Abbotsford celebrates Canada Day with a morning parade and then festival activities including free concerts and fireworks at Abbotsford Exhibition Park.
FESTIVITIES GO ONLINE
Due to concerns about the novel coronavirus, the Canada Day parade and other July 1st festivities didn’t take place as usual in Abbotsford this past year. Instead, the community hosted an online event which included a virtual pet parade and contests with prizes. Local musicians were also scheduled to perform.
Artists at the Abbotsford event in 2020 included the Indie-Pop duo of Harlequin Gold, Country singer Becca Hess, and Hip-Hop musician Saint Soldier. Also performing at the virtual event were the Electronic Pop duo of Tres Fou, Abbotsford-based MRKT.WY, and singer and songwriter D. Fretter.
The virtual singing of O Canada started at 7 pm. The event also featured virtual fireworks. For more details about the 2020 online activities, see the City of Abbotsford‘s website.
To learn about what other communities did to celebrate on July 1st in 2020, see our article about Metro Vancouver Virtual Canada Day Events.
Abbotsford on July 1st
Abbotsford hosts a number of great events throughout the year including the Abbotsford Tulip Festival (in the spring), Abbotsford Agrifair (on the August Long Weekend) and Abbotsford Airshow (in mid-August). Another great event is the Canada Day parade and festival on July 1st each year.
Canada Day celebrations in Abbotsford normally begin with the parade along South Fraser Way. Local residents then make their way to Abbotsford Exhibition Park for live entertainment and family-friendly activities. The festivities finish with fireworks.
Canada Day in Abbotsford
The theme for the Canada Day celebrations in Abbotsford for 2019 was “Strong and Free.” This was a great theme as it represents everything Canada stands for, and it also refers to our national anthem. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we’re not sure what its theme was going to be. 2021 details are to be determined.
July 1st was on a Wednesday in 2020. The parade would have started at 11 am and the festival would have run from 1 pm until evening with the fireworks finishing the day at 10 pm. In 2021 July 1st is on a Thursday.
Instead of the usual in-person events, this past year the city hosted a few online activities. For details click Abbotsford Canada Day 2020.
Except for the parade, everything usually takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park which is located at 32470 Haida Drive.
The park is a big venue bordered by Haida Drive, Trethewey Street and Maclure Road. Most of the festival activities take place in the south half of the park (so closer to Maclure Road than to Haida Drive).
Abbotsford Canada Day Parade
In years when it does take place, the Abbotsford Canada Day parade begins at 11 o’clock at the corner of South Fraser Way and Ware Street. The parade route goes west from there along South Fraser Way, turns north up Trethewey Street and then finishes at Maclure Road near Exhibition Park.
The parade includes classic cars, vintage farm equipment, street performers, clowns, local politicians waving at the crowd, marching bands and the occasional float. It’s a relatively large parade, with entries fairly spread out along the route.
Parade entries are judged and cash prizes are awarded to the first, second and third place winning participants. The parade and its participants always have a distinctly agricultural and “farm community” flavour to it.
Canada Day Festival
Again in years when the festivities don’t get cancelled, after the parade, from 1 until 10 pm, Abbotsford Exhibition Park usually gets filled with people, vendors and community organization stalls, and activities for all ages.
The venue is typically divided up into a number of areas including the following:
- Sand Zone – an area where folk can make their own sandcastles and play in the sand from 1 until 8 pm.
- Read. Learn. Play Zone – where you’ll find representatives from the local public library as well as crafts and book-related activities.
- Twisters Gymnastics Zone – an indoor play area for all ages with a trampoline, foam pit and other gymnastics equipment in the Twisters Gymnastics building (at 32470 Haida Drive, so on the other side of the parking lot from the track).
- Agrifair Zone – a promotional area for the Abbotsford Agrifair where you can go on hay rides, see llamas and horses, and admire a demolition derby car.
- Recycle Zone – an area to learn and participate in recycling and composting activities.
Other areas on the festival grounds in past years have been the Jump Zone, Slide Zone, DiverCity Zone (where you can try on a turban), and an Airshow Zone (where you can make paper planes). There are also usually pony rides and various locations for arts and crafts for kids.
Community Stage Schedule
In addition to the above festival activities, the Canada Day celebrations at Abbotsford Exhibition Park feature free outdoor cultural entertainment in the afternoon and concerts in the evening.
Below is a list of the entertainers and groups that performed on the Community Stage last year in the afternoon. We expect 2021 details to be similar.
- 1:25 pm – Gurmat Centre Gatka
- 1:40 pm – Freestyle Dance
- 2:00 pm – Matsqui Youth Drumming
- 2:25 pm – Valley Stars
- 2:45 pm – Mayday Youth Choir
- 3:05 pm – Abbotsford Arts Academy
- 3:40 pm – Creative Edge
- 4:00 pm – Sada Virsa
Below is a list of the entertainers that performed on the Community Stage in 2019 in the evening:
- 6:00 pm – Jen Hodge
- 6:50 pm – Jada Klein
- 7:20 pm – Ben Cottrill
- 7:45 pm – The Crescent Sky
- 8:40 pm – Saint Soldier
- 9:10 pm – Krystle Dos Santos
Abbotsford Canada Day Fireworks
A number of Canada Day celebrations in the Lower Mainland feature evening fireworks. There are pyrotechnic shows in Vancouver off a barge near Canada Place, as well as at July 1st events in Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Surrey, West Vancouver and White Rock.
Abbotsford too finishes its Canada Day event with its own fireworks displays starting at 10 pm.
For further details about the July 1st event at Exhibition Park, click Canada Day in Abbotsford.
- For more information about the town and surrounding area, click Abbotsford or Fraser Valley.
- For a list of August Long Weekend events in other parts of the Lower Mainland, click Vancouver Canada Day Events.