A lot happens in Vancouver on the September Labour Day Long Weekend most years including concerts, festivals, markets and the PNE.
In 2021 Labour Day takes place on Monday, September 6th.
LABOUR DAY AND COVID-19
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, most major festivals and events in Vancouver last summer were cancelled, including ones that were scheduled to take place on the September Long Weekend.
Events taking place on the Labour Day Weekend in 2021 include the Pacific National Exhibition and the Odlum Brown Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival. The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival is also happening over the long weekend, as are lots of activities at North Vancouver’s Shipyards. Attractions like Imagine Van Gogh and the Da Vinci Experience are also open.
September Long Weekend in the Lower Mainland in 2021 and Typical Years
Wondering how to make the most of your time before school starts back up and life returns to normal (or at least as close to normal as possible)? Then have fun getting the most out of the last few days of summer at any one of a number of great Labour Day Weekend activities. Click on the blue links that interest you below, or scroll further down for details on them all.
Events that are confirmed for 2021 include the following:
- Odlum Brown Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival – the festival takes place both online and in-person this year (and in September instead of July).
- The Pacific National Exhibition – amusement rides, music and fair activities at the PNE.
- Chilliwack Sunflower Festival – fields of beautiful flowers on a farm in the Fraser Valley.
- Shipyards District – various activities are happening in the Lower Lonsdale District of North Vancouver.
- Bands on the Beach – free live music at Harrison Hot Springs.
- Other Events – other activities including night markets, farmers markets and more.
Odlum Brown Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival
The Odlum Brown Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival normally happens on a weekend in July. It got postponed until the September Long Weekend in 2020. It is, however, happening in 2021!
This year the festival takes place from September 2nd to the 5th. Some performances are online, while others are in-person. Over 20 bands perform this year and the festival features 9 free outdoor performances. Bands include the RazzMaJazz Brigade, Amber Tsang Trio, Red Haven and more.
For full details see the Jazz Festival’s website.
The Pacific National Exhibition (“the PNE”)
The PNE Fair
Without a doubt, the PNE is the weekend favourite for hundreds of thousands of Vancouverites most years. At only about $18 or so for adults and free for children under 5 most years (not including rides), it’s arguably the best annual fair deal in Canada.
In 2021, the PNE runs from August 21st to September 6th, meaning it takes place over the Labour Day Long Weekend as it normally does. As the fair is somewhat limited compared to more normal years there is a reduced cost of $15 for adults. With that said it’s still a fun in-person event, with many of the activities that are summer staples in Vancouver.
To learn more about what’s happening this year at the PNE see our article about the Pacific National Exhibition.
Chilliwack Sunflower Festival
In Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley
The Chilliwack Sunflower Festival features acres and acres of both sunflowers and dahlias on a farm in Chilliwack. It’s usually open from early August until the middle of September (but exact dates depend on the weather and summer growing conditions).
The 2021 Sunflower Festival runs from July 26th until at least the Labour Day Weekend. Special precautionary measures are in place.
In addition to fields of flowers to admire and stroll around, the event offers tractors to climb on, kid-friendly activities and amazing photo opportunities.
For more information, click Chilliwack Sunflower Festival.
Activities in the Shipyards District
The Shipyards District is an area in North Vancouver that stretches from Lonsdale Quay (by the SeaBus terminal) to the Burrard Drydock (which is also known as Shipbuilders’ Pier). It’s an interesting place to visit any time of the year, but especially on weekends and in the summer. The Labour Day Weekend in 2021 is no exception.
In 2021 a number of things happen on weekends in the summer, including on the weekend of September 3rd to 5th. For example, there’s a beer garden on Cates Deck and another one with Shipyards Live at Shipbuilders’ Square. Admission to both venues is free and live music plays at various times.
Also at the Shipyards on the Labour Day Weekend in 2021, there is the North Shore Artisan Market in the Pipe Shop on the Friday. The Lonsdale Quay is also a very interesting place and open seven days a week. On the Saturday, right outside the Lonsdale Quay Public Market, there is the Lonsdale Farmers Market.
Also good to note, in the same neighbourhood on September 25th, 2021, the Shipyards Festival takes place. On that day the entire area will be full of stages with bands and other live family-friendly entertainment. It’s a fabulous event and admission is free!
Bands on the Beach
At Harrison Hot Springs
The beautiful resort town of Harrison Hot Springs hosts its annual Bands on the Beach event which features free live music by the lake. Bring your lawn chair and listen to the concerts on the beach in the afternoon on both the Saturday and Sunday.
The music this weekend includes everything from Indie to Country to Bluegrass.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. It’s happening in 2021, however, on the Saturday and Sunday of September 4th and 5th.
TIP #1: While at Harrison Hot Springs, make the most out of your trip and check out some of the area’s attractions. Highlights include the beach at nearby Sasquatch Provincial Park, the Harrison Water Park, and boat rides with Shoreline Tours.
TIP #2: Arrive well before noon to improve your chances of finding convenient parking.
TIP #3: Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Click Bands on the Beach for more information.
Many of Vancouver’s regular weekly summer events also occur over the September Long Weekend most years. See below for more details.
- Imagine Van Gogh – the art exhibition at the Vancouver Convention Centre runs until October 15th in 2021, so during both the Labour Day and Thanksgiving long weekends.
- Da Vinci Experience – a touring attraction showcasing the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci at Tsawwassen Mills.
- Richmond Night Market – on all four days of the Long Weekend in 2021.
- Bard on the Beach – Vancouver’s famous Shakespearean theatre. (Taking place as an online event in 2021.)
- Saturday Farmers Markets – great places to pick up long weekend picnic supplies on the Saturday can be found in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Fort Langley, Lonsdale Quay, Maple Ridge, Squamish, Trout Lake and the West End.
- Sunday Farmers Markets – taking place as they do most weekends in the summer at Ambleside, Coquitlam, Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant, White Rock and Whistler.
- Taiwanese Cultural Festival – a cultural event in downtown Vancouver.
- BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival – celebrations of Scottish sports and culture at Coquitlam’s Lafarge Lake. (September 3 & 4, 2021.)
- Nikkei Matsuri – a small Japanese festival at the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby.
Other Things to do in September
Looking for other things to do in September in the Lower Mainland on different days and weekends? Then check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ September Calendar of Events. Or, if you just want to find a beautiful place to hang out, check out Vancouver’s best places in parks and nature.
Happy End of Summer Holidays!