The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is having an impact on festivals and events in Vancouver and causing many to be cancelled or postponed.
See below for a list of coronavirus-related closures and cancellations, as well as general information about COVID-19 and its impact on Vancouver. For a list of venues that are open, click Open and Reopening Vancouver Places.
This article includes the following information:
COVID-19 Impact on Vancouver Events and Attractions
In this article you’ll find information about the coronavirus, and where to get more detailed information. We also list Vancouver events and attractions that have been cancelled because of COVID-19. Our list isn’t exhaustive, but it does include many of the events and venues affected.
Now is a good time to stay close to home, wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your face. It’s also a time to continue to enjoy life, and do things, but to be extra cautious as well. Keep safe and be responsible!
COVID-19 Cases in Vancouver
As of January 25th, 2021, the virus has infected 64,828 people in this province (which is 346 more than the previous day). Of these, some 57,831 people (or 89.2%) have already recovered. 1,154 people (or 1.78%), however, have died. There have also been over 753,000 reported cases of the virus in Canada as a whole.
Also as of January 25th, the Vancouver Coastal Health Region has had 14,774 cases (including 132 in the previous 24 hours and 912 currently active cases). The Fraser Health Region, meanwhile, has had 39,364 (including 178 since the previous day and 1,703 currently active cases). To date, 119,850 British Columbians have also been vaccinated.
The first of the two above regions includes the City of Vancouver, North Shore, Richmond, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky region and Whistler. The Vancouver Coastal Health Region serves approximately 1.25 million people.
The Fraser Health Region, meanwhile, is comprised of most other municipalities within the Lower Mainland including Delta, Burnaby, the Tri-Cities, Surrey and communities further east and in the Fraser Valley. It serves a population of about 1.8 million people.
Some of the latest casualties of the pandemic include the Whistler Pride & Ski Festival and Vancouver Comic and Toy Show, both of which have been recently cancelled for 2021. The Pet Lover Show which normally happens in March has also been postponed.
As per government orders, until February 5th, 2021, at the earliest, social gatherings are not allowed with people from outside one’s own household or core bubble. (A core bubble can include your child, a partner or co-parent, or one or two people if you live alone.) Public events are also prohibited.
The above restrictions include worship services and other religious gatherings. Spectators are also not allowed at any sport activities (including children’s team games). Also, and very importantly, everyone has to wear face masks in all indoor public places (except school classrooms for some strange reason). Dining at restaurants is still allowed, but just with members of your household.
Under the latest health orders, non-essential travel is strongly discouraged.
To learn more about the state of the pandemic and what the government is doing about COVID-19, visit the gov.bc.ca/covid19 website.
Cancelled Events Due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021
Below are events which normally take place in the winter and spring, but not in the early winter and spring of 2021.
Note: The following list is not an exhaustive list. Some festivals and events not in our list are likely also cancelled, or will become so. Also, some events that are “cancelled” in their usual in-person formats are still taking place, but now in online and digital formats.
Cancelled Events for 2021
- Robson Square Ice Skating – BC’s Minister of Citizens’ Services, Lisa Beare, announced on December 8th that the free ice skating in downtown Vancouver was cancelled for the entire 2020/21 winter season.
- Vancouver Boat Show – the international boat show at Granville Island and BC Place Stadium would normally have taken place in February of 2021. Now it won’t happen until 2022 at the earliest.
- Vancouver International Wine Show – the prestigious festival was going to run from February 20th to 28th in 2021, but it has now been cancelled. Smaller wine-themed events might still happen, although exact details are to be determined.
- Whistler Pride and Ski Festival – the LGBTQ-themed series of events were going to happen in late January. Now though they won’t happen again until January 23rd to 30th in 2022.
- Vancouver Comic and Toy Show – a trade show featuring comics, art and collectible items. It was scheduled for February 28th, 2021, but has since been cancelled.
Cancelled Events During the Christmas Season of 2020/21
- Bright Nights – the Christmas lights and miniature train rides were going to happen at Stanley Park from December 8th until January 1st.
- Canyon Lights – the holiday illuminations at Capilano Bridge were cancelled as an official event. The attraction itself remained open, however, and the lights were on until 6:30 pm each evening.
- Festival of Lights – the Christmas light displays at VanDusen Garden were going to happen from December 8th until January 3rd. Unfortunately, the event got cancelled before it had a chance to start. The Gardens themselves, however, remained open during the day.
- Heritage Christmas – the winter holiday attraction at Burnaby Village was going to start up on November 21st (but never did because of the pandemic).
- Lights at LaFarge – the Christmas lights event at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam was officially cancelled on October 27th, 2020.
- Lights by the Lake – the Christmas light displays at Harrison Hot Springs were scheduled to run from November 21st until January 10th. As of November 22nd, however, the event was cancelled (at least for people from out of town).
- Loft Country Christmas – the annual event on a farm in Langley was cancelled for 2020.
- Gingerbread Lane – the gingerbread house competition at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
- Holiday Cheer at the Pier – the annual event in Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park that usually features a miniature train, photos with Santa Claus and other family-friendly activities was cancelled for 2020.
- Holiday Hi-Light Festival – the annual Christmas lights event at Park & Tilford Mall in North Vancouver was cancelled for 2020. Also, as of mid-November, the gardens were closed completely to the public.
- Vancouver Christmas Market – the German-themed holiday market at Jack Poole Plaza that normally runs from late November until Christmas Eve.
Closed Vancouver Attractions Due to COVID-19
As of mid-January, 2021, Lower Mainland venues that have closed, at least temporarily, are listed below. In some cases, they may have since reopened.
(Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Many attractions and places of interest not in our list may also be closed. Also, listed venues may re-open at any time. In fact, some of the ones we have listed have likely already re-opened. For the most up-to-date status of specific places, see official venue websites.)
Closed Places in the City of Vancouver
The following are tourist attractions, entertainment venues and other places of interested within the City of Vancouver that have closed because of COVID-19.
Closed City of Vancouver Tourist Attractions
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden – the classical Chinese garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown is closed from October 19th until sometime in 2021.
- H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – the space centre and planetarium in Vanier Park are closed until further notice, but online and outdoor programs have become available. As of December 2020, the venue was also offering on-site events, but not every day, and the general exhibits still aren’t open to the public.
- OMNIMAX Theatre at Science World – the science museum is open, but the IMAX theatre is not.
- UBC Botanical Gardens – the garden at the University of British Columbia suspended operations in the spring of 2020, but then re-opened with new safety measures and hours as of July 3rd. It closed again, however, for at least the month of January in 2021. As of the fall of 2020, the Nitobe Japanese Garden was closed until the spring of 2021.
- Vancouver Aquarium – the aquarium in Stanley Park reopened to the public on June 26th. It is closed again until further notice, however, as of September 7th, 2020.
- Vancouver Lookout – the attraction in Gastown has been closed since the spring. As of end of the summer, it has reopened for groups wanting to book the entire venue. People, however, can’t book individual tickets.
Closed City of Vancouver Entertainment Venues
- Arts Club Theatre – plays at the company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance, Granville Island and Goldcorp stages ceased operations in the spring and summer. Plays started back up again in the fall, but then shut down once more beginning on November 20th.
- BC Place Stadium – most events at the facility have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
- Firehall Arts Centre – all shows at the venue have been cancelled for at least the period of November 20th until February 5th, 2021.
- Rogers Arena – the hockey arena and entertainment venue has either postponed or cancelled all upcoming live in-person events.
Other Closed City of Vancouver Places of Interest
- Cruise Ships – since the spring of 2020, passenger cruise ships haven’t been allowed to operate in Canada. As October, 2020, the ban is in effect until at least March of 2021.
- Prospect Point – this restaurant and gift shop overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge in Stanley Park temporarily closed in the spring. It reopened for a couple of months beginning on July 8th, but then closed again in early September.
- Rocky Mountaineer – the local passenger train company had initially suspended operations until at least the end of August. In late July, however, they cancelled the entire remainder of the 2020 season. Operations will hopefully be able to resume around April 2021.
- Westcoast Sightseeing – Vancouver’s big sightseeing bus company ceased operations in the spring, started back up in the summer and then “paused” once again in the fall. It hopes to start back up again in the spring.
Closed Places on the North Shore
- Baden Powell Trail – the portions of the trail that run through Lynn Canyon Park and up Quarry Rock have been temporarily closed to the public.
- Capilano River Hatchery – a fish hatchery at the Capilano River Regional Park in North Vancouver. It was closed for most of the spring and summer, reopened in September, and then closed again in November.
- Lynn Canyon Park – the suspension bridge in the park is closed until further notice.
- Quarry Rock in Deep Cove – the hiking trails up to the rock are closed until further notice.
Closed Places in Burnaby
- Burnaby Village – the outdoor museum at Deer Lake is normally closed this time of year. It was supposed to be open though over the Christmas holidays. Because of COVID-19, however, the venue’s annual Heritage Christmas attraction didn’t take place.
