To celebrate Civic Holiday 2023, now known as British Columbia Day in BC, you can participate in community fairs, local parades, and music festivals. You can also explore the province’s rich history by visiting museums and heritage sites, or enjoy its stunning natural beauty through outdoor activities. Additionally, you can engage in homely celebrations like cooking traditional BC dishes or plan day trips to immerse in the spirit of the day.
As the summer sun shines brightly overhead, casting a warm, inviting glow across the land, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation in the air. A nationwide celebration is on the horizon, a day when Canadians from coast to coast pause their daily routines to revel in the spirit of unity and shared heritage. This is no ordinary day, my friends. This is the Civic Holiday, a cherished observance that brings the entire country together in a grand, joyous celebration.
But wait, there’s a twist in the tale! In the breathtakingly beautiful province of British Columbia, the Civic Holiday takes on a unique, vibrant hue. Here, it transforms into British Columbia Day, a special interpretation of the nationwide observance that pays homage to the province’s rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty.
Now, you might be wondering, “How do I join in the festivities? How do I make the most of British Columbia Day in BC?” Well, dear reader, you’re in for a treat! This article is your trusty guide, your treasure map, leading you through a myriad of ways to commemorate this special day.
So, buckle up and get ready for an exciting journey as we delve into the heart of British Columbia Day celebrations. From time-honoured traditions to city-specific festivities, from historical explorations to outdoor excursions, we’ve got it all covered. By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to embrace British Columbia Day with open arms and a heart full of joy.
Let the adventure begin!
Echoes of the Past: Traditional Observances
As we delve into the heart of British Columbia Day, it’s important to appreciate the traditional ways this special day has been celebrated.
British Columbia Day is a time of joy and community spirit. Over the years, British Columbians have marked this day with a variety of traditions that highlight the province’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant community life.
Consider the community fairs that take place across the province. These events are filled with stalls offering local food and handmade crafts, creating a lively atmosphere where community members come together to celebrate their shared heritage.
Then, there are the music festivals that take place on British Columbia Day. These events feature local bands and artists from a variety of genres, providing a soundtrack to the day’s celebrations and showcasing the province’s diverse musical talents.
And let’s not forget the local parades. These events are a highlight of British Columbia Day, featuring colourful floats, marching bands, and performers in traditional attire. The parades offer a visual representation of the province’s cultural diversity and community spirit.
As we prepare to celebrate British Columbia Day, let’s remember these traditional observances. Let’s enjoy the community fairs, let the music festivals enhance our celebrations, and let the local parades add colour to our day. These traditions, rooted in the past, make British Columbia Day a unique and special occasion.
Alright, folks! It’s time to pack our virtual bags and embark on a whirlwind tour of British Columbia’s key cities. Each city has its own unique way of celebrating British Columbia Day, and we’re here to uncover the magic that makes each one special. So, fasten your seatbelts and let’s hit the road!
Ah, beautiful Vancouver! Known for its stunning skyline and vibrant cultural scene, Vancouver knows how to throw a party. Here’s what’s on the British Columbia Day menu in this bustling city:
Vancouver lights up the night sky with a spectacular fireworks display. It’s a sight to behold, with the city’s skyline serving as the perfect backdrop.
Date – Sun, Aug 6, 2023
Location – Sheraton Wall Centre 1000 Burrard St. Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R9 Canada
Price – CA$78.19
Time – 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT
Hours – 5 hours
The city comes alive with the sound of music, as outdoor concerts featuring local bands take over public spaces.
Rock out like a true Rock Star! Join Bonus Stage’s Rockband Karaoke at The Rec Room Burnaby for an epic night of Rockband 4 on a real stage. Form a band, play over 1400 songs, and enjoy a safe and sanitized experience with provided microphone covers. Unleash your inner rock legend and rock the crowd, both virtually and in person! Details
Date & Time: Sat, Aug 5, 2023 5:45 PM – 9:00 PM PDT
Next stop, Victoria! The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria is steeped in history and charm. Here’s how Victoria celebrates British Columbia Day:
- Heritage Walks: Victoria invites you to step back in time with guided heritage walks around the city. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s rich history.
- Garden Festivals: Victoria, known as the ‘City of Gardens’, celebrates with garden festivals, showcasing its beautiful flora.
Victoria invites you to step back in time with guided heritage walks around the city. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s rich history.
Kelowna Ghost Tours Presents: Heritage Downtown Ghostly Walk
Join us as we explore the historic areas of Bernard and Lawrence Avenues, where you can experience the echoes of Kelowna’s past that still linger in the streets and houses, especially after dark! Listen and learn about the ghostly tales from your very own hometown!
