Latin American Week showcases a series of cultural events including a Fiesta Blanca Cruise, Flamenco Tango Night and Vancouver’s Carnaval del Sol festival.
In 2019 the week ran from June 27th until July 7th. In 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no official “Latin American Week” series of events. Instead though, Carnaval del Sol has expanded. In 2020 it runs from July 15th until August 9th and includes some of the events usually incorporated into Latin American Week.
To learn more about the festival and its various events this year, see our article about Carnaval del Sol in 2020.
Latin American Week
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 10 to 12-day period in early July or August each year as a special week to celebrate their culture.
Latin American Week includes a number of events that showcase Latin American culture in different ways. Highlights of the week in 2019 are listed below. 2021 details will likely be similar.
Click any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learning about all of Latin American Week’s various events.
(Note: Event dates and details are subject to change.)
Dates: July 6 & 7, 2019
Carnaval del Sol is a family-friendly festival at the end of Latin American Week and without a doubt the number one attraction. For two days Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Place is full of food trucks, concerts and other live entertainment.
The venue at Carnaval del Sol is divided into zones including a Kids’ Plaza, Food Plaza and Beer Plaza. There is also a Travel Plaza, Experience Plaza, Family Plaza, Art Plaza and Jose Cuervo Lounge Plaza. 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 both days and runs until 10:00 pm 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.
Click Carnaval del Sol for further details.
SPANISH FIESTA NIGHT AND IBERICO POP-UP SHOP
It’s not part of Latin American Week, but it is Latin and happens soon after Latin American Week. Featuring premium Spanish delicacies and live Flamenco music from Spain, the Spanish Night Fiesta took place in Vancouver on Saturday July 13th from 5:00 pm until 1:00 am. The cost was $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Children ages 12 and under were free (although after 10:00 pm the fiesta became an adults-only event).
Also on July 13th and at the same venue in 2019, between 11:30 in the morning and 5 o’clock in the afternoon, there was a special Ibérico Pop-Up Shop featuring high-end Spanish delicacies for purchase from ARC IBERICO IMPORTS. Admission to the pop-up shop during the day was free.
Fiesta Blanca Salsa Cruise
Date & Time: June 29, 2019
NOTE: This event SOLD OUT for 2019! Be sure to book your spot extra early in 2021!
Salsa Cruises Fiesta Blanca is a 3-hour cruise on the MV Britannia where participants wear white, dance and have a wonderful party. Folk board the boat at 8:30 pm and return by 12:30 am.
The event involves Latin music with different DJs on the various levels of the boat as well as a complimentary salsa lesson and dance show. Tickets in 2019 cost about $31 (plus about $2 in online fees) in advance and food and drinks were available for purchase. Tickets at the door cost $35.
Click Salsa Cruises Fiesta Blanca for information about the event in 2019.
Canada Day Parade at Granville Island
Date & Time: July 1, 2019
Vancouver’s last big downtown Canada Day parade might have been in 2017, but there’s still a smaller July 1st parade each year 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.
Click Granville Island Parade for more details.
Latin Film Night
Date & Time: July 2, 2019, at 5:30 pm
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 is for adults ages 19+. Don’t forget to bring 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 $2.
Click Latin Film Night for information about the event in 2019.
Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night
Date & Time: July 4, 2019, from 6:30 until 9:30 pm
NOTE: This event sold out last year! Be sure to book your spot well in advance in 2021!
Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night is an evening of flamenco and tango dancing hosted by Latincouver. A couple of years ago it took place at the Performance Works Theatre on Granville Island. In 2019 it happened at the Vancouver Playhouse at 600 Hamilton Street.
2019 performers included Flamenco Rosario, the Vancouver Flamenco Collective, Toque Flamenco, Fabiana Katz and the Argentine Tango Lab. In addition to the dancing there is usually also a sommelier offering a selection of Argentinian wines and explanations about them.
General admission in 2019 cost $25 for adults and $19 for students and seniors (with ID) when purchased in advance online. Tickets at the door (if there were any left) were likely about $5 more.
VIP tickets were also available for $35 in advance when purchased online and they included perks like free wine sampling.
Click Flamenco, Tango & Wine Night for information about the event in 2019.
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 and an event about Afro-American Roots at Robson Square on July 3rd. 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 plus food, drinks and other activities. On other days the exhibition was much quieter and simply features Indigenous art.
Click Indigenous Art Exhibition for more information.
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) on Wednesday July 3rd starting at 5:30 pm.
It 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.
Click Travelling Back to Our African-Latin American Roots for more information and to reserve your spot.
For a list of other major events in Vancouver throughout the year, see the 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:
- Cinco de Mayo – Mexican holiday celebrations in early May.
- Caribbean Days Festival – a festival in North Vancouver in late July.
- Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival – a cultural event in Maple Ridge in early August.
- Fiesta Mexicana – a Mexican festival in Yaletown or Robson Square in early to mid-September (although it doesn’t happen every year).