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Vancouver’s Latin American Experience (Formerly Latin American Week)

Latin American Week

The Latin American Experience is a series of events celebrating Latin music, food and culture. It includes Vancouver’s famous Carnaval del Sol festival.

In years prior to COVID there was Latin American Week which ran for just 7 or so days and ended with Carnaval del Sol as its grand finale. In 2022, instead of just one week of events, the festivities runs for three weeks. They start on Saturday, July 2nd, and continue until Sunday, July 24th.

In 2022 there is a Latin White Cruise Fiesta, Salsa Workshop, Flamenco Tango & Wine Night, Stand up Comedy & Magic Show, Latin Jazz Extravaganza and Latinx Pride Parade, plus the grand Carnaval del Sol fiesta.

To learn more about Carnaval del Sol and the Latin American Experience series of events, visit the website carnavaldelsol.ca.

 


This article includes information about the following topics and events:

Latin American Experience in 2022 | Carnaval del Sol | Fiesta Blanca Salsa Cruise | Canada Day Parade at Granville Island | Latin Film Night | Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night | Other Events | Other Information


 

Carnaval del Sol

 

Latin American Week and the Latin American Experience

Close to 40,000 people of Latin American and Caribbean origin call the Lower Mainland home, which explains why the City of Vancouver proclaims a week or two in early July or August each year as a special time to celebrate Latin American culture.

Formerly called Latin American Week, Latin American Experience includes a number of events that showcase Latin American culture in different ways.

In 2019 the week ran from June 27th until July 7th. In 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no official “Latin American Week” series of events. Instead though, Carnaval del Sol was expanded. In 2020 Carnaval del Sol ran from July 15th until August 9th and included some of the events usually incorporated into Latin American Week.

There wasn’t an official “Latin American Week” in 2021 either. Instead, most of the events normally part of Latin American Week were instead incorporated directly into an expanded Carnaval del Sol festival.

In 2022, Vancouver’s series of Latin-themed celebrations have been expanded. They are now scheduled to run from July 2nd until July 24th. As the festivities go for three weeks now instead of for just one, “Latin American Week” has been renamed as the “Latin American Experience.”

To learn more about the largest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest, see our article about Carnaval del Sol. To learn about Latin American Week events from past years, and what might be happening during the Latin American Experience in 2022, continue reading.

 

Latin American Week
Carnaval del Sol in Concord Pacific Place

 

Latin American Experience Schedule in 2022

The following events take place during the Latin American Experience series of events in 2022. (Note: Dates and other details are subject to change.)

  • Latin White Cruise Fiesta – a boat party on the waters around Vancouver on Saturday, July 2nd, 2022.
  • Latin Jazz Extravaganza – a special Latin-themed event at the Vancouver Playhouse on Thursday, July 7th, 2022.
  • Carnaval del Sol – Vancouver’s major Latin festival happens on the weekend of July 8th to 10th at Jonathan Rogers Park in Vancouver.
  • Flamenco Tango & Wine – dance performances at the Annex Theatre on Friday, July 15th
  • Salsa Night Workshop – dance lessons and dancing at the Annex Theatre on Saturday, July 16th, 2022.
  • World Soccer Tournament – a two-day tournament on July 23rd and 24th at Trillium Fields, there is a registration fee of $250 per team and the winners receive a prize of $1000.

 


For the official Carnaval del Sol website click carnavaldelsol.ca.


 

Carnaval del Sol

Dates: July 6 & 7, 2019 (and July 8, 9 & 10 in 2022)

Carnaval del Sol is a family-friendly festival. It used to be at the end of Latin American Week and without a doubt the week’s number one attraction. For two days Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Place was full of food trucks, concerts and other live entertainment.

In 2022, instead of a two-day event at Concord Pacific Place, Carnaval del Sol is now a three-day event at Vancouver’s Jonathan Rogers Park. The venue is on West 7th Avenue between Columbia Street and Manitoba Street.

Regardless of its location, the venue at Carnaval del Sol has a number of zones including a Kids’ Plaza, Food Plaza and Beer Plaza. There is also usually a Travel Plaza, Experience Plaza, Family Plaza, Art Plaza and some sort of Lounge Plaza that serves adult beverages. In each area there are different things to do and see.

Live entertainment on Carnaval del Sol’s Main Stage usually starts at around 11:00 am and runs until 10:00 pm or so on the Saturday and until 7:30 pm on the Sunday. There is always a variety of dance performances and free concerts including, in 2019, ones by John Welsh & Los Valientes, Mazacote, Orqesta Tabasko, Samba Fusion and others.

In 2019 Carnaval del Sol happened on the Saturday and Sunday of July 6th and 7th. General admission cost about $2, or $15 for a VIP pass. In 2022 Carnaval del Sol takes place on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of July 8th to 10th. Admission prices and other details are to be confirmed.

Click Carnaval del Sol to learn more about this event.

 


For the official Carnaval del Sol website click carnavaldelsol.ca.