Get to know stories like “The Knowles Know Kelowna”, “The DeHart House Haunting”, “The Royal Anne Stalker”, “The Haunted High Schools”, and more. Details
Date & Time: Sun, Aug 13, 2023 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM PDT
Victoria, known as the ‘City of Gardens’, celebrates with garden festivals, showcasing its beautiful flora.
Branching OUT 2023 : An Evening of Plants, Pride and LGBTQ2S+ Community
QMUNITY: BC’s Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit Resource Centre is hosting BranchingOUT, a pre-Vancouver Pride Festival event for the LGBTQ2S+ community to explore UBC Botanical Garden’s collections with guided tours, including the GreenHeart TreeWalk. The event includes light snacks and drinks, with the option to purchase up to two alcoholic beverages, and guests are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes. Details
Date & Time: Wed, Aug 2, 2023 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT
On to Surrey, a city that blends urban living with nature’s charm. Here’s what Surrey has in store for British Columbia Day:
Surrey celebrates its cultural diversity with performances showcasing various traditions.
Surrey’s food festivals offer a taste of the city’s diverse culinary scene.
Date – Saturday, August 5
Location – Moss Street Market 1330 Fairfield Road Victoria, BC V8S 5J1 Canada
Price – CA$20.00
Time – 11:30am – 2:30pm PDT
Hours – 3 hours
Last but not least, we arrive in Burnaby, a city known for its beautiful parks and bustling shopping districts. Here’s how Burnaby marks British Columbia Day:
Burnaby takes advantage of its beautiful parks, hosting various festivities that include games, food, and live music.
All levels summer outdoor yoga at Hollywood Park
Join me for a rejuvenating one-hour yoga session every Saturday, equipped with your mat and water bottle, to kickstart your day with energy and positivity. As a certified yoga instructor with three years of experience, I specialize in a slower-paced style that emphasizes pose holding, stretching, posture, alignment, and breath. Check out my virtual class schedule at movestretchrepeat.com for more opportunities to practice. Details
Date & Time: Sat, Aug 5, 2023 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM PDT
Location: Hollywood Park, Victoria BC 1700 Fairfield Road Victoria, BC V8S 1G3 Canada
- Art Exhibitions: Local artists get a chance to shine as art exhibitions take centre stage in the city’s celebrations.
Local artists get a chance to shine as art exhibitions take centre stage in the city’s celebrations.
Family Visual Arts Days
Join us for family-friendly Visual Arts sessions every Saturday, offering a variety of activities like painting, drawing, and collage-making suitable for all ages. A complimentary 30-minute lunch will be provided post-activity. Details
Date and time: Saturday, August 5 · 10am – 12:30pm PDT
Location: Rotary Centre for the Arts 421 Cawston Avenue Kelowna, BC V1Y 6Z1 Canada
Journey Through Time: Historical Exploration
Ready to embark on a time-travelling adventure? Buckle up, because we’re about to dive deep into the heart of British Columbia’s rich history! This British Columbia Day, we encourage you to step away from the present and immerse yourself in the past. Here’s how:
- Museum Marvels: Museums are magical portals to the past. They house treasures that tell the tale of BC’s vibrant history and diverse cultures. So, why not spend a part of your day exploring these treasure troves? From the Royal BC Museum in Victoria to the Museum of Vancouver, there’s a wealth of knowledge waiting to be discovered.
- Highlight: The Museum of Anthropology at UBC Vancouver is a must-visit. It’s renowned for its displays of world arts and cultures, particularly works by First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations. Details
- Heritage Hopping: BC is peppered with heritage sites that echo the voices of the past. These sites offer a unique glimpse into the lives of the people who shaped BC into what it is today.
- Highlight: The Historic Stewart Farm in Surrey is a time capsule that transports you back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Details
- Cultural Corners: BC’s cultural hubs are vibrant spaces that celebrate the province’s multicultural heritage. They offer a rich blend of history, art, and traditions that reflect the cultural mosaic of BC.
- Highlight: Chinatown in Vancouver, one of the oldest in North America, is a bustling cultural hub that offers a unique blend of history, food, and culture. Details
- Landmark Love: BC’s cities are home to numerous historical landmarks. These landmarks, each with their unique story, add a distinct charm to the cityscape.
- Highlight: The Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, a Victorian-era mansion, tells the story of the Dunsmuir family and their role in BC’s history. Details
Nature’s Call: Outdoor Excursions
Ready to answer the call of the wild? British Columbia is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, and there’s no better time to explore than on British Columbia Day. Here are some of the top spots to soak in BC’s natural beauty:
Stanley Park, Vancouver
This 405-hectare public park is a green oasis in the midst of the urban landscape. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a bike ride, or a picnic. You can also visit the Vancouver Aquarium, go swimming at one of the beaches, or explore the park’s extensive trail system.
Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver
Known as the “Peak of Vancouver,” Grouse Mountain offers breathtaking views, hiking trails, wildlife encounters, and even a lumberjack show. In the summer, you can take the Skyride gondola up the mountain, hike the Grouse Grind, visit the wildlife refuge, or dine at one of the mountain-top restaurants. Details
Golden Ears Provincial Park, Maple Ridge
One of British Columbia’s largest parks, Golden Ears is an exceptional destination for all sorts of recreation. The park features three large campgrounds and an extensive system of hiking and horseback-riding trails. Alouette Lake, meanwhile, is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating, and fishing. Details
Who says you need to step out to celebrate British Columbia Day? Sometimes, the best parties are the ones thrown in the comfort of your own home. Here are some creative and fun-filled ways to commemorate BC Day without leaving your doorstep:
- BC’s Culinary Delights: Don your chef’s hat and whip up some traditional BC dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- BC Roll: This sushi roll is a BC original, featuring grilled salmon skin and cucumber. Details
- Spot Prawns: These sweet, succulent prawns are a BC delicacy.
- Sockeye Salmon: BC is famous for its wild Pacific salmon, and sockeye is one of the most sought-after species.
- Okanagan Valley Fruit Salad: Make a refreshing fruit salad with apples, peaches, and cherries from the Okanagan Valley.
- Nanaimo Bars: End your meal with this no-bake dessert bar named after the city of Nanaimo in BC.
- BC-Themed Trivia Night: Test your knowledge about BC with a trivia night. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What city has the world’s largest hockey stick? Details
- British Columbia draws many visitors to its natural attractions. Can you name a few?
- What is the main highway to go north to Alaska and into the Yukon and Northwest Territories?
- Shuswap is considered the __________ capital of Canada. Can you fill in the blank?
- Board Games and Puzzles: Spend the day playing board games or working on puzzles that highlight BC’s landmarks or wildlife. It’s a relaxing way to spend the day and perfect for all ages.
- Crafts and DIY Projects: Get creative with some BC-themed crafts. You could make your own miniature totem poles, create a collage of BC’s stunning landscapes, or even paint a picture of your favourite BC memory.
- Movie Marathon: Watch films and documentaries that were shot in BC or are about BC. It’s a great way to appreciate the province’s scenic beauty and rich history from your living room.
Mini-Adventures: Day Trips for British Columbia Day
British Columbia Day is the perfect opportunity to explore the province’s stunning landscapes and vibrant cities. Here are some day trip ideas that will immerse you in the spirit of BC:
- Whistler: Known for its ski slopes, Whistler is a year-round destination offering activities like mountain biking, golf, and hiking during the summer. Don’t forget to take a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for breathtaking views. Details
- Victoria: The capital city of BC, Victoria, is known for its British colonial past. Visit the Butchart Gardens, Royal BC Museum, and enjoy a walk around the Inner Harbour. Details
- Bowen Island: Just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, Bowen Island offers hiking trails, kayaking, and charming local shops and restaurants. Details
- Sunshine Coast: This stretch of coastline is known for its stunning landscapes, outdoor activities, and artist communities. Details
- Squamish: Known as the ‘Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada’, Squamish offers hiking, rock climbing, and the Sea to Sky Gondola. Details
- Horseshoe Bay: This picturesque village is the perfect place for a relaxing day trip. Enjoy the beautiful views, go on a boat ride, or indulge in some fresh seafood. Details
As we’ve journeyed through the myriad ways to celebrate British Columbia Day, it’s clear that this special day is more than just a holiday. It’s an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich cultural tapestry, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant cities that make BC truly unique. Whether you choose to delve into the past, explore the present, or even cook up a BC-themed feast at home, each activity brings us closer to understanding and appreciating the essence of British Columbia.
This guide is just a starting point. There are countless ways to celebrate British Columbia Day, each as unique as the people who call this province home. So, whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and most importantly, have fun!
Remember, the spirit of British Columbia Day lies not just in the celebrations, but in the shared sense of community and mutual respect for the diverse cultures and histories that make up this province. So, let’s celebrate British Columbia Day with an open heart and an open mind, cherishing the past, embracing the present, and looking forward to the future.
Happy British Columbia Day!
Julie R McCrea is an eLearning and Employment Project Specialist, author, and advocate for newcomers to Canada. With over 20 years in adult education, she contributes insightful Canadian Cultural articles to various platforms, including civicholiday.org. Julie’s passion for innovative learning approaches and her belief in education as the great equalizer shine through her work. She manages the EMCN Job Ready YouTube channel and is a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ2S+ community.