Travel Guide Canada: Vancouver Festivals 2019

Vancouver Mountain Film Festival

Feb 22nd – March 3rd

Ten days celebrating mountain, film, sports and culture. Sounds exactly like the kind of festival I would expect here in Vancouver – and I’m excited to get to some of this.

If you didn’t know already, this is a pretty popular spot for all things mountains and hike, snowboard/skiing on the snowy slopes and just getting out of the city for some camping / nature fun is all part and parcel of life here (If you want to do that, of course.)

Squamish / The Chief views.

A seriously cool line up of events as well as talks, film screenings and more. There will be talks about climbing the highest peaks in the Alps or biking through the world’s highest mountains, adventure photography and climbing across some of the Canada’s alpine trilogy.

There will be a discussion around the effect of climate change on British Columbia and some very interesting screenings of films – environmental, skiing, climbing, mountain adventure and sports. Woo, it’s going to be awesome!

Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival

March 8th – 17th

This is an annual literary festival which celebrates the diverse Canadian writers and artists. It takes place on the ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples.

There will be panels and discussions and workshops, there is a strong focus on providing a safe, nourishing and non-toxic environment free from harassment and violence with guidelines in place.

Room Magazine’s Growing Room Festival . Photo: Source

This is going to be fantastic, there will be over 100 authors involved in over 50 events across the city and the programme looks wonderful , check it out HERE.

Talking Stick Festival  February 

19th – March 2nd

Buy tickets HERE.

Cultural Appropriation, What’s that?

Talking Stick Festival is in it’s 18th year and is a celebration and space to showcase indigenous art and performance.

The programme includes art, performance, dance, theatre, film and more. It is aimed to attract both indigenous and non-indigenous people.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more, celebrate and support the art and work and indigenous culture.

This year’s theme ‘Cultural Appropriation, What’s that?’
elaborates the recent – and historically reoccurring – protest from Indigenous artists as they, once again, respond to careless use of Indigenous images/stories by the mainstream art world. ” Source

This is something that, as non-indigenous people, we may not have asked, educated ourselves about or considered and it is something that we very much need to. This is a fantastic platform and opportunity to do just that and look into this question and learn from those who are directly affected by the issue.

This festival is run by Full Circle, a non-profit society and registered charity that creates opportunities for indigenous artists.

Check this year’s Talking Stick programme HERE.

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

March 5th – 10

Well I’m always up for enjoying some film related entertainment , supporting a cause that helps to promote and encourage women in their field and when both of these are combined to create a women in film festival well then it is a pretty solid reason, in my book, to attend.

You can check out their film schedule HERE. The list of films being screened all sound great. She is the Ocean should be a great one to check out. This event also coincides with Women’ Day on March 8th. Perfect way to celebrate and support women.

Vancouver Dance Festival

March 8 – 30

Sound awesome? ……

The Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) proudly announces its sweeping 2019 festival season: a diverse and dynamic roster of internationally celebrated artists and local favourites, presenting three weeks of endlessly enriching performances, workshops, and a host of dance activities from March 4 to 30, 2019, at various venues throughout Vancouver.”.Source

There is something about dance that is just so mesmerizing to watch, as well as to participate in. I love to dance, not that I do so in any methodical or ‘good’ manner but it is a healing therapy for sure. This festival sounds magic and I am looking forward to getting to some shows across the weeks it will be taking place.

There will also be free shows, workshops and classes to join in on – including KOKORO dance, DAIRAKUDAKAN, award winning choreographer Manual Roque and a Tjimur theatre dance workshop. Can I sign up for them all? Check them out HERE.

Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival

Hello Food truck festival, I have been waiting for you all my life!

So you can probably tell that Vancouver love their food trucks and I’m delighted about it. I love seeing the long queues of people waiting at their favorite truck, sitting around on the benches, parks, street corners munching on their rough and ready delicious freshly made food and the whole scene that comes with that. People chatting, happy to wait and be patient and no frills approach to their food – you come for the quality and when it’s good – the rest speaks for itself.

So how cool that there is a food truck festival, I love this idea ! The first event kicks of on April 27th in Port Moody and continues to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge and Cloverdale. You can check out the event listings here.

Another good reason for me to make a day trip to some of these places, every event is free and you can see the food trucks listed so far Here.

Cherry Blossom Festival

April 4th – 28th

What happens at a cherry blossom festival you ask? Well I shall let you all know in a couple of months. It will be an abundance of pink beauty for one, I suspect.

Other things you can expect include a big community picnic in Queen’s Park, Haiku creations, Singing events, a Japan fair and a ‘Sakuru Night’ with some exquisite cuisine from some of Vancouver’s top local chefs!

This festival feels very much like a celebration and marking of spring, reawakening after a long winter, tuning into and honouring the beauty of nature as she blooms around us and cultivating and celebrating community. I am in!

Vancouver being dreamy as usual.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival

July 13th- 15th

Ohhh when I saw that good ol’ Mick Flannery played here last year, it got my attention. This should be a fun weekend in the city.

With the promise of the amazing Vancouver summers I’ve been told about, I can’t think of a better way to spend the sunny days than chilling out on a beach listening to some great music and soaking up the Canadian festival vibes!

This year’s line up and details have yet to be announced but keep your attention on this page to see who shall be rocking Jericho beach this year. The festival was originally founded in 1978 in Stanley Park and is run by the non-profit Vancouver Folk Festival society.

Oooh I am excited about summer festival season!

DOXA Documentary Film Festival

May 2nd – 12th

This festival is thanks to the Vancouver based non-profit The Documentary Media Society. It’s aim is to educate the public about the art form that is documentary films.

This festival includes public screenings, forums, panel discussions and educational programs.

Documentaries really are the best, aren’t they?

Learning about and seeing behind the scenes and the making of documentaries really adds a whole new layer to the viewing experience. This will be another opportunity to get more insight, understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of – as they highlight here- the art form that is documentary making.

You can also help support documentary makers to attend the festival and donate your airmiles to fly them over. How cool!

Donate your air miles! Photo:

DOXA also ran Vancouver’s inagural Podcast Festival last November so I really hope to see that one happen again in 2019.

Vancouver Mural Festival

August 5th- 10th

” Vancouver Mural Festival is organized by Create Vancouver Society, a Registered Non-Profit dedicated to artistic and cultural development in the Lower Mainland. ” Source

I’m excited for this. Vancouver is such a gorgeous city, there is so much street art and general creativity everywhere you step here and this will be super cool to watch and experience.

This festival takes place in the Mount Pleasant area and is an opportunity for artists to have a permanent large scale space for their work. The pieces and work showcased are an opportunity to highlight issues facing the local communities and artistic communities in Vancouver – such as policies, reconciliation with First Nations, censorship, living costs and the need to provide space and projects like this for cultural and artistic exploration and development. I am really looking forward to it !

Local and international artists can apply from February 1st -28th.

Vancouver International Film Festival

September 26th – October 11th

The International Film Festival takes place in September and I just love film festivals so can’t wait for this one. This is a 16 day festival and it attracts thousands of film fans, so it’s a biggie.

It also has the largest selection of East Asian films outside of the region, which is great to see and there will be a whole host of international and national films on show and excellent documentaries for the doc lovers.

Previous years has also included a buffer festival programme which includes You Tube Content, augmented and virtual reality submissions!

2019 submissions are currently being taken and be sure to keep an eye on the unfolding of 2019’s lineup HERE.

Vancouver Writers Festival

October 21st – 27th

This is a festival to bring readers and writers together and this union takes place on Granville island. While the main festival takes place in October, there are events running year round in celebration and engagement with the literary world – such as free readings at Vancouver Public Library, Youth educational outreach programs and writing contests.

This festival has drawn award winning authors from all over the world and looks to be a festival to attend for the reading and writing enthusiasts alike.

Check out the events that are currently happening in Vancouver with their Incite programme – and their ‘Whisky and Words’ masterclasses sound fun!

Vancouver is my muse.

Vancouver International Bird Festival


So this happened last August and although there is no 2019 event dates up yet, I am optimistic that this will happen again. How wonderful would this be.

One thing I have loved since arriving to Vancouver is the bird life and learning a bit more about the magical little worlds of birds.

