The summer solstice is on June 21, marking the official start of the summer season! Celebrate the start of summer this month by checking out the many events happening around the city, both indoors and outdoors. From festivals and pop-up markets to art exhibitions and theatrical plays, there is something for everyone. It’s time to get out and enjoy what Metro Vancouver has to offer. Plus, Father’s Day is on June 18, so why not take your dad out to some of these places too?
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34th Vancouver Francophone Summer Festival
Every June since 1990, Le Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver organizes the Festival d’été francophone de Vancouver (Vancouver Francophone Summer Festival), one of the most important cultural and musical francophone events in Western Canada. Discover more than a week of concerts under the banner of international francophone music. In a lively atmosphere, thousands of people come together to hear artists from across Canada and around the world. Their audience is not limited to the Francophone and Francophile community, but includes the population of Vancouver at large as well as tourists who are interested in taking in a cultural experience that is unique on the West Coast!
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ScotFestBC: The 91st British Columbia Highland Games
The 91st British Columbia Highland Games & World Music Festival takes place from June 16 – 18. This year, come for the SFU Pipe Band “in-concert” Friday night, Irish great Sharon Shannon, the Yukon’s Gurdeep Pandher, “Piper to the Stars” Lorne Cousin, the world famous REMAX Scottish heavy events, highland dancing and more. There will also be a free World Music Festival on Father’s Day, June 18! Music for everyone and something for everyone. Come for the weekend, come for one day, it all takes place at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam on the shores of LaFarge Lake.
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Queer Arts Festival: Queers in Space
Futurism and fantasy have always been cornerstones of the 2SLGBTQIA+ experience. What better place to manifest ourselves as the free and empowered superbeings we truly are? For many queer people, the Future is a place where dreams are realized; for others, it’s a vital sanctuary from a present-day reality that does not include them. While Queer Arts Festival’s 2023 theme Queers in Space may evoke cosmic camp and otherworldly voyages, the festival takes these words very seriously as well: this is just as much a call to explore and celebrate the space we occupy, each and every day; to honour our queer elders on whose shoulders we stand; and to celebrate our future, queer trajectories.
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National Indigenous Peoples Day
The Governor General of Canada proclaimed June 21 as National Indigenous Peoples Day in 1996, as an occasion for Canadians to come together, reflect on and celebrate the unique heritage, traditions and knowledge of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. There are many celebrations happening throughout the Lower Mainland, including events at Holland Park in Surrey, Moody Park in New Westminster and Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. There will be cultural entertainment, physical activities, arts and crafts, Indigenous vendors and storytelling at many of these events. Check out the respective city website for more information.
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What Is Welcome?
June 22–Aug. 13
Join the Belkin Art Gallery at UBC on June 22 at 6 p.m. for the opening reception of What Is Welcome?, which includes works from the Belkin’s collection and long-term residency that question the art institution’s language, boundaries and potential for change. From performance to works-in-process that affect institutional practices, the artists included operate with, and at the same time counter, the institution to address the what, how and the why of gallery operations. As galleries and museums strive to make space for new practices and ways of knowing, artists are critical agents in the institution’s evolution. In interrogating institutional cultural systems, the artists considered sustaining relevance in the material of living ecologies through exchange, labour and stewardship. Collectively, the works ask the question: What is welcome? Artists include Allyson Clay, Claudia Cuesta, Andrea Fraser, Skeena Reece, ReMatriate Collective, Holly Schmidt, Kika Thorne and Tania Willard.
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The 36th Annual Point Grey Fiesta
The Point Grey Fiesta is the community’s annual start-of-summer event for families and friends. The Fiesta Carnival celebration happens in Trimble Park with stage performances, activities and exhibitors. Carnival rides in Trimble Park operate from Friday to Sunday. With the exception of the carnival rides and midway games, Fiesta entertainment and children’s activities are free of charge. For more information, please visit the fiesta’s website.
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Scandinavian Midsummer Festival 2023
There are a number of activities going on that you can enjoy during the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in Burnaby. Among them are two almost full days of live music with a number of individual artists, groups and choirs. There will be performances by the Scandinavian Dancers and the Vikings in the Viking Village, including songs, games and a real Viking raid – beware of the Norse! At the Midsummer Marketplace, you find over 50 vendors with shopping kiosks with lots of exciting products and crafts. There will be cultural displays, kids’ activities, a troll forest, carnival games and a vintage Volvo car show by the Volvo Club of B.C. For the Midsummer beginner – there are two very popular events during the festival that you may not want to miss! The raising of the Midsummer Pole with dance around takes place on Saturday afternoon. The popular and crazy Finnish wife carrying contest takes place on Sunday.
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Surrey Art Gallery: Invisible Fish & The Deep and the Shallows
June 24–Sept. 3
The Surrey Art Gallery will open two exhibits for the summer this June: artist Diane Roy’s textile art exhibit The Deep and the Shallows and a collection of work from Salish artists entitled Invisible Fish. Fusing art, science and mythology, Roy’s art reminds us of the wonders of the biodiversity around us. The Deep and the Shallows presents the largest retrospective of this artist’s work to date. Her work often draws inspiration from coastal tidal zones and ecology of the Salish Sea, with sculptures evoking the shapes and latticework forms of corals, sea anemone, urchins and shells. Invisible Fish encourages visitors to think of their own relationship to the creeks, rivers and sea that flow through and around this land. Incorporated into the exhibition are tactile ways of experiencing art, including a two and a half-metre touchable block print and a friendly reading nook for all ages.
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Nikkei Garden Farmers Market 2023
June–October, Every second and fourth Saturday
The Nikkei Garden Farmers Market returns for its third year this summer! Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the booths of freshly harvested, locally grown produce, savour the delectable, locally crafted food and explore unique artisanal goods made by local makers – all while taking in the seasonal beauty of the Japanese garden. In the previous years, the market has proven to be a delightful gathering place for friends and families, who flocked to this laid-back Sunday market throughout the summer. Located in the heart of Burnaby, this market offers a wide array of Japanese and Japanese-inspired food and goods for visitors to indulge in.
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Greek Day on Broadway
Greek Day on Broadway is the largest one-day Greek festival in Vancouver, which aims to share the rich Greek culture that spans 2500 years of history, including over 100 years of social and cultural contributions to the City of Vancouver. A five block stretch on Broadway is closed off to traffic to make room for a world of delicious Greek food and drink, market vendors, entertainment and live music offering a laid back, yet lively Greek atmosphere.
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The Seventh Fire
June 27–July 4
You are invited by the Full Circle First Nations Performance to connect to the medicine that lives within you with The Seventh Fire, an immersive audio performance inspired by ceremony. Drawing from Anishinaabe stories and oral traditions, artist Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen invokes sound and story as the somatic link to ancestral realms. The audience enters Lobe Studio, free to stand, sit, lie down or move around according to their ability. As the performance commences, the studio’s 4D Sound System envelops all, serving as a portal to dreams and the story of sisters Daanis and Nimise and their grandmother Nokomis. The Seventh Fire takes place in the past, present and future, above and below the earth. It is the realm of the spirit, where a better future can be co-conceived.