Americans have July 4th, and Canadians have July 1st. Colloquially referred to as Canada Day, it celebrates the Constitution Act of 1867 – essentially, the day when Canada established some independence from the British Empire and was officially formed by uniting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada. And similar to July 4th in the U.S., parades, fireworks, sporting events and barbecues abound. Even internationally, Canadians love to honor their nation’s birthday by sporting the maple leaf and gathering for celebrations in squares and parks around the world.
In Canada, July 1st is a public holiday, and if you happen to be in Vancouver on Canada Day, you’re in luck – there is plenty of the celebration vibe to go around. Here are some highlights:
1. Street Festival and Parade. Two words: Canada Place. Stages with live music, dance troupes, regional cuisine, a massive all-day street festival and an evening parade make up just a few of the activities available by the downtown Waterfront.
2. Pancake Breakfast. Pancakes are a Canadian staple on Canada Day, and Granville Island’s particular pancake fest is a great way to start off the celebrations. Granville Island, which is on False Creek (beneath the Granville Street Bridge and near the downtown area), is a lovely spot and an attraction itself.
3. Fireworks! Everyone loves a good fireworks display; the Burrard Inlet Fireworks event is top-notch (with fireworks set off from two barges). It’s visible from virtually everywhere, particularly Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.
4. Waterfront Park. Inflatable slides, mini-golf, rock-climbing, shopping, sweets and goodies – and it’s free! Don’t count out North Vancouver for great Canada Day celebrations.
5. Local events. Pubs, parks (like West Vancouver’s John Lawson Park), and other venues also host their own versions of good times on July 1st. Depending on where you’re staying, there may be a show or special event just down the street. Ask when booking!