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West Vancouver Coho Festival

Ambleside Coho Festival

The Coho Festival in West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park is one of the North Shore‘s main festivals, taking place every fall on the second Sunday in September.


2019 COHO FESTIVAL ENTERTAINMENT

Bands performing at the festival in 2019 are Cannery Row, Mostly Marley, Adam Woodall and Doug & The Slugs.


The Coho Festival in 2019

In 2019 the Coho Festival takes place from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday, September 8, which is also Grandparents’ Day and so makes an especially great destination to take the multi-generational family.

It’s a nice festival honoring the Coho salmon as they make their way back from the ocean to spawn in the Capilano River.

The main part of this popular community event takes place at beautiful Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

The Coho Festival is an especially good time to visit Ambleside as the place is full of people, live music, community organization displays and hundreds of people lining up for barbecued salmon for lunch.

What’s more – there is usually a beer garden on the sand at the beach, which makes this one of the few days of the year that you can drink alcohol legally at Ambleside. This beach, even on a regular day, is one of the Lower Mainland’s most beautiful beaches.

Coho Festival Main Stage
The Coho Festival’s Concert Stage

Entertainment Schedule

At the Coho Festival there is live music in the park. A few years ago the headliner band was Chilliwack – the popular Lower Mainland group that produced numerous Canadian and international hits in the 1970s and 1980s. Last year the headliner group was a local Beatles tribute band.

In 2019 highlights of the Coho Festival performance schedule include the following:

  • 11:00 am – Coho Running Race Breakfast & Award Ceremony
  • 12:00 pm – Music with Cannery Row (New Orleans-style Blues)
  • 1:00 pm – Welcoming Speech by a Squamish Nation leader and the traditional “Blessing of the Salmon” Ceremony
  • 2:00 pm – Music with Mostly Marley (a local Reggae band)
  • 3:10 pm – Music with Adam Woodall 
  • 4:30 pm – Music with Doug and The Slugs (a Canadian band with 1980’s hits that included “Too Bad”, “Making It Work” and “Tomcat Prowl.”
  • 6:00 pm – Closing Remarks
Doug and the Slugs
Doug & the Slugs

Coho Festival Salmon BBQ

A big part of the Coho Festival is the salmon barbecue. It usually runs from 11:15 am until 5:30 pm and proceeds from sales benefit wild salmon habitats on the North Shore.

Last year a BBQ salmon plate cost $15 and included a wild Coho salmon fillet, salad and corn on the cob. There were also grilled salmon sandwiches for $10 as well as hot dogs ($5), corn on the cob ($3), side salads ($3) and non-alcoholic beverages ($2). Beer and wine were also available for $7 each. 2019 prices will likely be similar.

The Coho Run

Another element of the Coho Festival is the annual Coho Run. It is a 14-km running race starting at 9 am on the same Sunday after Labour Day as the festival. The run starts at Kitsilano in Vancouver and ends at the beach at Ambleside on the North Shore.

From Kitsilano Beach the route goes along the False Creek waterfront, over the Burrard Street Bridge, along the seawall through Stanley Park and across the Lions Gate Bridge before finishing at Ambleside Beach.

Registration for the run costs between $50 and $70 depending on when you register. The fee includes a souvenir t-shirt, breakfast, prizes and more.

For further information on the race, check out the Coho Run‘s official web page.

The Coho Swim

An additional component of the festival is the Coho Swim. The swim follows either a 1.5 or 3 km route along Ambleside Beach. Registration for the swim costs between $40 and $70 and includes a t-shirt, swim cap, breakfast and other perks. (Note: Swimmers are required to wear wetsuits.)

Check out the Coho Swim‘s official page for more information.

Free Events in September

Environmental Stewardship

The Coho Festival is a “near zero waste event.” where most materials used are recyclable, reusable or compostable, and participants are encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transit as much as possible (although many people still drive).

Funds raised from the Coho Festival every year go to the Coho Society to support salmon habitat rejuvenation projects in the area.

Ambleside During Coho Festival
Festival activities on the lawns at Ambleside Park

Other information

For more information, check out the Coho Festival Society website.

For more information about the venue, click Ambleside Park or West Vancouver.

For a list of other events in the same month, see our September Calendar or click Festivals & Events.