British Columbia Events - What's On When?
Chinese New Year Parade
In late January or early February, Vancouver’s Chinese population celebrate the New Year with a colourful parade through Chinatown. The parade includes lion dances, marching bands, martial arts and dance performances and, of course, a dragon dance.
Victoria Film Festival
The Victoria Film Festival runs for ten days in February and features a wide selection of both Canadian and international films, along with introductions by the filmmakers. It attracts over 20,000 film fans.
Pacific Rim Whale Festival
With the coming of spring, thousands of Gray whales make their way back from their breeding grounds in Mexico to Alaska. En route, they pass the west coast of Vancouver Island, stopping near shore to feed in the shallow waters. For a week in March, the towns of Ucluelet and Tofino celebrate the whales with live entertainment, workshops and a range of events. You can watch the whales from shore or take a local charter boat to view them up close.
Brant Wildlife Festival
Each April, the Parksville and Qualicum Beach communities host the three-day Brant Wildlife Festival. This marks the arrival of more than 20,000 Brant geese, which stop to feed on Vancouver Island before completing their migration to Alaska. The festival includes competitions, guided tours, talks and workshops.
Creston Valley Blossom Festival
The small town of Creston, which is in the Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, has one of the mildest climates in the province, so spring arrives sooner here than elsewhere. Each year, the town hosts the Creston Valley Blossom Festival during the May long weekend. The festival includes a parade, crafts, food and flea market stalls and a range of scheduled events, such as a derby and ball tournaments.
Dragon Boat Festival
For a week in June, Vancouver hosts the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, on the waters of False Creek. This is one of the oldest and largest dragon boat festivals in North America.
Jazz Fest International
During Victoria’s Jazz Fest International, over 250 top jazz and blues musicians from around the world perform at a number of venues, both indoors and out.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
The three-day Vancouver Folk Music Festival is held at the beautiful Jericho Beach Park, on the west side of Vancouver. It attracts folk musicians from around the world, with performances on seven stages, and is known for its folk art marketplace.
Nanaimo Marine Festival
In late July, the Nanaimo Marine Festival features a 48-kilometre bathtub race across the Georgia Strait, from Nanaimo to Vancouver. Thanks to the annual race, Nanaimo is sometimes referred to as the “hub, pub and tub” city.
Williams Lake Stampede
The famous Williams Lake Stampede, held annually on the Canada Day long weekend, includes bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, steer wrestling, roping and chuckwagon races. It also includes a parade with colourful floats and a carnival with rides.
The Edge of the World Music Festival
Over three days in July, the Tlell Fall Fairgrounds on Haida Gwaii island host a world music festival, with a wide range of local and international artists, food and craft stalls, a marathon and activities for children.
The Filberg Festival is an annual arts and crafts festival held in the gardens of Filberg Lodge, in the town of Comox. It’s known as one of the best in the Pacific Northwest and attracts all sorts of artisans, from sculptors and glassblowers to wood-turners, jewellery designers, toy makers and potters. The festival also features live music performances.
In August, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra stages its annual Symphony Splash, playing on a floating stage on the waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Traditionally, the performance ends with fireworks and a rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Canmore Folk Music Festival
Each year on the Heritage Day long weekend in August, the Rocky Mountain town of Canmore hosts a folk music festival that attracts top performers from around the world. It’s the longest-running music festival in Alberta.
Held in August, Calgary’s GlobalFest includes a cultural “OneWorld Festival”, with pavilions and food stalls representing a wide range of different cultures, alongside an international fireworks festival, with up to five separate fireworks shows.
Vancouver Fringe Festival
A highlight on Vancouver’s calendar, the Vancouver Fringe Festival includes roughly 700 theatrical performances over the course of 11 days. The festival is centred on Granville Island, with scheduled performances in about 25 venues. It’s also well-known for its “bring your own venue” acts, and for the party vibe it inspires.
Okanagan Fall Festival
Held over 10 days in mid-October, Okanagan Fall Festival includes a series of events with two things in common – good food and great wine.
Annual Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair
The Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair features a huge range of craft items from some of Canada’s top artisans, providing an excellent opportunity for early Christmas shopping.
Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade
Vancouver’s Santa Clause parade includes festively decorated floats and as many as 60 bands. It attracts upwards of 300,000 spectators. A train circulates during the parade, collecting donations of food and toys for those in need.