The Vancouver Earth Day Parade is a small but meaningful event. It takes place in April along Commercial Drive and at Grandview Park.
Hosted by Windermere High School’s Youth for Climate Justice Now group, the Vancouver Earth Day Parade and Festival is an annual event that has been taking place since 2011. The day features a procession down the street, festival activities in a nearby park and a series of speakers related to the environmental movement.
Earth Day in 2020 and 2021
In 2020 Earth Day was on Wednesday, April 22, which was actually just after when Vancouver’s Earth Day Parade and Festival was going to take place (until it got cancelled). Earth Day in fact is always on April 22. Celebrations, however, sometimes occur on different days depending on which day of the week the official day occurs. In 2021 the date is on a Thursday.
The parade was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 18th, in 2020. It was going to start at 11:30 am and the festival was going to run from 12:30 until 4:00 pm. Due to COVID-19, however, everything got cancelled. Because of the pandemic, there is no parade once again in 2021. Hopefully it can happen in 2022.
In years when it doesn’t get cancelled, the parade usually starts at around 11:30 am on the Saturday just before or just after April 22nd. Festival activities then take place at Grandview Park from around 12:30 until 4:00 pm (plus or minus).
It’s not a huge or particularly elaborate event, It is, however, in a popular area of town, for a very good cause and fun to watch and participate in.
The Earth Day Parade
The Earth Day Parade involves several hundred people with placards, costumes, musical instruments and a concern for the environment marching down Commercial Drive to commemorate Earth Day.
In years when it does take place, parade participants start to gather at the corner of Commercial Drive and Grandview Highway at about 11:00 am or even before. At 11:30 am the march begins and the group proceeds north along Commercial Drive some dozen or so blocks to Grandview Park.
There are no floats or large formal marching bands in the parade, but lots of people wear costumes and there is music.
Earth Day Festival
After the parade festivities continue at Grandview Park which is located at the corner of Commercial Drive and Charles Street. At the park musicians perform and there is a series of public speakers.
For a sample of what to expect in future years, speakers at the Earth Day Festival a few years ago included the following:
- Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
- Ta’kaiya Blaney
- Cedar George-Parker
- Kate Hodgson
- Peter McCartney
- Kat Norris
Musicians at the event a few years ago included the following:
- Corrina Keeling
- Chris Tait
- Ta’kaiya Blaney
- Geoff Berner
- Britannia Marimba Kids
The Earth Day Festival at Grandview Park is a family-friendly event and attracts people of all ages including lots of high school and university-aged students.
Earth Day Video
Below is a video about the Earth Day Parade event from 2014 that we found on the event’s official website. As you can see it’s not a huge event, but it’s both youth-focused and youth-organized and attracts fairly prominent speakers some years (including Dr. David Suzuki a few years ago).
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Earth Day Parade experience.
TIP #1: If planning to drive somewhere in the area around parade time, don’t plan to go north on Commercial between Grandview Highway and William Street. The entire two lanes of northbound traffic are full of people marching. It’s not a long parade, but traffic is completely blocked in the one direction for the duration of the parade.
TIP #2: Don’t drive to the Earth Day Parade. It’s Earth Day after all. Take public transit, walk or ride your bike!
TIP #3: Don’t forget to take your reusable water bottle, environmentally-friendly costume and your camera!
TIP #4: While you’re in the area, explore Commercial Drive. It’s a fabulous street with all kinds of interesting shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s also a great place for people watching.
To learn more about the event see the Vancouver Earth Day Parade website.
For information on other Earth Day events check out Earth Day in Metro Vancouver. The Lower Mainland’s largest Earth Day event with lots of kid-friendly activities as well as major concerts is the Party for the Planet event at Surrey City Hall.