Caribbean Days is a festival celebrating Caribbean music, food and culture that takes place in late July each year at North Vancouver‘s Waterfront Park.
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North Shore’s Caribbean Days
In 2020 Caribbean Days was supposed to take place on the weekend of July 25-26. However, it was cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Society of BC, it’s a fun festival that attracts tens of thousands of participants from across the Lower Mainland most years.
Festival Date and Location
In 2020 the Caribbean Days Festival was going to happen on the weekend of July 25th and 26th from around 10:00 or 10:30 am until the early evening on both days. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled because of COVID-19. Details are to be determined for the 2021 festival.
In years when the festival happens, most of it takes place at Waterfront Park which is just a five-minute walk west of North Vancouver’s SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay.
For a map of the venue, click Festival Layout.
Caribbean Days Events and Activities
The Caribbean Days Festival usually takes place on a Saturday and Sunday each year in late July. Main activities include a multicultural street parade, food fair, market, and live music and entertainment all weekend.
In past years, on the Saturday, there used to be a Multicultural Street Parade which started at 10:00 am at the corner of Lonsdale Avenue and 13th Street. The parade lasted for close to 90 minutes and went down Lonsdale and then west along Esplanade to Waterfront Park.
In 2019, instead of a street parade, there was a procession through the park on the Saturday between around 10:30 am and 11:30 am. It was free to participate in.
In the carnival-style parade expect to hear festive Caribbean music and to see lots of people in colourful costumes dancing and having fun.
Island & International Food Fair
In years when the festival does take place, there is a large food fair featuring both Caribbean and international foods. The food concession area is on the north side of Waterfront Park just off Esplanade Avenue.
All kinds of tasty foods are available, as are a wide variety of refreshing drinks. Definitely buy your lunch and/or dinner at the venue – the food is one of the highlights of the festival. On a hot summer day the beer garden is also extremely popular.
At Caribbean Days there is also a market with vendors selling all kinds of things including imported goods from the Caribbean and both South and Central America. Expect there to be colourful clothing, hats, bags, artisan products and a wide selection of other items.
Live Music and Entertainment
Caribbean Days just wouldn’t be a Caribbean-style carnival without lots of live music and entertainment.
From the festival’s Main Stage dance groups perform and bands play everything from Reggae to Calypso, Latin and Soca, as well as other international genres of music.
For an idea of what to expect in future events, highlights of the entertainment schedule for 2019 are listed below. (Note: Times and performer details were subject to change.)
Saturday (July 27, 2019)
- 10:00 am – Multi-Cultural Street Parade (with exact time and other details to be confirmed).
- 11:30 am – DJ BJ
- 12:15 pm – Opening Ceremony
- 12:45 pm – Announcement of Parade Winners
- 1:00 pm – Diversity Performing Academy
- 1:20 pm – Griottes Polyglottes
- 1:45 pm – Cantaloupe Lounge
- 2:30 pm – Amed Academy
- 3:10 pm – Sweet Pan
- 4:00 pm – Zumba
- 4:20 pm – King Fish
- 5:00 pm – X-Kalibre
- 6:15 pm – Boom Daddy
Sunday (July 28, 2019)
- 10:45 am – DJ Kenyon
- 11:00 am – Damasco
- 11:45 am – Shizzles
- 12:30 pm – Mr. Fantastik
- 1:15 pm – Nigel Headley
- 2:00 pm – DanZa Productions
- 2:15 pm – Children’s Parade
- 2:30 pm – Mostly Marley
- 3:40 pm – Diversity Performing Academy
- 4:15 pm – Fish Limbo
- 5:00 pm – Phase III
- 6:15 pm – Tropical Breeze
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and information to help you make the most out of your experience at the Caribbean Days Festival.
TIP #1: Parking is free at the ICBC parkade on the one block of tiny Rogers Avenue just off Esplanade by Lonsdale Quay. If you get there early you’ll have a reasonable chance of finding a parking spot there – or at least more so than on the street where it’s also free, but limited to just a couple of hours and in high demand.
TIP #2: Take public transit if you can. The event is a pleasant 15-minute SeaBus ride away from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver which connects with all major SkyTrain lines in the Lower Mainland.
TIP #3: While in the area, explore the neighbourhood. There are lots of other things to see at the Shipyards and Lower Lonsdale District.
For more information about the July event at Waterfront Park, see the Caribbean Days Festival website.
For information about North Vancouver, including other North Shore festivals, click North Vancouver.
For a list of major events at different times of the year throughout the Lower Mainland, see the Festivals & Events page.