 

Fiesta Blanca Salsa Cruise

Date & Time: June 29, 2019 (and on July 2nd in 2022)

NOTE: This event take places in 2022 on Saturday, July 2nd (which is the day after Canada Day and the first day of the Latin American Experience series of events). The cruise sold out in 2019, so be sure to book your spot extra early this year if you want to go!

When it took place three years ago, Salsa Cruises Fiesta Blanca was a 3-hour cruise on the MV Britannia where participants wore white, danced and had a wonderful party. Attendees boarded the boat at 8:30 pm and returned by around 12:30 am.

The evening cruise departed from Coal Harbour at 501 Denman Street and marked the summer “kickoff” for Salsa Cruises which is a Vancouver party boat company.

In years when it takes place the Fiesta Blanca Salsa cruise involves Latin music with different DJs on the various levels of the boat. The event also features a complimentary salsa lesson and dance show. Tickets in 2019 cost about $31 (plus about $2 in online fees) in advance. Food and drinks were available for purchase. Tickets at the door cost $35.

2022 prices and other details about this event are to be confirmed.

 

Evening Harbour Cruise
Salsa Cruises Fiesta Blanca

 

Canada Day Parade at Granville Island

Date & Time: July 1, 2019 (and to be confirmed for 2022)

Vancouver’s last big downtown Canada Day parade might have been in 2017, but there’s still a smaller July 1st parade most years at Granville Island.

The Canada Day parade is free and includes Latin music, dancing and lots of Latinos in traditional costumes, as well as other parade participants.

See our article about Canada Day at Granville Island for more details.

 

Granville Island Canada Day Parade
Canada Day Parade at Granville Island

 

Latin Film Night

Date & Time: July 2, 2019 (and to be confirmed for 2022)

Two Latin American films were shown at the Vancity Theatre at 1181 Seymour Street in 2019.

Shows were in Spanish but with English subtitles. They cost around $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors for one film, or $20 for both films.

In 2019 the evening began at 5:30 pm with live music by the Rio Samaya Band. Chilean empanadas from Jessyca & Pepe Latin Food were also available.

Feature films in 2019 were The Pearl Button, from Chile, and Rojo, from Argentina. The first movie started at 6:30 pm and the second at 8:30.

The Pearl Button was a political documentary about the Pinochet regime. Rojo was a drama based in the 1970s about a lawyer whose life suddenly changes.

Note: The Latin Film Night event in 2019 was for adults ages 19+ (so you needed to remember to take your ID). Also, the Vancity Theatre is a non-profit organization where attendees of “non-classified films” have to be members. If you are already a member, don’t forget your membership card. And if you aren’t a member yet, you’ll need to pay an extra toonie at the door to join. That’s right – an annual membership only costs about $2.

 

Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night

Date & Time: July 4, 2019 (and on July 15th in 2022)

NOTE: This event often sells out! Be sure to book your spot well in advance in 2022!

Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night is an evening of flamenco and tango dancing hosted by Latincouver. The event usually takes place at the Performance Works Theatre on Granville Island, although in 2019 it happened at the Vancouver Playhouse at 600 Hamilton Street.

Performers at the event usually include dancers from organizations like Flamenco Rosario, Toque Flamenco and the Argentine Tango Lab. In addition to the dancing there is usually also a sommelier offering a selection of Argentinian wines.

See our article about Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night for information about this event. To learn more about the event in 2022, see the Latincouver.ca website.

 

Tango Lab Tango Dancers
Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night

 

Other Events

In the 2019 Latin American Week also included a couple of other events. There was a multi-day art exhibit at the Woodward’s Building in Gastown and an event about Afro-American Roots at Robson Square. See below for details.

 

Similitude: Canadian & Latin American Indigenous Art Exhibition

The 2019 art exhibition ran from June 27th until July 12th at the Woodward’s Building at 333 Abbot Street in Gastown. It was a free event showcasing the performing arts, photography, sculpture, music, storytelling, painting, films, talks and even cooking.

Opening Night for the show was on June 27th and that’s when the exhibition was at its most interesting. Admission was free for the event, but advanced registration was required due to limited seating.

At the Opening Night event there were performances by both Latin American and Canadian artists. There was also food, drinks and other activities. On other days the exhibition was much quieter and simply featured Indigenous art.

 

Travelling Back to Our African-Latin American Roots

This event examined the history of Afro-Latin people and their impact on music, culture and the arts. It took place at Robson Square (at 800 Robson Street behind the Vancouver Art Gallery).

This was a free event, although donations of at least $10 per person were greatly appreciated. Also, due to space, only a limited number of tickets were available.

At the 2019 African-Latin American Roots event performers included Roots Peruvian Folk Dance, Sierra Tasi Baker, Grupo Axé Capoeira, Julio Montero and Cuban Salsa.

 

Other Information

For a list of other major events in the Lower Mainland throughout the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.

For ideas on what to do on the first weekend in July, click Canada Day in Metro Vancouver.

Other Latin American and Caribbean events you might enjoy at other times of the year include the following: