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 have reopened, 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 a bit of information about the coronavirus, and where to get more detailed information. We also list Vancouver events and attractions that have been cancelled or postponed because of COVID-19. Our list isn’t exhaustive, but it does include many of the events 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.
As of mid-October, 2020, some of the latest casualties of the pandemic and its economic impacts include Glow at the Garden at VanDusen Garden, the Vancouver Christmas Market and 2021’s Vancouver International Boat Show.
Capilano Bridge isn’t closing for good. It is ceasing operations temporarily, however, for the months of October and November. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is also closed from mid-October until next year, and the Hollyburn Country Club is closed indefinitely due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
A number of Oktoberfest and Halloween-themed events have also announced they won’t be operating in 2020, including North Vancouver’s Haunt of Edgemont and Potter’s House of Horrors in Surrey. Harvest Haus and Harvestland likely won’t be happening this year either. The Parade of Lost Souls has also been cancelled.
As of October 15th, 2020, the virus has infected 11,034 people in the province (which is 968 more than 7 days before). Of these, around 9,257 people (or 83.9%) have already recovered. 250 people (or 2.3%), however, have died. As of October 16th, there have also been over 194,000 reported cases of the virus in Canada as a whole. This places our country in 28th place compared to the rest of the world.
On September 8th, 2020, the provincial government announced new measures to combat the spread of the virus. As of this date, all Night Clubs and stand-alone banquet halls must close. Sales of alcohol in Pubs and Restaurants must also end at 10:00 pm, and the venues must close by 11:00 unless providing full menu services (so not just snacks and appetizers). The volume of music and televisions must also be lowered so people don’t have to yell to be heard.
Cancelled Vancouver Events Due to COVID-19 in 2020
Lower Mainland festivals and events listed below have been cancelled for 2020 as a result of concerns about the coronavirus. In brackets () are the dates that the events were originally scheduled to occur. In most cases, we expect the events to take place again in 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 format are still taking place, but now in online and digital formats.
Cancelled Events in the Fall and Winter
The following events which normally take place in the last four or so months of the year are not happening in 2020:
- Agassiz Fall Fair & Corn Festival – a small community event in the Fraser Valley (September 19th, 2020).
- Anmore Manor – a haunted house in Anmore in October.
- Bands on the Beach – the annual music festival in Harrison Hot Springs will not be taking place in person; however, some performances did take place virtually (September 5th, 2020).
- Burnaby’s Haunted Village – the Halloween attraction isn’t operating this year (at the end of October).
- Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market – a large artisan market at Chilliwack Heritage Park in November.
- Christmas at Hycroft – an upscale holiday artisan market in November.
- Circle Craft Market – a Christmas-themed artisan market at the Vancouver Convention Centre (November 11th to 15th, 2020).
- Classic & Custom Car Show – the auto show in Abbotsford was originally going to happen in April, but then got postponed until October. Now it won’t be happening until 2021.
- Coquitlam Christmas Craft Fair – a three-day holiday artisan market in December.
- Deer Lake Craft Festival – the holiday artisan market at Burnaby’s Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in November.
- Fort Langley Cranberry Festival – a large community event celebrating the harvest season in Fort Langley (October 10, 2020).
- Fright Nights – the haunted houses at the PNE aren’t operating this year. Instead of Fright Nights, however, the PNE is hosting Slayland which involves outdoor Halloween decorations and 20 Playland rides.
- Glow at the Garden – the annual Halloween event at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
- Haunt of Edgemont – a haunted house at a private residence in North Vancouver.
- Hopscotch Festival – a whisky-tasting event at the PNE in November.
- Maple Ridge Car Free Day – originally scheduled to take place on Father’s Day, and then postponed until September 27th, this event was eventually cancelled.
- Mission Nightmare Haunted House – the community Halloween attraction in Mission was officially cancelled as of October 2nd.
- Night for All Souls – an event honoring the deceased at Mountain View Cemetery in late October.
- Operation Red Nose – the non-profit get-home-safely program isn’t running over the Christmas holidays this year.
- Parade of Lost Souls – the annual event around Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood won’t be taking place this year (although there is a chance that they’ll do a small impromptu procession instead).
- River’s Edge: Knight’s Terror – the haunted attraction at the Mission Raceway Park in October has been cancelled for 2020.
- STA Christmas Craft Fair – a holiday artisan market at St. Thomas Aquinas School in North Vancouver.
- Stanley Park Ghost Train – the Halloween attraction with the miniature train isn’t taking place in 2020. Because of COVID-19, the train has been closed all spring and summer too.
- UBC Apple Festival – the fundraising event at the UBC Botanical Garden isn’t happening on the weekend after Thanksgiving as it usually does.
- Vancouver Christmas Market – the German-themed holiday market at Jack Poole Plaza that normally runs from late November until Christmas Eve.
- Vancouver Halloween Expo – the annual trade show-style event and its accompanying parade both got cancelled (October 9 to 11, 2020).
- Vancouver Halloween Parade – the family-friendly event won’t be part of the Thanksgiving Long Weekend as originally planned.
- Vancouver Train Expo – the model train event at the PNE Forum won’t now be taking place until the first weekend in November in 2021.
Events normally taking place early in the year are now also starting to get cancelled. This includes the following for 2021:
- Vancouver International Boat Show – the event normally happens at BC Place and Granville Island in February, but not in 2021.