This festival has activities and talks for all ages and also includes photography workshops, art workshops and art work created by indigenous communities. Many events are free and is run by individuals and communities with a keen interest in birds.

Through this festival they hope to celebrate, share and engage others in the nature and love of birds.

Yes please!

Vancouver Fringe Festival

September 5-15

Who doesn’t love a good fringe festival? And I bet Vancouver does it pretty epically ? (Is that a word?!)

This is run by the Vancouver Fringe Theatre society and runs over 10days in September and with over 700 performances!!! Woo! It is also (according to the website), voted Vancouver’s best arts festival. Exciting!

The mainstage shows are “literally drawn out of a hat to give every artist a chance”and there is music and shows every night at the Fringe bar.

It also has a “Bring Your Own Venue” category to allow artists stage original works in original venues. Sooo cool!

This will be a fun 10 days around the city for SURE! Looking very much forward to it. And I do love September festivals.

Constellation Festival , Squamish

July 26th-28th

Not Vancouver, but close!

This is a new festival and well, I’m not quite sure what to expect but I’m gonna keep it in mind and see what comes together. I love new festivals and the first year/couple of years are always really nice times to attend and support and be part of.

It will be a celebration and support to music from British Columbia and beyond as well as art installations, markets, delcious local brews and food and the stunning surrounds of Squamish.

If you would like to get involved you can contact them and apply. Otherwise sign up to attend and see what happens. A nice weekend away from the city!

Harmony Arts Festival

August 2-11

This is a festival that combines culinary, visual and performance arts on the Vancouver waterfront. There are concert stages. food vendors, activities, outdoor cinema screenings (I love these!), art markets and exhibitions and much more I would suspect.

This sounds fabulous and just another example of the vibrant art and culture scene here and seeing it come to life on the Vancouver streets.

Yoga Festival

June 16th

This is a one day event happening in June to celebrate “the joy of wellness” as well as bringing together the yoga and health communities around the BC area.

It will be a nice opportunity to check in with the local yoga scene and take some classes, workshops and hear some talks as well as sample some nice health food I assume. 🙂

A day out for yourself!

Veg Expo

May 5th

This is a day dedicated to connecting people at all stages of their plant based journey. There will be cooking demos, talks, workshops, information on locally sourced foods and products , sustainable transportation options on the market, a ‘vegetarian lounge’ and free samples and give aways.

The plant loving scene is really huge and thriving here in Vancouver so this will be a great way to connect more and also discover what is happening here.

Here are some of the talks that you can expect here.

Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival

July 18th – 21st

I always enjoy combing visits to new places with some sort of event or festival that may be happening there. This may just be my time to plan a trip to Denman Island.

This is a week dedicated to helping budding writers in their quest to write, publish or continue their journey with the written word. There will be an opportunity for all to get feedback, encouragement and support from published authors and professionals in the writing field.

It sounds great. And you get to combine it with a trip to Denman Island, I’m in!

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

Mmmmm a whole week dedicated to craft beer. I shall be there with bells on, thank you!

There will be over 100 craft beer and cider breweries showcasing over 300 beers and ciders (yowza! Take it slow now Clair.)

You can enjoy events revolved around….beer… music, food, community and discovering local breweries and what not! 2019 music artists are to be announced but check out the 2018 line-up for an idea. You can also scroll down and see the delicious array of food trucks that have been on offer in the past.

Ohh this will be super!!

Davie Street looking colourful.

Vancouver Pride Festival

July 29th – August 5th

Oh I’m excited about this, Pride festivals are always so much fun and full or colourful fun-loving vibes, (London Pride was a hoot!).

This promises to be a weekend of all the celebration and expression and out and about in the sun celebrating with the pride community. I’m also super stoked as it’s right in my ‘hood – so picnics in the parks, street parties and all the joy right at my doorstep. Hoorah.

I hear there will be concerts, tea parties, family events, youth dances and a rainbow coloured parade! yiiii.

Soooo 2019 is gearing up to be a great year for festivals here in Vancouver, there will be many more to add to this list I am sure (Send on anyones you think I may enjoy :)!)

If you haven’t quite made it over to the Canada side of the world, check out my Irish Festival Guide for 2019

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