Home Vancouver Monthly Calendar Festivals and Events in Vancouver in 2023 Cinco de Mayo in Vancouver

Cinco de Mayo in Vancouver

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo isn’t an official major event in Canada, but that doesn’t stop Vancouverites from celebrating the Mexican holiday on or around May 5th.

Many local pubs and restaurants, especially Mexican and Latin American ones, go all out with their promotions.


Vancouver Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no major Cinco de Mayo celebrations happened in 2020. Not a lot was possible on May 5th in 2021 either. A fair bit happened in 2022, and even more happened in 2023.

One event that happened this past year was the Cinco de Mayo Boat Party. It’s a Mexican-themed nightclub-style event on the vessel The Abitibi which departed from False Creek. Hosted by Vancouver Boat Parties, the event took place in 2023 on Friday, May 5th. The Boat Party returns again in 2024, although exact details are to be confirmed.

Another fun way that Cinco de Mayo was celebrated in 2023 was at the Commodore Ballroom on May 5th. There was a special Lucha Libre Wrestling event with fast-paced Mexican wrestling, tacos and a performance by Mariachi Los Dorados.

Although not Mexican-themed, a beer-related event that also happened on May 5th in 2023 was the Search for the Perfect Pint which was a fundraising event for the Port Moody Rotary Club. It’s actually one of the Lower Mainland’s best craft beer festivals. The Royal Canadian International Circus was also in Surrey, at Guildford Town Centre, on May 5th, 2023 (and on May 4th, 6th and 7th too), and the Art Vancouver International Art Fair was at the Vancouver Convention Centre as well.

All of the above events are highly recommended (but for very different crowds).


Mexican Fiesta Mariachis
A Mariachi Band at the Fiesta Mexicana


Other Non-Mexican Events

Some other events that took place on the May 5th weekend in 2023 (but that weren’t Mexican or Cinco de Mayo-related) included those listed below.

  • Art Vancouver – a prestigious international art fair at the Vancouver Convention Centre started on May 4th and continued until May 7th.
  • CityFest – a youth-focused festival in North Vancouver that featured live music and the region’s biggest skateboarding competition. It wasn’t a Mexican-themed event, granted. Rather, it was just a great youth-focused event that happened to take place on the Saturday closest to May 5th (which in 2023 was May 6th).
  • Royal Canadian International Circus – in 2023 the hugely popular circus had shows in Surrey (May 4th to 7th), Vancouver (May 11th to 14th) and Richmond (May 18th to 22nd). (TIP: If you used the promo code VANSBESTPLACES you could get 2-for-1 pricing on general admission!)
  • Search for the Perfect Pint – a beer-themed fundraising event in Port Moody on May 5th in 2023.
  • Sweet Spring – flowers and family-friendly activities at Greendale Acres Farm in Chilliwack.
  • Abbotsford Tulip Festival – fields of colourful tulips at Lakeland Flowers in Chilliwack.
  • Chilliwack Tulip Festival – another large tulip festival in the Fraser Valley.

There was also a big Mexican-themed event in previous years at Robson Square. To our knowledge, 2017 was its last year and it no longer takes place.


What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day – that’s on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day, on May 5th, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated the French army at the Battle of Puebla.

Today Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico (especially in the state of Puebla), extensively in the United States and to a lesser degree around the world, including here in Vancouver.


Mexico in Vancouver


Latin American Restaurants

Being the cosmopolitan city that it is, Vancouver is home to lots of great Mexican and Latin American restaurants (many of which help their patrons celebrate Cinco de Mayo during the first week of May each year).

A few good Mexican establishments include the following:

  • La Mezcaleria – with locations at both 1622 Commercial Drive and 68 East Cordova (in Gastown), open Tuesday to Sunday and specializing in small batch tequilas and mezcal.
  • Las Margaritas – a restaurant in Kitsilano at 1999 West 4th Avenue that serves good Baja and California-style Mexican food.
  • The Mexican Antojitos y Cantina – at 1049 Granville Street in the heart of Vancouver’s main entertainment district.

Click Latin American Restaurants for a list of other great restaurants.


Mexican Cooking at Carnaval del Sol
Chefs Cooking at the Carnaval del Sol


Other Information

For other Latin American-themed events at different times of the year, check out the following:

  • Carnaval del Sol – a major Latin American festival in Vancouver in July or August.
  • Fiesta Mexicana – a free Mexican festival that used to take place at the Roundhouse in Yaletown at 181 Roundhouse Mews in September but, in years since 2017, as Market Mexico at Robson Square (although that too may no longer be happening).

For other kinds of events, check out Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar or May Calendar of Events.