Hosted by the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, the ExplorASIAN Festival features a series of events celebrating Asian culture in Vancouver in May.
In 2023 the festival runs for the entire month, from May 1st until May 31st.
ExplorASIAN Festival in 2023
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada and the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society celebrates the month with an arts and culture festival. During the month of May the organization partners with various groups in Metro Vancouver to host a wide variety of different events.
2023 is the 27th year of the ExplorASIAN Festival. This year there are over 60 events taking place across Metro Vancouver.
Last year some of the events were in-person and some were virtual. The opening ceremony took place on April 30th at the SFU Harbour Centre and it was free to attend. Some of the festival’s other events were also free, some were admission by donation and some required paid tickets. 2023 will likely be similar, although exact details are to be confirmed.
On any given year you can expect to see art exhibitions, speaker series, walking tours, interactive workshops, live performances and more.
As mentioned above, there are dozens of events that take place each year for the festival. There are too many to list in this article. Below are just a few of the events for 2022. For the full schedule click ExplorASIAN 2022.
Cross Cultural Walking Tours
On top of being Asian Heritage Month, May is also Canadian Jewish Heritage Month! In recognition of this, last year ExplorASIAN partnered with the Vancouver Heritage Foundation to deliver walking tours that touch on Asian, Jewish and other cultures throughout Vancouver.
Last year the tours stopped in Chinatown, Paueru-Gai (Powell Street), Jewish Strathcona, the Downtown Eastside and Hogan’s Alley. They took place on May 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd in 2022. Tickets cost around $35 and the tours began at 2:00 pm on each day.
OTHER WALKING TOURS
If you like walking tours, then be sure to also check out Historical Chinatown Tours. They take place at other times of the year too. Forbidden Vancouver is also another exceptional walking tour company, although it focuses on Vancouver history in general.
A regular event at the festival each year is the Vancouver Ikebana Association’s Spring Show. This is a Japanese floral arrangement exhibition including live demonstrations by experienced artists. There is even the chance for visitors to take part in a workshop to learn about the practice of ikebana.
The Spring Show was held at the Roundhouse in Yaletown on May 14th and 15th in 2022. The event was free to attend and open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on the 14th and from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on the 15th. 2023 details are to be confirmed.
The Tian Jin Temple’s TJ Fest Community Festival
TJ Fest is another free event that takes place at the Tian Jin Temple at 34265 Smith Avenue in Burnaby. The venue isn’t far from where Grandview meets the Trans-Canada Highway.
The main focus of the event is Metro Vancouver’s Taiwanese culture, but there are multiple different cultures represented either through live performances or through food available from a variety of vendors.
There is also a community market at the event populated by small local businesses. TJ Fest was on May 14th and 15th in 2022. It ran from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on both days.
To learn more about the event at the Tian Jin Temple, see our article about TJ Fest.
To see what the festival looks like, check out the following video.
For more information visit the ExplorASIAN website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s May Calendar of Events
- Free Vancouver Events in May
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment
- History & Culture in Vancouver
- Vancouver’s Chinatown
- Multicultural Heritage Months in Vancouver