Summer has finally found its way to Vancouver, and it would be a pity to stay at home and not enjoy all that the city has to offer. We prepared a small taste of what’s going on in the city for your inspiration, so we hope to see you around at some of these awesome events!
Italian Day on Commercial Drive (June 9)
From 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on the second Sunday in June, Commercial Drive will once again be transformed into a true Italian tow, following the festive Venezian style. Visitors can expect the Drive to be full of masks, costumes, fashion, street entertainers, and of course excellent food and drinks to keep spirits high! This year, the festival will mimic the famous Carnevale di Venezia and conjure the unique atmosphere of Italy. Don’t miss this great opportunity to pay tribute to the Italian heritage of our city and spend a great day outdoors together with the local community.
Bard on the Beach (June 12 to September 14)
Bard on the Beach is probably the most popular professional Shakespeare festival on the West Coast, and no wonder! What could be a better setting for Shakespeare’s masterpieces than open theatre tents on the picturesque waterfront in Vanier Park, overlooked by the mountains in the distance? The whole idea of performance theatre in tents originated during the Fringe Festival in 1990, when 6,000 people turned up for the performance. Immediately, the idea of starting a separate festival was born.
In 2013, the audience can look forward to seeing three of Shakespeare’s plays. Twelfth Night, directed by Dennis Garnhum, will take us to the spa, where true love is celebrated together with Viola and Olivia. The eponymous Hamlet will continue his search for truth and justice under Kim Collier’s direction, and Measure for Measure will be set in 1900s New Orleans. Another play on the program is Elizabeth Rex by Timothy Findley, a poignant study of a sovereign in love. Performances will be held in two separate tents, the Mainstage (742 seats) and the Douglas Campbell Studio Stage (240 seats).
Bard On The Beach
As well as the excellent theatre performances, visitors are welcome to join in several special events organized during the festival. You can accept an invitation to a salmon barbecue connected with the Celebration of Light Fireworks or savour exquisite red and white wine after matinée performances and before evening performances — after all, theatre should be a social event, not just an artistic experience. Theatre lovers can also participate in Bard Explored events that feature talks and lectures by Shakespeare experts. Ticket prices for performances vary from $25 to $43, and some of the supporting events are $10. Check the Bard on the Beach website for more information.
Francophone Summer Festival (June 13 to June 31)
Join the celebration of francophone culture in Vancouver this June. The festival is certainly one of the most important events of its kind in western Canada, and it's worth visiting. The program of the week will be packed with music performances of various styles and genres, following the 2013 theme of the festival, many accents of Francophonie. Some of the participating artists include Trio a Vrai Dire, Sokoun Trio and Anagram, and Dead Obies. Ticket prices vary according to each performance, and members of the cultural centre are entitled to discounts.
Night at Aquarium Signature Gala (June 13)
Have you ever spent a gala night at the Vancouver Aquarium? Well, now you're given a great opportunity to enjoy it and do a good deed too. Gala’s goal is to raise funds to keep the aquarium’s conservation, research, and education programs alive. Guests will have a chance to savour delicious wines and foods while engaging in live and silent auctions or enjoying the live entertainment prepared for the night. Regular tickets for this high-profile event cost $300, and a table for eight people can be reserved for $3,000.
Night At The Aquarim by John Heil Photography
Vancouver Draw Down (June 15)
Vancouver Draw Down reaches its fourth year, and it’s growing more and more popular. The idea behind the event is to celebrate drawing of all kinds and encourage everyone to reconnect with the "creative pleasure of making marks." Community centres, museums, galleries, and many venues right on the streets will welcome Vancouverites to stop for a moment and simply draw. Some of the workshops will be held by professional artists, who will assist people with their drawing, but it’s important to remember that this festival is not so much about skills, but about having fun while drawing and sharing with the community.
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (June 21 to 23)
The Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver celebrates its 25th anniversary and invites everyone to join the party. Every year, more than 100,000 visitors come out and watch about 180 dragon boat teams from all around the world compete against each other on the waters of False Creek. Besides boat racing of the highest calibre, attendees can look forward to a rich program with music focusing on rhythms of the world, entertainment, shopping, and delicious food that will be available at the site. The event takes place at Concord Pacific Place (next to Science World) and it’s free.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June 21 to July 1)
The Vancouver Jazz Festival, called the hippest jazz festival in the world by some and certainly one of the most critically acclaimed festivals, returns with its 2013 edition in style. Some of the most anticipated performers on this year’s line-up include Herbie Hancock, Nikki Yanofski, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, and the David Murray Infinity Quartet featuring Macy Gray. The festival venues are once again scattered all over the city, and they are already preparing to host more than 300 concerts (150 of which are free) during the ten days of the festival. Ticket prices vary, so check the website for more information about individual events.
Make Music Vancouver (June 21)
Local enthusiasts felt their community could use a musical event that brings people from the neighbourhood together, so they started Make Music Vancouver, an entirely free event taking place right on the street. Water Street is shut down for a full afternoon to provide space for both professional and amateur musicians and dancers, who use the sidewalk as their stage. The festival has attracted tens of thousands visitors ever since its establishment in 2011 and hopes to keep up the of celebrating Vancouver’s diversity and creative scene in shared public space. The idea of the street festival that inspired organizers originated in France in 1982 and has spread all over the world ever since. We can only be glad that it also hit Vancouver after decades of global popularity.
Greek Day (June 23)
Broadway Street is well known as a traditional home to Vancouver’s Greek community. It was a logical choice to start a Greek Day celebrations right here. Similar to Italian Day, Greek Day strives to bring Greek culture and lifestyle closer to Vancouverites, and organizers know very well how to throw a true Greek party on the street. Expect live entertainment consisting of music and dance performances, dance workshops, and of course plenty of the delicious Greek food that we all love so much — straight from local Greek restaurants and bistros. The event is free and it’s supported by the Helenic Canadian Congress.
Sunday Afternoon Salsa in Robson Square (June 30 to August 25)
The annual free salsa series return to Robson Square to let you move your bodies and bring some tropical heat to Vancouver. Everybody is welcome, whether you've already danced before or you're a complete beginner. If you’re interested in learning a few basic steps and having lots of fun, this might be the right event for you. The free Sunday salsa lessons will be held throughout the whole summer, so you have plenty of opportunities to make your mind and take the first step towards your salsa experience. Lessons always take place at 3:00 P.M and performances by professional dancers usually start at 5:00 P.M.