Recovery Day BC celebrates the treatment and recovery for all kinds of addiction and mental health issues with a festival in New Westminster.
The Lower Mainland event happens on a Saturday in early September, either just before or after the Labour Day Long Weekend. In 2022 the event happened on Saturday, September 10th. The date and details for 2023 are to be confirmed.
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 was able to return with in-person activities in 2021. The festival that year took place on Saturday, September 11th. The centre of the event was at the intersection of 6th Street and 6th Avenue in New Westminster, although in typical years the festival usually covers a couple blocks.
2022 marked the 10th anniversary of the Recovery Day BC event. It took place from noon until 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 10th last year.
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. In 2022 there were four stages with live music. There were also food trucks and artisan vendors. The designated Kids’ Zone offered activities for the young ones, including balloon art and face painting. In 2022 the Adventure Zone featured rock climbing, axe throwing, virtual reality experiences and more. 2023 details will likely be similar.
BC Recovery Day Entertainment
Bands at the 2022 event included Tom Cochrane, Busty & the Bass and more. The full entertainment lineup for three of the four stages in 2022 is listed below. The schedule for the Uptown BIA Stage was to be confirmed as of the last time we checked.
- 12:30 pm – Eagle Eyes
- 2:00 pm – Busty and the Bass
- 3:30 pm – Snotty Nose Rez Kids
- 5:00 pm – Tom Cochrane
- 1:15 pm – Will Clements
- 2:00 pm – Bungalow
- 2:30 pm – Amber Tsang
- 3:45 pm – Tess Anderson
- 5:00 pm – Sugar Fungus
Kids Zone Stage
- 12:00 pm – Will’s Jams
- 12:15 pm – Penny Pom Pom
- 1:00 pm – Cosmo Circus
- 1:30 pm – Karima Essa Bollywood Dance Workshop
- 2:15 pm – Cosmo Circus
- 3:00 pm – Fred Penner
- 3:45 pm – Cosmo Circus
- 4:05 pm – Will’s Jams
- 4:50 pm – Cosmo Circus
- 5:05 pm – Gary Savard
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