June 21 is National Aboriginal Day each year and there are several ways to celebrate the occasion and experience First Nation’s culture in Vancouver and the surrounding region.
Note: Unlike in previous years, the Port of Metro Vancouver will not be hosting National Aboriginal Day celebrations at Canada Place in 2018. Festivities will however still be happening at Trout Lake, Steveston Village and other locations. See below for details.
Aboriginal Day in the Lower Mainland
Best places to enjoy First Nations dancing, art and festivities in the Lower Mainland include Trout Lake at John Hendry Park and various other locations from the Fraser Valley to Whistler.
Click on any of the following links to jump to event details at a specific location, or continue reading to learn about National Aboriginal Day Celebrations throughout the Lower Mainland:
National Aboriginal Day at Trout Lake
Vancouver’s main National Aboriginal Day celebrations begin with a pancake breakfast on June 21st at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre at 1607 East Hastings Street.
The breakfast is followed later in the morning with a Friendship Walk starting at 11 am from the Friendship Centre to Trout Lake along Commercial Drive. Festivities at the park then continue from noon until the evening.
Celebrations at Trout Lake feature First Nations dance performances, canoeing, art displays and cultural learning opportunities.
The June 21st National Aboriginal Day celebrations at Trout Lake are free and everyone is welcome.
Click Trout Lake Aboriginal Day Celebrations for more information.
Bill Reid Gallery (in Vancouver)
To commemorate National Aboriginal Day, most (but not all) years the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art downtown is free to the public on June 21st between 2 and 5 pm. In 2018, the gallery will in fact be free all day on National Aboriginal Day.
There isn’t usually dancing and entertainment like at Trout Lake, but with free admission it’s a great time to visit the gallery and see some exceptional Northwest Coast First Nations art.
Click Bill Reid Gallery for more on the Gallery.
Aboriginal Day in Fort Langley
National Aboriginal Day activities take place at the historic site of Fort Langley on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The schedule for the day is the following:
- 11 am – Guided Tour
- 12 pm – Walking Tour with Fern Gabriel
- 1 pm – Drumming and Singing performance
- 2 pm – Bake Oven Demonstration
- 3 pm – Guided Tour
Click Fort Langley for further details about the site and the event.
National Aboriginal Day in Maple Ridge
Maple Ridge celebrates the day with activities at the Memorial Peace Park on Saturday, June 23. From 10 am until 2 pm there is Indigenous dancing, music and other cultural activities, as well as a Bannock cook-off, farmers market, games and crafts.
Click Aboriginal Day in Maple Ridge for further details.
National Aboriginal Day in Mission
Aboriginal Day celebrations are hosted by the Mission Friendship Centre on Thursday, June 21, 2018. They take place at Fraser River Heritage Park at 7494 Mary Street from 1 until 6 pm.
Entertainment includes jingle, fancy, tot and hoop dancers. There is also drumming, a silent auction, balloon animal making, bouncy castles, face painting and both food and artisan vendors. It’s definitely a family-friendly event!
Click Mission Aboriginal Day Celebrations for more information.
Indigenous Peoples Day in Port Moody
Activities run from 6 until 9 pm and include drumming, singing and a free community feast. Bring your own picnic blanket, plate and eating utensils.
See the Port Moody Ecology Society‘s website for more details.
National Aboriginal Day in Richmond
Celebratory activities take place outside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston Village on Saturday, June 23, in 2018, from 1 to 4 pm.
Click National Aboriginal Day in Richmond for more information.
National Aboriginal Day in Surrey
Activities are on Thursday, June 21, and run between 3 and 8 pm. A free community barbeque takes place from 4:30 until 6:30 pm. All are welcome.
See the City of Surrey‘s website for more information.
National Aboriginal Day in Whistler
If you happen to be up at Whistler, then the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a good place to be. Their main National Aboriginal Day celebrations take place most years on the Sunday prior to June 21st.
In some years (but not all) admission on the day they celebrate National Aboriginal Day is free for children.
Click Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for more information on the Centre.
For information about other related events at other times of the year, click Lower Mainland First Nations.
For a list of other types of events throughout the year, click Festivals & Events Calendar.