Home First Nations in the Lower Mainland National Indigenous Peoples Day at Trout Lake in John Hendry Park

National Indigenous Peoples Day at Trout Lake in John Hendry Park

Aboriginal Day Crowds

On June 21st in Vancouver, National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated with a pancake breakfast, friendship walk and events at Grandview Park.

In the past, pre-COVID, the afternoon events used to take place at Trout Lake in Vancouver’s John Hendry Park. In 2023, however, the walk went to Grandview Park on Commercial Drive and the entertainment and festivities happened there instead. That’s the case again in 2024.

The pancake breakfast and walk happen in the morning. The events at the park happen in the afternoon.

 

Vancouver Indigenous Celebrations

The City of Vancouver is located on the unceded traditional territories of the local Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations to whom we are thankful for sharing this beautiful region. We are lucky to be able to live, work and play on their lands.

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to celebrate and honour Canada’s First Nations people and their culture.

To celebrate the day, events take place across the Lower Mainland, and the entire country. Some events are small while others are larger. The City of Vancouver’s biggest and arguably National Indigenous Peoples Day event used to happen at Trout Lake. Now, however, it happens at Grandview Park instead.

In the past, on the morning of June 21st, there used to be a pancake breakfast at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre followed by a friendship walk to Trout Lake. The pancake breakfast and friendship walk both happened again last year. The only difference was that the friendship walk finished at Grandview Park instead of going all the way to Trout Lake and John Hendry Park. In the afternoon in 2023, at Grandview Park, there was entertainment and other celebratory activities.

 

Band at Grandview Park

 

Date and Location

Vancouver’s National Aboriginal Peoples Day celebrations take place on June 21st, regardless of what day of the week it falls. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was cancelled in 2020. It didn’t happen in 2021 or in 2022 either.

In 2023 the pancake breakfast took place at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. The Centre’s address is 1607 East Hastings Street. Anyone who wanted to attend the breakfast was welcome to do so.

After the breakfast, from 11:00 am until around 12:00 pm, the Friendship Walk took place. That’s when everyone walked from the Friendship Centre to Grandview Park.

The afternoon part of the event used to take place at Trout Lake in John Hendry Park which is located at 3300 Victoria Drive. Instead of Trout Lake, in 2023, the afternoon activities happened at Grandview park. The address for the new venue is 1657 Charles Street. Grandview Park is at the corner of Charles Street and Commercial Drive.

The activities at Grandview Park typically run from noon until 5:00 pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. At the park this past year there were Indigenous artisan vendors and live entertainment. There wasn’t a pow wow like there has been in the past when the event used to take place at Trout Lake. There might again be a pow wow this year though. Exact details for 2024, however, are to be confirmed.

 

Live Music at Grandview Park

 

Every Child Matters

 

What to Expect

The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day with a pancake breakfast, friendship walk and events at Grandview Park.

At the afternoon event at the park expect to see large numbers of local First Nations people (as well as folks from other ethnic backgrounds). Some attendees are dressed in traditional clothing, while most are dressed in everyday clothing.

Entertainment at the event usually includes dancing, singing, drumming and other activities celebrating local Indigenous culture. All are welcome.

 

National Aboriginal Day
Friendship Walk Along Commercial Drive

 

The Friendship Walk

In years when it takes place, the Friendship Walk starts at the Vancouver Friendship Centre at around 11:00 am. The procession goes east along Hastings Street and then south along Commercial Drive. The walk used to go as far as Trout Lake and end there. In 2023, however, the procession ended at Grandview Park (so it only goes about a third of the distance that it did in the past).

The Friendship Walk used to be about 3.5 km long and last for just under an hour. In 2023 the distance was closer to just 1.1 km. Up to as many as 200 people have participated in the past.

 

The Event at the Park

The festivities at the park are the day’s main event. At the park there are vendor stalls and food trucks. In the past, when the event took place at Trout Lake, there was also a main area set up with rows of chairs and a designated stage area. At the lake itself there were also usually a couple of large First Nations canoes which the public was welcome to get into and go out on the water.

 

Market at Grandview Park Indigenous Event

 

Tips & Advice

Below are some suggestions and other information to help you make the most of your experience at the National Indigenous Peoples Day event in Vancouver.

TIP #1: If you can go, go! It’s an interesting event and a great way to experience and celebrate local Indigenous culture.

TIP #2: Some people join the event at around 11:00 am for the start of the Friendship Walk. The majority of folks though just go straight to the park for the event there. Not many people attend the morning activities at the Friendship Centre as it’s not a huge place.

TIP #3: This is a fairly large event, so parking can be a challenge. Arrive early if you want to find a parking spot anywhere near Grandview Park. Alternatively, take public transit if you can. The Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain Station is just a 20-minute walk away.

TIP #4: The event at the park in the past has been Vancouver’s largest National Indigenous Peoples Day event. There are other similar events on the same day in other places too, however, including in Mission, Port Moody, Surrey, West Vancouver and other communities. Other celebrations also happen on the weekend before, including, most years, in Langley, Richmond and Maple Ridge.

 

Other Information

For further details about the organization behind the event in Vancouver, see the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre website.

For information about similar festivities in other parts of Metro Vancouver, click National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Lower Mainland.

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