Cinco de Mayo isn’t an official major event in Canada, but that doesn’t stop Vancouver folk 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.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no major Cinco de Mayo celebrations happened in 2020. People just had to drink their Corona beers and tequila at home last year. Not a lot was possible on May 5th in 2021 either. All things going according to plan, more events will be happening in 2022!
One event that is happening this year is the Cinco de Mayo Party at the Bar None nightclub in Yaletown on May 5th. General admission costs $15, plus taxes and online fees. If you use the promo code VANBEST100, however, you can “buy” your tickets for free!
Vancouver Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
May 5th in 2022 takes place on a Thursday. A few Mexican-themed events scheduled for the day or following weekend most years are the following:
- Cinco de Mayo Night Club Party – a Mexican-themed party at the Bar None nightclub in Yaletown. The event features Latin music with DJ Thunder and DJ Dre. Tickets cost about $15.
- Cinco De Mayo at TLCC – family-friendly Cinco de Mayo activities take place most years on May 5th at the Trout Lake Community Centre between around noon and 3:00 pm. Admission is free but advanced registration is recommended. (Note: This event doesn’t appear to be happening in 2022.)
Other Non-Mexican Events
Some other events that take place on the May 5th weekend in 2022 (but that aren’t Mexican or Cinco de Mayo-related) include those listed below.
- HMS Pinafore – Vancouver Opera presents the famous Gilbert & Sullivan musical at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre between April 30th and May 8th.
- Art Vancouver – a prestigious internation art fair at the Vancouver Convention Centre starts on May 5th and the continues until May 7th.
- CityFest – a youth-focused festival in North Vancouver featuring live music and the region’s biggest skateboarding competition. It’s not a Mexican-themed event, granted. Rather, it’s just a great youth-focused event that happens to take place on the weekend closest to May 5th. In 2020 the event was scheduled to happen at the Shipyards in North Vancouver. (Happening on May 7th in 2022.)
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.
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.
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).