- Grand Villa Casino and other Gateway Casinos locations – the Burnaby casino announced it is closed as of March 17th, 2020. Other venues operated by Gateway Casinos have also suspended operations. These include Starlight Casino in New Westminster, Cascades Casino in Langley, Chances Squamish, Chances Mission and Chances Abbotsford. As of January, 2021, it appears that its status has not changed.
Closed Places in Richmond & Delta
- Apex Adventure Plex – the large Richmond trampoline park suspended operations at the beginning of December in 2020.
- London Heritage Farm – buildings at the historic site in Richmond are closed until further notice. The park itself remains open.
- River Rock Casino (and other Great Canadian locations) – the casino and hotel owned by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation announced that it was suspending operations at all its properties (which also include Hastings Racecourse, the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, Chances Maple Ridge and Elements Casinos in Surrey and Chilliwack) as of March 15th, 2020. The locations were all still closed as of December 2020.
- Watermania – the aquatic centre in Richmond is closed until further notice.
Closed Places in Surrey & White Rock
- Glades Garden Park – a park in Surrey that’s famous for rhododendrons and only open a few days per year. The venue’s annual Mother’s Day event was also cancelled for 2020. As of January 2021, the park was still closed.
- Stewart Farm – the farmhouse in Elgin Heritage Park is temporarily closed, but guided outdoor tours are available as of the middle of the summer.
- Museum of Surrey – the museum in Cloverdale has been open, but is closed for the month of January in 2021.
- Peace Arch Border – the border between USA and Canada is temporarily closed to non-essential travel and trade.
Closed Places the in Fraser Valley
- Kilby Farm – as of the middle of January, Kilby Museum is closed for the season. Parts of the campground, however, remain open to the public.
- Twilight Drive-In Theatre – the outdoor movie theatre venue in Langley had to close until further notice.
- Stave Falls – BC Hydro’s facility in Mission is temporarily closed.
Closed Places Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland
- Paintball Venues – paintball game centres throughout the Lower Mainland temporarily ceased operations. While Richmond Indoor Paintball and Ambush Paintball in Surrey have both reopened, Maple Ridge’s Delta Force Paintball remained closed as of the last time we checked.
- Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy – the comedy club in New Westminster had reopened in May (but with various safety measures in place including operating at a greatly reduced maximum capacity). It closed back down temporarily, however, and remains closed until further notice.
Note: The above is not a full list of venues closing, nor is the above a full list of festivals and events that have been cancelled. There are more, and no doubt more to come. We are updating the information over time and as best we can.
What You Can Do in a Vancouver Coronavirus World
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the coronavirus. They include washing your hands thoroughly, not touching your face, staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people, not traveling abroad, heeding health authority advice and staying home if you feel unwell.
There are things you can do to help your community too. They include reaching out to friends and neighbours and offering to help with things, like grocery shopping, if needed. But don’t buy more than you need at the grocery store and pharmacy!
Beaches, parks, and Places in Nature are ideal places to hang out at, especially on days with good weather. Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, Locarno Beach and English Bay Beach are all open, as are most parks in other municipalities.
As of the fall, a number of attractions now require that all visitors wear face masks. This includes the Vancouver Art Gallery, Science World, Roedde House and a few other places. Masks are also required for all passengers on BC Ferries, Harbour Air Seaplanes and Helijet. As of August 24th, masks are also required on TransLink public transit. Many other places also require masks including Starbucks coffee shops, FlyOver Canada, Superstore, IKEA stores and (as of October 5th) Vancity Credit Union branches).
Due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Vancouver-area attractions are increasing the thoroughness of their cleaning practices and taking extra precautions. Masks are required in many places and people are being reminded to wash their hands thoroughly, cover their mouths if they cough and stay home if they feel sick. Venues are also adding additional hand sanitizing stations around their facilities and increasing their cleaning efforts.
For information about the coronavirus, public health advisories and what you can do to protect yourself, see the following websites:
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- BC Centre for Disease Control
- Government of Canada
- BC Restart Plan
The Provincial Government has also created a self-assessment tool for people wanting to see if they should take extra precautions based on their personal conditions. This can be found at covid19.thrive.health. People with symptoms related to COVID-19 are also encouraged to call 811 and to do so before visiting their local medical clinic.
If you want to get outside and enjoy the Lower Mainland, but don’t want to get too close to other people, then see our article about Vancouver Parks & Nature. And for a list of attractions that you can still visit, click Open Places in Vancouver.