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Granville Island Events on Canada Day

Granville Island on Canada Day

July 1st is celebrated on Vancouver’s Granville Island with a parade. There are other free activities including live music to enjoy there on Canada Day as well.

There wasn’t a parade at Granville Island in 2022, nor other major Canada Day-theme activities like there have been in past years. There were free Vancouver Jazz Festival concerts, and a few other smaller Canada Day activities. There were other things to do in the area on the July Long Weekend too, just not as much as in pre-pandemic years.

As of the beginning of June, what’s happening on Granville Island on July 1st in 2023 is still to be confirmed. There will likely be Vancouver Jazz Festival performances. Hopefully there will be other activities too.


Canada Day Celebrations on Vancouver’s Granville Island

Granville Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Lower Mainland. The district is home to a unique selection of stores and restaurants, along with stunning waterfront views of downtown Vancouver.

Canada Day celebrations take place on Granville Island almost every year. Due to COVID-19, in 2020 the in-person festivities were cancelled, as they were everywhere else in the country. No big July 1st celebrations happened there in 2021 either. In 2022 there were several activities to enjoy.

Most of the special activities are free for people to enjoy on Canada Day at Granville Island. It’s a fun place to be on July 1st.


Vancouver's Playland at the PNE


Canada Day Parade and Official Ceremony

Granville Island normally hosts a parade that is immediately followed by an official Canada Day ceremony. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a parade in 2022. Details of 2023’s Canada Day celebrations on Granville Island are still to be confirmed.

When the parade took place in previous years, it commenced near the Ocean Concrete facility at 1:30 pm. It then continued until it reached Ron Basford Park at the eastern tip of the island. The ceremonies started at 2:00 pm in the same park and lasted for about 30 minutes.

Interestingly, the parade at Granville Island is usually the main one for Canada Day within the City of Vancouver. There used to be a huge parade in downtown Vancouver, but it had its final year in 2017. There are other parades still though in other communities within the Lower Mainland.


Granville Island Canada Day Parade
Canada Day Parade


Special Activities

On Canada Day there are usually special activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Each activity is typically only available at certain hours, so it’s a good idea to plan your day in advance (unless you plan to hang out there all day).

In 2022 there was a False Creek Ferries Water Ballet from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. This is an annual tradition where a full fleet of boats sail on False Creek waters. Also taking place that year was the Granville Island Puzzle Challenge and Scavenger Hunt, which was free to enter.

Another interesting activity at Granville Island’s Canada Day event is the Opus Art Painting Adventure running from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Participants start at the Opus Art Supplies store and then go to different areas to paint. The paintings go on display in a small gallery and there are over $15,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Other activities in 2022 included live painting by an artist at the Picnic Pavilion, and a session about flowers at Railspur Alley West. Various food trucks were on the island as well. The Lobster Man also hosted its annual cook-out with lobster and corn on the cob.

There are also a variety of activities for kids to enjoy on Canada Day at Granville Island. Behind the Kids Market at 1496 Cartwright Street, there is a hula hoop demonstration and an arts and crafts table, plus balloon twisting and face painting stations. The activities are available from 11:00 am until 5:30 pm. Granville Island is also home to a spray park which is a great place for kids to beat the summer heat. It’s open all summer most years, but is especially busy on days like July 1st.


Granville Island on Canada Day
Triangle Square on Canada Day


Live Entertainment on the July 1st

Canada Day happens to take place during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (which in 2023 runs from June 23rd until July 2nd). Granville Island visitors are treated to live jazz music at various times during the festival, but especially so all afternoon and evening on July 1st. More than 10 bands usually participate, and each performs at different times and locations.

On Canada Day in 2022 there were performances by Sharon Minemoto Quartet, Strange Worlds Trio and DJ Handsome Tiger at Ocean Art Works. Performance Works was where people could enjoy live entertainment by OA4 and Andy Milne and Unison.

Check out our article on Free Jazz Festival Concerts to see the full schedule.

In addition to the live jazz, there are usually roving performers and buskers found all throughout Granville Island on Canada Day. It all makes for a fun, affordable and family-friendly time.


Granville Island Canada Day Concert
Jazz Concert at Ron Basford Park


Shopping Opportunities

Granville Island is a popular place for shopping. The Public Market is where you’ll find high quality fruit, vegetables, meats, chocolates, baked goods and much more. The food court has everything from pizzas to fish and chips.

There was a small artisan market on Canada Day in 2019 that took place from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm in Triangle Square, which is just across the street from The Public Market. The Net Loft building is nearby and it contains many unique specialty stores. For example, there’s a shop full of handmade pottery and another that has millions of beads.

The Kids Market is a favourite place for children to explore. The building contains two floors of amazing stores that sell specialty toys, kites, clothes, sweets and more. It is usually open on Canada Day. There is also an indoor play area for children at the Kids Market in case the weather isn’t good enough for the outdoor spray park.

See our Shopping on Granville Island article for further details  (including a video) about stores in the area.


Other Information

For more information about the district in general, click Granville Island.

To learn more about the venue on July 1st, see the Granville Island website.

Other articles that may be of interest include: