Cultural Calendar

As autumn leaves paint the city with a rich tapestry of fall colours, there’s no shortage of excitement to be found in the bustling streets. And as Halloween approaches, the fun reaches a whole new level, with costume parties, haunted houses and spooky parades turning the city into a playground of imagination and thrill. So whether you’re dancing to the rhythm of live music, savouring international cuisine at a cultural fest or simply enjoying the eerie delights of Halloween, the city’s events and festivals provide an endless source of entertainment and connection for all who choose to partake.

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The Haunted Sea

Oct. 2–Nov. 5

Discover what lies beneath the waves in the Haunted Sea! Visit the seasonally spooky installation inside the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site happening now until Nov. 5. Our coastal waters are full of life – but they are being haunted by plastic pollution. Explore the ocean’s depths and encounter colourful creatures made of upcycled materials to learn what we can do to help. Suitable for families and children. Check out the Cannery’s website for more information.

Whether it’s new events at old haunts… or haunted events… there’s plenty to see and do in the second half of October | Photo courtesy of Burnaby Village Museum

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How the Humanities First Cracked the Nazi Code

Oct. 17, 6 p.m.

The Englishman Alan Turing’s use of computer-aided mathematics to break the Nazis’ World War II cypher has become famous. But decades earlier Dr. Winthrop Bell, a Canadian philosopher, historian and MI6 spy, was the first to crack the Nazi code. His death-defying adventures in revolutionary 1919 Berlin were long kept top-secret, and his story has remained unknown. Finally his declassified papers reveal how he used the humanities to save humanity. SFU will host author and philosophy professor Jason Bell who will discuss Bell’s story.

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Haunted Village: Legends, Tales and Other Stories

Oct. 19–29, 5–9 p.m.

Explore the Burnaby Village Museum as stories are lifted from their storybook pages and transformed into visual displays throughout the 10-acre open air site. From the Chinese legend of “The Monkey King” to the German fairy tale of “Snow White”, experience different cultural stories as they come to life. Hear the Indigenous stories of “How Raven Stole the Moon” and “The Wild Woman of the Woods”. Delight in spectacular performances by the Vancouver Circus School and dance the night away at the bandstand dance parties; there is fun for everyone! Wear your costumes and get into the Halloween spirit at Burnaby Village Museum’s Haunted Village. For tickets and more information, check out the museum’s website.

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Sunshine Coast Art Crawl 2023

Oct. 20–22

Over three days, the Sunshine Coast transforms into one large interactive art show. It is a celebration of displays, demonstrations and it provides an opportunity to meet the artists behind amazing creations. The 2023 Sunshine Coast Art Crawl has 188 venues and over 260 artists from Langdale to Earls Cove, the largest number yet. This includes 57 new venues with amazing new artists along with many returning favourites. The Crawl is a great time to gather your family and friends together to get a taste of what Coast Life is all about and discover some unique and sometimes very off the road locations. For more information, check the Crawl’s website out.

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Massey Presents: Oktopus

Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Awarded numerous awards (JUNO, CFMA…), Oktopus is a major presence on the Canadian world music scene, with over 250 performances to its credit at home and abroad. The group is primarily devoted to klezmer distinguished by a novel approach that incorporates various components of the classical and Québécois repertoire, with some jazz and Balkan accents. The eight virtuoso musicians offer festive, high-energy performances, at once melancholic and profound, sprinkled with humour and spiced with narrative, in which original compositions and finely crafted arrangements combine with improvisation. Please visit the Massey Theatre website for tickets and more information.

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Mozart: The Magic Flute

Oct. 21–29

A fairytale within a fairytale, this playful and stylized production of The Magic Flute begins at a garden party in 1791…where a performance of Magic Flute is being staged! It’s instant magical immersion for audiences, and the start of a wild journey of high drama and whimsical delight. Armed with an enchanted instrument, Tamino rescues the kidnapped Princess Pamina, and the pair face trials, tribulations and the wrath of Pamina’s mother, the vengeful Queen of the Night. But like any great fairytale – and this is among the greatest – light triumphs over darkness, and the young pair chart a path towards wisdom, truth and love. Be transported to a storybook world of fantastical creatures, delightfully imaginative costumes, starry skies and garden mazes, and some of Mozart’s most sublime, soul-stirring music.

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20th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival

Oct. 25–Nov. 5

For twenty years, the Heart of the City Festival has been grounded in the Downtown Eastside and focused on listening and learning from the cultural practices of the community. The Festival works with, for and about the Downtown Eastside community to carry forward our community’s stories, ancestral memory, cultural traditions, lived experiences and artistic processes to illuminate pathways of resistance and resilience. Guided by the theme Grounded in Community, Carrying it Forward, the 2023 Festival will feature 100+ events and showcase 40+ local venues over 12 days of live and online events – both indoors and out – including music, stories, poetry, theatre, ceremony, films, dance, readings, forums, workshops, discussions, gallery exhibits, art talks, history walks and more.

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Towards Home: An Evening of Song

Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.

For each of us, home is a notion we cherish. In a physical sense and probably even more so in an emotional one, it carries layers of meaning. Internationally acclaimed Canadian opera stars Simone Osborne and Gordon Bintner join City Opera Vancouver’s new Artistic Director Gordon Gerrard for Towards Home, an evening of song. The program will include lesser-known treasures by Schubert, Finzi, Viardot and some of the new generation of Canada’s great composers for the voice. Check out the City Opera Vancouver’s website for more information.

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Oct. 28–Nov. 12

Actor William B. Davis will be directing and acting in Troika, an evening of three irresistible short farces by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov: The Proposal, On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco and The Bear. The play will be on stage from Oct 28 to Nov 12 at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver. For tickets, cast and more information, please check out the website.