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.
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, the Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver, Canada Place and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.
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, and then festivities at the park 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
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. 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 at Canada Place
Aboriginal Celebrations at Canada Place are celebrated early – usually on the weekend just prior to June 21st, at Canada Place from 10 am to 5 pm. Event activities include live entertainment, pow wow drumming workshops, storytelling and more.
In 2017 the event at Canada Places took place on Saturday, June 17, from 10 am to 5 pm. 2018 details are to be confirmed.
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 3 pm. Click National Aboriginal Day in Richmond for more information.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
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.