The Victoria Day Long Weekend is May 15-18 and there is so much to do in the Lower Mainland including a rodeo, car show, festivals and Victorian parties.
HOLIDAY WEEKEND AND COVID-19
The Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the spring of 2020. As a result, gatherings of over 50 people have been prohibited since April. Because of this, hundreds of events have been cancelled, including ones on the May Long Weekend in Vancouver.
Health authorities are advising people to stay home and not to travel. That being said, on May 6th the BC Government announced plans to start reopening some parts of the province and allow certain businesses to resume operations beginning in mid-May. This includes restaurants, provincial parks and retail stores, although certain safety measures will need to be in place.
To learn more about the pandemic and its impact on the Lower Mainland, see our article about Vancouver, COVID-19 and Cancellations and Closures.
What to do during the Victoria Day Long Weekend in 2020
Top May Long Weekend activities in the Lower Mainland most years include the Cloverdale Rodeo (which has been cancelled for 2020) and the Vancouver All British Field Meet car show at VanDusen Garden (which has been postponed).
Also on the holiday weekend most years are the GoFest Outdoor Festival at Whistler, the Royal Victorian Party at Stewart Farm and celebratory activities at Fort Langley. All of these too, to the best of our knowledge, have also been cancelled this year because of the pandemic.
Vancouver and Lower Mainland Parks & Beaches
Provided the weather is good, top places to be in Metro Vancouver this year will be area parks. Most city and regional parks remain open, despite the COVID-19 virus. Provincial parks like Alice Lake near Squamish, Bridal Veil Falls and Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley, and Rolley Lake near Mission are also all scheduled to reopen on May 14th (so just in time for the holiday weekend).
Most other provincial parks in the Lower Mainland remain closed for a while, so won’t be open in time for Victoria Day. Those that are open, consequently, will likely be exceptionally busy. If you plan to visit one, go early in the day before the crowds!
If the weather is hot (like it was on the second weekend of May in 2020), area beaches will also be popular places on the May Long Weekend. Note that some, like Second Beach and Third Beach in Stanley Park, still aren’t accessible by vehicles (as of the second weekend in May). Some others also continue to have closed parking lots to prevent too many people from showing up. Other beaches though will be accessible, and no doubt crowded. Be sure to maintain appropriate physical distancing wherever you go!
In addition to parks, VanDusen Botanical Garden is also open. It reopened on May 1st after being closed for a few weeks. Only a limited number of people are allowed in at any one time, however, and tickets have already sold out for the Victoria Day Long Weekend. The garden remains open however, so you can still visit on another day.
For a list of parks in the Lower Mainland click Vancouver Parks and Places in Nature.
For a list of places to hang out on the sand see our article about Vancouver’s Best Beaches.
Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair
In 2020 the Cloverdale Rodeo was scheduled to take place in Surrey from Friday, May 15, until Monday, May 18. Because of health concerns regarding the coronavirus, however, the event has been cancelled.
In years when it does occur, at the rodeo there are bucking broncos, barrel races, bull riding competitions and more.
At the fair there is also country music, midway rides and every kind of farm animal you can think of. Kids will love it!
Fireworks displays are usually on the Friday starting at around 9:30 pm, and the parade takes place on Saturday from 10:00 am until noon. 2020 details are to be confirmed.
Check out the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair for more information.
Vancouver All British Field Meet
Hundreds of classic British cars were going to be on display at VanDusen Garden on Saturday, May 16, in 2020. On March 24, however, it was announced that, due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus, the event has been postponed until later in the summer. The new dates, however, are to be confirmed.
May is one of the best times of the year to see the gardens anyway, so this weekend is usually a perfect time to visit VanDusen, even if you aren’t a total car fanatic.
At the event there are close to 500 vehicles including MGs, Jaguars, Minis and pretty much every imaginable type of British-made car. Every year there are some ultra-special editions too. A couple of years ago Canadian artist Robert Bateman’s 1950’s “Grizzly Torque” Land Rover was on display, as was an Austin-Healey Frogeye and a Jaguar XK120.
If you like British cars and it’s a sunny day, in years when the event does take place, there is no better place you’ll want to be!
Click Vancouver All British Field Meet for more information.
Go-Fest at Whistler
All long weekend, most years, there are outdoor festival activities up at Whistler‘s Go Fest, an outdoor festival celebrating the end of winter and the start of the summer season. In 2020 the event was scheduled to take place on the weekend of May 17-20. It too, however, won’t be happening this year thanks to COVID-19.
At the resort there are concerts, films, art displays, a golf tournament, bike races and a wide range of outdoor sport activities to both watch and participate in. Free headliner concerts in recent years have included performances by 54-40 and Dear Rouge. 2021 entertainment will be comparable.
In a normal year, when there isn’t a pandemic, if you miss the car show at VanDusen Garden on the Saturday in Vancouver, you can catch the cars again up at Whistler on the Sunday at the Creekside Village Plaza. There aren’t be quite as many cars as there are at the VanDusen event, but there are still lots of beautiful classic British wheels on display.
Click Whistler Go Fest for more information.
Royal Victorian Party at Stewart Farm
Stewart Farm is a historic site at Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey. On either the Saturday or Sunday of the long weekend they celebrate Victoria day with a Royal Victorian Party which features a variety of dance performances, old-fashioned ice cream making, and a visit by the Queen (or at least someone pretending to be her).
The event usually takes place on the Sunday. In 2020, however, the farm is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, unless a miracle occurs, the event will no doubt not be happening this year.
For more information on the old-fashioned celebrations at Stewart Farm, check out Royal Victorian Party. And feel free to come dressed up in your favourite royalty costume – you probably won’t be the only one.
Victoria Day at Fort Langley
Fort Langley is a great place to take the family any time of the year, but especially when they have special events, like their Victoria Day celebrations on the holiday Monday.
Festivities in Langley include a wonderful parade, community events in the park and activities at the historic fort. The event was scheduled for Monday, May 18, in 2020. Due to the coronavirus, however, it too has been cancelled.
Check out Fort Langley May Long Weekend for more details.
Royal Canadian Circus
The Royal Canadian Family Circus is in Richmond over the May Long Weekend most years, although not in 2020. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the circus’ 2020 North American tour has been cancelled. It will be back again though in 2021.
When it is in town, the circus shows are very highly recommended, especially for families! There are no exotic animals (which is great), but there are numerous world-class acts.
Some of the performers from the Royal Canadian International Circus’ show a couple of years ago appeared in the Hugh Jackman film “The Greatest Showman.” The 2019 performer lineup was equally impressive, as will be the show in 2021.
Tickets for the circus start at just $25 (but see below for information on how to save).
TIP #1: If you use the promo code VansBestPlaces when purchasing General Admission tickets for the circus you’ll get 2-for-1 pricing! (Note: the promo code is good for General Admission, not VIP and Ringside seats.)
TIP #2: Richmond isn’t the only Lower Mainland stop for the circus most years. The Royal Canadian Family Circus will also likely be in both Vancouver and Surrey in 2021 too.
For more great activities in the month of May, check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ May Calendar.
And for even more ideas on things to do during the May long weekend, check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ in Parks and Nature. It’s spring time, so get out an enjoy Vancouver’s beautiful outdoors!
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Festivals & Events
- What’s Happening This Weekend
- Mother’s Day in Vancouver
- Father’s Day in Vancouver
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Best Places for Children