Hosted by the North Shore Polish Association Belweder, the 2022 Polish Festival takes place at the Shipyards in North Vancouver in September.
Polish Festival Vancouver is an annual event that celebrates Polish-Canadian contributions to Canada’s rich cultural mosaic. It showcases local artists as well as vendors of different nationalities. The event features traditional Polish cuisine, music, singing, folk dancing and other activities. To make it even better, admission is free!
In 2022 the festival was on Sunday, September 4th. In the same year, for the first time, September was officially declared Polish Heritage Month in British Columbia (and it will continue to be recognized as such in the years to come)!
The festival will likely take place on the Labour Day Weekend again in 2023, although exact details are to be confirmed.
Polish Festival Vancouver on the North Shore
The Polish Festival Vancouver is a unique one-day event celebrating the cultural diversity of Vancouver’s North Shore community. It’s also an excellent way for people to enjoy the exciting flavours of Polish culture and food.
The festival features Polish music, singing and folk dancing including a special program for children and youth. Visitors of all ages and backgrounds are invited for an authentic European experience! At the event you can celebrate the richness of Polish culture, tradition and arts.
Polish Festival Vancouver is hosted by the non-profit Belweder North Shore Polish Association. One of the organization’s main goals is to promote Polish culture, language, tradition and knowledge of Polish contributions within Canada to all Canadians in order to foster a better understanding and spirit of multiculturalism.
There are around ten thousand people on the North Shore with Polish heritage. This means that while it’s not the biggest ethnic community in the region, it is a large one. Consequently, there is plenty of wonderful Polish culture to be found!
Where and When
The Vancouver Polish Festival takes place at the Shipyards in Shipbuilders’ Square and the Pipe Shop at 115 Victory Ship Way at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue.
This past year the event happened on September 4th from 1:00 until 8:00 pm. That was the Sunday of the Labour Day Long Weekend. It’s a free event and well worth checking out, especially if you like European food, music and cultural entertainment.
What to Expect at the Polish Festival
At the Vancouver Polish Festival you can expect to see lots of European foods, music, singing, folk dancing and other activities. In an average year as many as 2000 people attend over the course of the day. More people likely attended this past year, however, because 2022 was the 20th anniversary of the organization which hosts the event.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Belweder North Shore Polish Association put on additional performances and activities. They also had a photo booth with a backdrop of a colorful village house from the small ancient village of Zalipie which is known for its painted houses. There were also cultural displays as well as vendors in the Pipe Shop building selling Polish T-shirts, jewelry, and other artisan products and souvenirs.
The Vancouver Polish Festival is a family-friendly event with theatrical shows for children as well as crafts, face painting, balloon animals and games. There was also a lottery in 2022 with different prizes and with all proceeds going to a Ukrainian refugees relief fund.
In 2022 traditional Polish cuisine at the event included pierogies, sausages, pastries and other tasty items including Polish beer. Entertainment featured a number of singing and dancing groups including the Polish Folk Dance Ensemble SPK ISKRY from Winnipeg.
Live Entertainment at the Polish Festival
The entertainment schedule for 2022 is listed below. There was plenty of singing and folk dancing on the main stage over the course of the day.
(Note: Exact times and other details were subject to change.)
- 1:00 pm – Official opening of the festival with Spakwus Slolem blessing
- 1:45 pm – SPK ISKRY Folk Dance Ensemble
- 1:50 pm – Alicja Moniatowicz
- 2:05 pm – SPK ISKRY Folk Dance Ensemble
- 2:15 pm – Mariia Hahalovska and Ola Grodecka
- 2:30 pm – SPK ISKRY Folk Dance Ensemble
- 2:45 pm – Grazyna Kapuscinska, Ola Grodecka and Krystyna Krystecka
- 3:00 pm – SPK ISKRY folk dance ensemble
- 3:10 pm – Mariia Hahalovska, Alicja Moniatowicz and Krystyna Krystecka
- 3:45 pm – North Shore Celtic Ensemble
- 4:15 pm – SPK ISKRY Folk Dance Ensemble
- 4:30 pm – Adrian Sowa Trio
- 5:15 pm – Bob Kozak and Roma dancers
- 6:00 pm – Lottery announcement
- 6:15 pm – Zabavva (a special guest from Portland, Oregon) and the local music band Hey Ziuta
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to Vancouver’s Polish Festival.
TIP #1: There is limited free parking on the street in the area with either a 1 or 2-hour maximum time limit. There is also pay parking, however, at the ICBC parkade in front of Lonsdale Quay just off Rogers Avenue, at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market and at Shipyard Commons.
TIP #2: Take public transit if you can. The SeaBus is less than a 5-minute walk away.
TIP #3: Either before or after visiting the Polish Festival, explore the region. Shipbuilders’ Pier is nice to walk along, and the indoor public market at Lonsdale Quay is interesting. MONOVA: the Museum of North Vancouver is also an exceptional place to learn about the history of the region. The museum also hosts free walking tours with Shipyard Pals.
TIP #4: Go with an appetite! The Polish sausages and pierogies are delicious! There is a small beer garden too.
For information about the organization behind the festival, check out the North Shore Polish Association Belweder website
For details about the area, check out any of the following:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following: