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Vancouver Children’s Festival at Granville Island in 2021

Vancouver Children's Festival

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is a festival for young children that takes place on Granville Island in late May or early June each year.


Vancouver International Childrens Festival

In 2020 the Vancouver International Children’s Festival was cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus. The festival is going ahead in 2021, but in an online format. This year it runs from May 31st until June 13th.

In normal years the festival features theatre, music, dance, circus, puppetry and storytelling performances. There are also numerous other child-oriented activities. It’s not a giant festival, but it’s a really good one and fun for young children.


Families at Children's Festival


What to Expect in Normal Years

In years when there isn’t a pandemic, thousands of children and their families participate in a wide variety of fun activities.

There are indoor theatre shows, various forms of outdoor entertainment and activity tents with everything from paper hat making to splatter painting. There are also venues where you can try out circus tricks or get your face painted. The main shows cost extra, but the activities are free with the price of admission.

In a typical year, with good weather, as many as 30,000 people attend the festival over the course of the week, including school groups on weekdays.


Admission to the Children’s Festival

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 2021 prices are pay-what-you-can. In other words, online attendance is basically by donation.

In past years, tickets to the Vancouver Children’s Festival could be bought online in advance starting in the spring or during the festival at the festival box office. The box office is next to Studio 1398 on Granville Island at 1398 Cartwright Street.

Cash only purchases are possible on the day of the event most years for any available performances at the box office up until one hour before show time. The most popular shows typically fill up in advance though, so reserve early if you can.

Ticket prices in 2020 were going to be the following (and festival prices in 2022 may be similar):

  • 1 Show Day Pass: $12.50 for children and $22 for adults (includes activity wristband).
  • 4 Pack Family Pass: $58 (includes 1 show and activity wristbands for 4 family members).
  • Activity Wristband only: $6 per person (purchased on site for cash only).
  • Variety Show (1.5 hours): $19 for children and $22 for adults.


Life Size Games at VICF


Tips and Advice

Below is a list of tips and advice to help you make the most out of your experience at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.

TIP # 1: Don’t wait until the last minute to buy tickets for the best shows as they’ll likely fill up. Some shows sell out over a month in advance!

TIP #2: If the weather is good consider combining the festival with a family cycling excursion along the False Creek Seawall. Parking can be a challenge during the event, so it doesn’t hurt to park elsewhere and enjoy a scenic bike ride. Other options include using public transit, and/or catching one of the False Creek Ferries or Aquabus to Granville Island. Demand for ferry rides that day, however, might be pretty crazy.

TIP #3: While at Granville Island be sure to also check out the Public Market and explore the island with its gardens, toy stores and play areas. On the day we went a couple of years ago there were dozens of adult Canada Geese and their goslings wandering around and checking out the sights, which made for some fun photos of our own – so don’t forget your camera!


Goose Family at Granville Children's Festival


Other Information

For more information see the Vancouver International Children’s Festival website. And for information about a similar event in Surrey, check out the Surrey International Children’s Festival.

Check out Vancouver’s Best Places for Children for other ideas on what to do with your kids.

For ideas on ways to save while exploring Vancouver, click Entertainment Coupons for Kids.

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