussions and workshops.

Another free event (with optional donations) was the Secwepemc Stepetkwll which took place on September 25th at 6 pm. This was an in-person performance in Salmon Arm that was both theatrical and educational, as local indigenous artist Kenthen Thomas shared important cultural stories from the Secwepemc (or Shuswap) territory.

Those are just two examples but there were dozens of in-person events in 2021. Many of them were art exhibitions, including the Art Downtown program and displays at places like the Bill Reid Gallery and Richmond Museum. There were also workshops, farmers markets, VR experiences and more.

In order to attend most of the different in-person events you had to register in advance. Some of the events in the past have been fairly large, but others were quite small so make sure to grab a spot early if there’s something that catches your eye.

To see all of the many in-person and virtual events that were scheduled for the 2021 festival, click BC Culture Days Events.


BC Culture Days Indigenous Dancing
Photo of Sacred Circle Steppers by Mary Matheson


Other Information

To learn more about the festival, visit the Culture Days website.

* Images in the top collage or photos are of Cedar Hill Recreation Centre at BC Culture Days by Kevin Light, Ital Blue by Kristen Lawson, and the Lorita Leung Dance Company by Mary Matheson.

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