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 BC declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus in the spring of 2020. As of the spring of 2021, the state of emergency is still in place. Health authorities continue to advise people against non-essential travel. Since the fall of last year, people are also only allowed to socialize with people from within their own households.
Some events will likely still happen over the holiday weekend in 2021, but in modified formats. A few might get cancelled. Events like the Cloverdale Rodeo, meanwhile have been postponed (with the hope of happening later this year if possible).
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 postponed for 2021) and the Vancouver All British Field Meet car show at VanDusen Garden (which may or may not still happen in some format).
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. The statuses of all of these events are to be determined 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. City and regional parks are open, as are provincial parks like Alice Lake near Squamish, Bridal Veil Falls and Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley, and Rolley Lake near Mission). Last year many parks were actually closed. Fortunately that doesn’t look likely this year.
If the weather is hot (like it was in mid-May last year), area beaches will also be popular places on the May Long Weekend.
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
Last year the Cloverdale Rodeo was cancelled because of health concerns regarding the coronavirus. It was scheduled to happen on the long weekend in 2021. In early March, however, organizers announced that this year’s rodeo has been postponed until a future date that is yet to be determined.
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. 2021 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. The event got cancelled, however, because of the COVID-19 virus. 2021 details 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.
In years when it does take place, 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 cancelled thanks to COVID-19. Whether it happens again in 2021 or not is to be determined. As of early April, however, it’s not looking likely.
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. Entertainment in future years 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 was completely closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Whether the event can happen in 2021 is to be determined.
In years when you can attend the event, while in the area, consider also going down the road a ways and visiting the nearby seaside resort town of White Rock, or go for a stroll along nearby Crescent Beach.
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 got cancelled last year. 2021 details are to be confirmed.
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 or 2021. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the circus’ 2020 North American tour was completely cancelled, and its 2021 shows in the Lower Mainland were also cancelled.
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 the next time the circus is in town.
Tickets for the circus start at just $25 (but see below for information on how to save).
TIP #1: If you used the promo code VansBestPlaces when purchasing General Admission tickets for the circus in previous years you got 2-for-1 pricing! (Note: The promo code was good for General Admission, not VIP and Ringside seats.) 2021 details are to be confirmed.
TIP #2: Richmond isn’t the only Lower Mainland stop for the circus most years. The Royal Canadian Family Circus will also hopefully 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