The Van Mag guide to your best Canada Day ever

Prepare your finest plaid shirt and jean jacket—Canada turns 149 this Friday. Van Mag has compiled the best ways to celebrate

June 30, 2016

By Willem Thomas / Photo: Nick Lau

It may be tempting to stay home—eating maple syrup-drenched pancakes in your CBC shirt and Canucks hat, watching Trailer Park Boys reruns while Leonard Cohen records play softly in the background—but be a good Canadian and get outdoors. Vancouver plays host to a ton of different events this Friday, all in the name of our home and native land. Be sure to bring along that friendly Canadian temperament as well, eh?

Large public events

1.) Canada Place
Boasting the largest Canada Day event outside of Ottawa, Canada Place (999 Canada Pl., canadaplace.ca) and the Port of Vancouver will be putting on a daytime festival that includes performances, citizenship ceremonies, a large Expo 86 exhibit, street hockey games, a youth/family area, and much more. Soar like a Canada Goose over some of Canada’s most spectacular sights at the Flyover Canada virtual ride. A highly popular attraction, it’s advised to purchase tickets in advance (Canada Place, flyovercanada.com).

2.) Canada Day Parade & Fireworks
After the conclusion of the Canada Day festivities at Canada Place, head to W. Georgia and Broughton at 7 p.m. for the annual Canada Day Parade (canadaplace.ca), featuring 50 diverse entries. The route runs along W. Georgia and Burrard , finishing at W. Pender. Grab dinner somewhere nearby and be ready for the Canada Day Fireworks (canadaplace.ca) at 10:30 p.m. With two fireworks barges (One in Coal Harbour, the other in Dundarave in West Vancouver), viewing options are many.

3.) Canada Day in Whistler with the VSO
Didn’t make it to Whistler Blackcomb this past ski-season? Looking to get out of the city for a quick getaway? Consider an overnight (or a day trip if you’re feeling extra ambitious) stay in nearby Whistler for Canada Day. Expect a pancake breakfast, a parade, street performances and festivities throughout town, and multiple performances by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. With multiple other events occurring the same weekend, expect the small resort town to be buzzing. whistler.com

4.) Canada Day on Granville Island
Not to be outdone by Canada Place, the streets of Vancouver’s own little hub of tourism and local-products, Granville Island, will be transformed into a red and white display of Canadian pride. With a huge variety of family-friendly events, expect not only much to see and do—but also equally huge crowds. (granvilleisland.com/canada-day)

5.) Steveston Salmon Festival
Calling itself “Canada’s biggest little party since 1945,” the Steveston Salmon Festival (stevestonsalmonfest.ca) brings in massive crowds from across the Lower Mainland to the streets and parks of Richmond’s historic little fishing village. The celebrations cover a wide range of activities and events, capping off with an annual salmon BBQ during which 1,200 pounds of salmon are grilled over open fire pits. It’s worth the trip.

6.) Crab Park Festival
A community-oriented affair, the Crab Park Festival (www.facebook.com/crabparkfestival) is in its 27th year, bringing music, food, and people together in appreciation of not only Canada but also a potentially threatened, much-adored public space.

Things to do

1.) Try a limited release B.C. wine pack, curated just for Canada Day by New District (newdistrict.ca). Two varieties will be available, an Iconic B.C. Reds Edition and an Iconic B.C. Whites Edition.

2.) Indulge that Vancouver nostalgia with a visit to the Kitsilano Showboat (2300 Cornwall Ave., kitsilanoshowboat.com), which will be celebrating Canada Day with a full day of entertainment.

3.) Seek shelter in Fortune Sound Club (147 E. Pender St., 604-569-1758) for the Chinatown Mall Canada Day Market (fortunesoundclub.com/chinatown-mall). The event covers two floors showcasing and selling the works of top young Canadian designers, artists, apparel makers, fashionistas, and more. Expect food, drinks, DJs, and surprise musical guests as well.

4.) Brave the heat (or possibly the rain) and compete in the Scotiabank Run Canada race (runcanadaday.com). Laura Secord would be proud.

5.) Get down to Nat Bailey Stadium (4575 Clancy Loranger Way) to see our beloved Vancouver Canadians (milb.com/tickets/singlegame) take on Spokane, with a postgame Canada Day fireworks display as well. Be ready to eat some hot dogs.

6.) Havana (1212 Commercial Drive, www.havanarestaurant.ca) regularly hosts the comedy group Instant Theatre, and this Canada Day is being celebrated with a one-off show entitled Canadiano! An Improvised Celebration of our Nation. Tickets available at instanttheatre.com.

7.) Eat some poutine. Recommendations are Mean Poutine (718 Nelson St., 604-568-4351), La Belle Patate (1215 Davie St., 604-569-1215), and the poutine at Six Acres (203 Carrall St., 604-488-0110).

8.) Canada Day falls on a Friday this year, and so, the red and white revelry will continue late into the night. Skip the inevitable mess that Granville Street will become and check out the Canada Day Block Party at The Fox Cabaret (2321 Main St., foxcabaret.com), which will feature “two floors of DJs, the best party music (’90s ’til now hip hop, r&b, pop), Canadian treats, and more.”

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