There is a lot to do on the Thanksgiving Long Weekend in Vancouver most years. There’s so much to be thankful for, and so many places to explore.
2020 is not a usual year, however, because of COVID-19. There are still things to do on the October long weekend, but not as much as in typical years. Best things to do this holiday season include spending time with family and, weather permitting, in parks and nature outdoors.
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Thanksgiving in the Lower Mainland
Got family and friends visiting from out of town the weekend of October 9th to 12th in 2020? When not sitting around the table eating turkey, go out and explore this great region of the world.
There are parks to visit, autumn colours to admire and Halloween attractions to check out including indoor ones for when it’s raining. There are also usually markets, festivals and spawning salmon to see, plus so much more.
Information provided below is from last year, but 2020 details will be similar. One event that’s new for the weekend this year, however, is the Classic & Custom Car Show which takes place at the Tradex Centre in Abbotsford on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of October 9th to 11th. The event was originally going to happen in April, 2020, but got postponed until Thanksgiving due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic in the spring.
Weekend Special Events in 2019
Special festivals and events happening on the Thanksgiving Long Weekend last year are listed below. Some events will hopefully still be happening in 2020, at least in some kind of format. Many events, however, have been cancelled.
- Thanksgiving Runs
- Vancouver Oktoberfest – a German-themed party at the Vancouver Alpen Club. In 2019 it took place on the weekends of October 4th-5th, 11th-12th and 18th-19th, plus the Friday of October 25th.
- Harvest Haus – an adults-only German-themed Oktoberfest event at the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds (but in an area separate from Fright Nights and the main rides). 2019 dates included October 10th to 12th and 18th to 19th.
- Harvestland – an autumn-themed event that’s suitable for people of all ages at the PNE fairgrounds. It ran daily from October 10th until the 20th except for Tuesday, October 15th.
- Cirque du Soleil – the world-renowned Montreal-based circus presented Luzia at Concord Pacific Place near False Creek.
- Vancouver International Film Festival – films from all over the world were shown at various theatres around town up until the Friday of the Thanksgiving Long Weekend in 2019.
- Fort Langley Cranberry Festival – one of Fort Langley’s most popular events of the year was on Saturday October 12th in 2019. (Note: This event has been cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus.)
- Halloween Events – a number of other Halloween events take place on the Thanksgiving Long Weekend including the following:
- Vancouver Halloween Parade – a parade featuring people dressed as superheroes, Japanese anime characters, zombies and other fun things in downtown Vancouver. It took place last year on Sunday, October 13th, starting at 11 am.
- Vancouver Halloween Expo – vendor stalls, entertainment and Halloween-themed activities at Robson Square from Friday, October 11th, until Sunday, October 13th.
- Forbidden Vancouver – Lost Souls of Gastown and other walking tours take place daily each year in downtown Vancouver.
- Mystery Nights – a detective crime-solving game for groups of 2-5 players happen every evening in October 2019 at 7 pm. (It’s kind of like an escape room game, except it takes place in the Streets of Gastown.)
- Fright Nights – haunted houses, rides and Halloween fun at the PNE on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday (but not Thanksgiving Monday).
- Halloween Pumpkin Express – child-friendly miniature train rides at Bear Creek Park in Surrey.
- Potter’s House of Horrors – a couple of haunted houses 12530 72nd Avenue in Surrey.
- Reapers – a haunted attraction that was open on the Thanksgiving Weekend last year at 9423 Gibson Road in Chilliwack.
- Haunt of Edgemont – a professional quality haunted house at a residential home in North Vancouver. Admission is by donation benefiting the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund.
Thanksgiving Autumn Activities
The Thanksgiving Long Weekend provides a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family enjoying traditional autumn activities, like exploring the outdoors and admiring the fall colours. Great places to do this include the following:
- Vancouver Parks: Best places to admire the fall colours this time of year include Stanley Park and Bear Creek Park. For more ideas on where to see the fall colours, check out Vancouver’s Best Places in Autumn.
- Fort Langley Cranberry Festival – a family-oriented event at Fort Langley on the Saturday of the October long weekend (but not in 2020 due to COVID-19).
- Farmers Markets: It’s harvest time and close to the end of the season for farmers markets that haven’t closed down already:
- Saturday Farmers Markets to still check out include those in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Fort Langley, Lonsdale Quay, Maple Ridge, Squamish, Trout Lake and the West End.
- Sunday Farmers Markets still open include those at Ambleside, Coquitlam, Kitsilano and White Rock. Also, final markets of the season are at Mt. Pleasant and Whistler.
- It’s not a farmers market, but the Thanksgiving weekend is also usually the last chance of the season to visit the Richmond Night Market (although maybe not in 2020). Not a lot of autumn leaves to see there, but nice places to visit in that part of the Lower Mainland include Richmond’s Minoru Park and the Steveston Village area along the waterfront.
- Lower Mainland Pumpkin Patches: popular places for pumpkin-themed fun include Maan Farms in Abbotsford, the Bose Corn Maze in Surrey, the Chilliwack Corn Maze and Petey’s Pumpkin Patch in the Fraser Valley, and multiple other venues.
- Fishing and Salmon Viewing: The lakes are getting stocked this time of year throughout the Lower Mainland and there is usually great salmon viewing at the Capilano River Hatchery in North Vancouver.
Thanksgiving Weekend Halloween Activities
In addition to Thanksgiving, October is also the month for Halloween. A number of Halloween attractions open this weekend (as mentioned above).
If you are looking for something scary, Fright Nights at the PNE is open this weekend and there is also Reapers in Chilliwack and Potter’s House of Horrors in Surrey (although most attractions like these are not open on the holiday Monday).
For more ideas on Halloween things to do this month, check out the following:
- Vancouver Children’s Halloween Activities
- Adult Halloween Activities
- Vancouver Haunted Houses
- Rainy Day Activities
- Vancouver Pumpkin Patches
- Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours – Lost Souls of Gastown and other walking tours in downtown Vancouver.
For other ideas on things to do at other times this month, check out Vancouver’s Best Places’ October Calendar.
Whatever you end up doing, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! For those of us that live in Vancouver, we have a lot to be thankful for!