Closed Vancouver Attractions Due to COVID-19
As of early September, Lower Mainland venues that closed, at least temporarily, are listed below. In some cases, they 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.)
- Baden Powell Trail – the portions of the trail that runs through Lynn Canyon Park and up Quarry Rock have been temporarily closed to the public.
- BC Place Stadium – most events at the facility have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
- Canada Place – the Vancouver landmark itself isn’t closed, but the facility is certainly being affected. Cruise ships aren’t allowed to dock until October at the earliest. Small meetings are only beginning to be held there as of late June, and the FlyOver Canada attraction at Canada Place has reopened.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – the attraction closed in the spring but then reopened in the summer. It’s closed again for the months of October and November. It plans to resume operations though in December.
- Cypress Mountain – the West Vancouver ski hill announced on March 15th that it would be ceasing operations at the end of the day until further notice. Hopefully it will reopen for the 2020/21 ski season.
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden – the classical Chinese garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown is closed from October 19th until 2021.
- Gateway Theatre – the community theatre in Richmond cancelled its From Alaska production scheduled for April 16th to April 25th. As of mid-June, the theatre will open for summer camps in July. However, the 2020/2021 theatre season is not starting until December 2020.
- 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 the end of August, 2020, the park was still closed.
- 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 early September, 2020, its status has not changed..
- 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.
- Krause Berry Farm – the Langley farm’s market store, winery and u-pick fields are all open. Their two main restaurants and kids’ play areas, however, have been closed for the 2020 season.
- London Heritage Farm – buildings at the historic site in Richmond are closed until further notice. The park itself remains open.
- Lynn Canyon Park – the main trail and suspension bridge in the park are closed until further notice.
- Mackin House Museum – the historic house is closed until further notice.
- 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.
- Paradise Valley – the privately-owned campground in Squamish was closed for a while, but then reopened on June 12th. Initially, however, only RVs are permitted (so no tenting), and the washrooms and shower facilities remained closed until further notice.
- Peace Arch Border – the border between USA and Canada is temporarily closed to non-essential travel and trade.
- 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.
- Quarry Rock in Deep Cove – the hiking trails up to the rock are closed until further notice.
- 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.
- Rocky Mountaineer – the local passenger train company had initially suspended operations until at least the end of August. In late July, however, they announced that they were cancelling the entire remainder of the 2020 season.
- Rogers Arena – the hockey arena and entertainment venue has either postponed or cancelled all upcoming events.
- Stanley Park Train – the miniature train at Stanley Park is closed for the foreseeable future.
- Stave Falls – BC Hydro’s facility is temporarily 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.
- Vancouver Aquarium – the aquarium in Stanley Park reopened to the public on June 26th. It is closed again, however, as of September 7th, 2020.
- Vancouver Convention Centre – events have been cancelled at the Convention Centre until conditions improve. As of the end of June, 2020, the place appeared to be slowly opening back up again.
- 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.
- Watermania – the aquatic centre in Richmond is closed until further notice.
Classes at all elementary, middle, and high schools as well as most Universities in BC were cancelled for a number of weeks. Many universities such as SFU, UBC, Capilano, BCIT, UVIC, Douglas College, Langara College, TRU and Trinity Western University have transitioned to online learning instead of face-to-face classes.
Surrey, Burnaby, Squamish, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, Langley, Coquitlam, Harrison Hot Springs, New Westminster, Whistler and North Vancouver temporarily closed all recreation centres, pools, public playgrounds, skateparks, sport courts, ice arenas and libraries. Some facilities have reopened, but not all.
In addition to the above, numerous Vancouver Bars & Restaurants and Night Clubs also closed temporarily. Many restaurants served only take-out and delivery for a while. As of mid-May, many have reopened for dine-in service too.
Most Lower Mainland Golf Clubs ceased operations initially (but then many later reopened). Canada-US Border crossings, including the Peace Arch Border Crossing, are now also closed to tourists and all non-essential and non-commercial trade-related travel.
Also in addition to the above, Lower Mainland Farmers Markets have also been impacted by the virus. Some closed initially, but as of May most are now operating (but with special precautionary measures in place).
Farmers markets that remain open have been allowing only food vendors (so no artisan products), making sure people practice safe physical distancing, and having shoppers pay using plastic as opposed to cash.
Note: the above is not a full list of venues closing, nor is the following 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.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has advised British Columbians not to travel abroad and asked organizers of events to cancel all gatherings involving over 50 people. All schools in BC suspended classes from K-12 for a number of weeks and people were advised to stay at home for a while and not go out. As of early September, schools have reopened.
Various municipalities within Metro Vancouver have announced their own policies to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. These included ordering the closure of municipally-run facilities like recreation centres, theatres, gyms and skating rinks. Most cities closed all their playgrounds and sports courts, but then started reopening them in May. As of mid-June, the majority of municipalities have reopened all outdoor recreation spaces including parks and playgrounds.
For information about specific initiatives at the local level, click any of the following:
Metro Vancouver Municipalities
- Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver and White Rock.
Fraser Valley Municipalities
Sea to Sky Municipalities and Elsewhere
For up-to-date information about the virus and health alerts in the Lower Mainland, 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, based on their personal conditions, if they should take extra precautions. 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.
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. 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.
Most events that are being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic are either offering ticket holders refunds or credits for the future. If you have already paid for an event that has been cancelled, contact the organizer for details.
For information about the coronavirus, public health advisories and what you can do to protect yourself, see the following websites:
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.