The Vancouver Pakistan Festival is a free festival celebrating Pakistani culture, music and food.
In 2019 the Pakistan Festival took place in the parking lot at Tsawwassen Mills Mall in Delta. The year before it was in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, and for a couple of years before that it was at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver.
In 2020 it was scheduled to take place at Holland Park in Surrey (where it was also held back in 2015). However, the event did not take place in 2020 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Admission to the event is usually free. In 2019 the festival ran from 12:00 am until 8:00 pm. 2021 details will likely be similar (but to be confirmed).
Pakistan Festival Venues
Up until 2018 the Vancouver Pakistan Festival took place in the north plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia Street between Howe and Hornby. (Note: the plaza was renovated in 2018 and renamed šx????n?q Xwtl’e7énk Square which is pronounced, very approximately, “Hootlacken”).
Last year the festival had a new venue – at Tsawwassen Mills Mall which is located at 5000 Canoe Pass Way in Tsawwassen not far from the BC Ferries Terminal. The festival venue was in the parking lot by the northeast corner of the shopping centre.
In 2020 the festival was going to take place at Holland Park which is located at 13428 Old Yale Road in Surrey (across the street from Central City Mall). Because of COVID-19, however, that year’s event got cancelled.
What to Expect
At the festival there is live music and other cultural performances on a stage. Lots of chairs are set up for people enjoying the entertainment. Also at the festival are a number of food stalls and vendors.
Based on our experience from past years, the Pakistan Festival isn’t a huge event, but it’s not tiny either and can attract up to a couple of thousand people at peak times.
In addition to live music, food stalls and market vendors, in 2019 there were also a couple of very small and simple mechanized rides which were suitable for little kids, plus a bouncy castle.
Each ride cost about 5 tickets which in 2019 could be purchased at 20 for $20, 44 for $40 and 110 for $100. Day passes for $35 were probably the best value, assuming your child was a toddler and wanted to go on the rides non-stop for a good chunk of the day.
Again, the rides were tiny and very simple, and there were just a couple to choose from. On the bright side, the lineups were almost non-existent (at least when we were there).
Below is the schedule for the 2019 festival. Future events will likely be similar.
- 3:00 pm – Children’s dance and Pakistani Patriotic Song
- 3:15 pm – Sunny Khan
- 4:15 pm – Children’s dance and Pakistani Patriotic Song
- 4:30 pm – Fashion Show
- 4:45 pm – Owais Khan Ghory Dance Performance
- 5:00 pm – Parade
- 5:15 pm – Opening Ceremony
- 5:45 pm – Quiz
- 6:00 pm – Tariq Tafu
- 7:00 pm – Abrar UI Haq
About the Festival
August 14, 1947, is the day that Pakistan became an independent nation. That’s why in past years Vancouver’s Pakistan Festival has taken place in mid-August, as a way to celebrate the country’s independence. In 2018, the festival was held in the second week of July instead. The reason given? To make it closer to Canada Day!
For further details check out the Pakistan Festival Facebook page.
The Pakistan Festival is great for the cultural experience, and it’s at a good venue if you also like retail shopping. If you are looking for serious amusement rides though, then places to check out include Cultus Lake Adventure Park, Playland and the Pacific National Exhibition.
Other East Indian-themed events in the Lower Mainland include the following:
- Vancouver Vaisakhi Festival and Surrey Vaisakhi Festival – massive parades that attract hundreds of thousands of people in April.
- 5X Festival – a festival celebrating the culture and performing arts of the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan as well as other Southeast Asian countries in the summer.
- Indian Summer Festival – an arts festival featuring South Asian, Canadian and Indigenous artists in July.
- Diwali Fest – a multi-day festival in both Vancouver and Surrey in the fall.