Vancouver’s Best Festivals

Dine Out Vancouver: 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Canada’s largest food and drink celebration. For two weeks in late January and early February, discover the city’s dynamic foodie scene by taking advantage of multicourse meals at special prices. 215 restaurants participated in 2011. Various venues.

Feast of Fields: The sustainable-food movement has strong Vancouver roots, and Feast of Fields is your best opportunity to sample wares. The city’s finest (and most conscientious) restaurants take part in this wandering outdoor picnic. (Also check out our many farmers’ markets at September 11. Krause Berry Farms, Langley.

Festival d’Eté: The francophone festival celebrates the cultures of the 40 countries that use French as an official language. Music is the focus, with open-air stages throughout Vancouver. Mid June. Various venues. 604-736-9806.

HSBC Celebration of Light: Nearly 1.5 million people flood the West End for arguably the world’s grandest firework competition. Bring your own popcorn; leave the car at home. July 30 (China), August 3 (Spain), and August 6 (Canada). English Bay. 604-642-6835.

Powell Street Festival: Japanese-Canadian culture gets a raucous weekend that includes everything from an amateur sumo tournament to dancing, music, and loads of food. Thirty-fifth anniversary. July 30-31. Oppenheimer Park (400-block Powell St.), South Main. 604-739-9388.

Vancouver Chinatown Festival: Now in its 12th year, the biggest multicultural summer celebration in the area includes an open market, children’s activities, performances, and a talent competition. August 6-7. Columbia and Pender St., Chinatown.

Vancouver Folk Festival: The annual smorgasbord of outdoor music, food, and friendly folk transforms the parkland adjacent to one of Vancouver’s most scenic beaches. For its 35th edition, this year features a diverse roster including Rosanne Cash, Joel Plaskett, CR Avery, and Justin Townes Earle. July 15-17. Jericho Beach Park, Point Grey. 604-602-9798.


Vancouver International Dance Festival: Local, national, and international dancers perform and deliver workshops around the city in March. Watch for Kokoro Dance, inspired by the Japanese modern dance form known as butoh. Various venues.

Vancouver International Writers Festival: The city’s literary festival is large and convivial, a crossroads for all sorts. Among this year’s participants: Ian Rankin, Ann Enright, Russell Banks, and Timothy Taylor. October 18-23. Granville Island. 604-681-6330.

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival: The 34th annual vino fest is a chance to quaff your way around the world (with a focus on Chile in 2012). The Bacchanalia Gala dinner/auction is the prime ticket. February 27-March 4. Various venues. 604-872-6622.

Vancouver Pride Week: Over 650,000 spectators cheer for drag queens, muscle boys, and schmoozing politicians at the annual parade, which caps a week of parties and concerts—all in the name of love. July 25-31. Various venues, West End. 604-687-0955.