Recovery Day BC celebrates the treatment and recovery for all kinds of addiction and mental health issues with a festival in New Westminster.
Recovery Day BC in New Westminster
Recovery Day BC began in 2012 and it has spurred the creation of similar events nation-wide in the years since. The New Westminster event is the biggest mental health and addiction recovery festival in Canada. It’s also entirely free to attend.
What to Expect at the Event
Recovery Day BC is meant to be a celebration. As well, it’s meant to be for all: for those in recovery, those supporting others in recovery, and those who want to learn more about these issues and take part in a community event. As many as 20,000 people attend the festival in non-pandemic years with good weather.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 event was online-only and broadcast on Facebook. Thankfully, the event is able to return with in-person activities in 2021.
This year’s festival takes place from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday, September 11th. The centre of the event is at the intersection of 6th Street and 6th Avenue in New Westminster, although in typical years the festival usually covers a couple blocks.
One of the biggest goals of the event is to educate and fight against the stigmas surrounding addiction and mental health. To do so, there are a large number of information booths and different displays set up by wellness organizations and other groups.
The topics covered are wide-ranging. Addiction doesn’t just mean drug addiction. For example, Sex Addicts Anonymous Vancouver had a booth at the 2019 festival. And given how vast the topic of mental health is there are all sorts of different stories and voices that can make themselves heard at the event.
There are other activities as well. Multiple stages are usually set up around the event with both live music and TED Talks presentations on health and wellness. There are also normally food trucks, artisan vendors and a designated Kids’ Zone with activities for the young ones.
If you like TED Talks, then be sure to check out TEDxWHISTLER. It takes place online on September 12th in 2021, and features ten amazing and thought-provoking speakers.
BC Recovery Day Entertainment
As of late August, an exact schedule for the 2021 event has not yet been released. Although times of performances haven’t yet been announced, names of some of the performers are known. Bands at the 2021 event include the R&B Allstars, Famous Players and Barracuda. Also performing is a group from the Vancouver Circus School.
Performers in past years have included Bif Naked (in 2016) and Matthew Good (in 2018).
History of BC Recovery Day
The idea for this festival originated at Orchard Recovery Centre on Bowen Island. A team working there realized that while the United States recognizes September as “Recovery Month”, Canada didn’t have anything comparable to that.
The Orchard team took it upon themselves to create a new celebration for recovery. They joined forces with a couple of other local organizations and held the first annual event in September of 2012. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson officially declared September 30th to be Recovery Day in the city that same year.
There are now dozens of Recovery Day celebrations across the country. There is also a Recovery Day Canada website which provides informative articles and resources to explore.
For more information visit the Recovery Day BC website.
To learn more about the area see our article about New Westminster.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Festivals and Events in Vancouver
- Vancouver Educational Places
- Free Vancouver Events in September
- Vancouver’s September Calendar
- Vancouver on a Budget