What to do in B.C. for Canada Day 2024

B.C. communities across the province are marking the 157th anniversary of Canada's founding with a host of events on Monday, July 1.  (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press - image credit)
B.C. communities across the province are marking the 157th anniversary of Canada's founding with a host of events on Monday, July 1. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press - image credit)

Communities across B.C. are planning a host of events to mark the 157th anniversary of Canada's founding on Monday, July 1.

Here is a quick roundup of some free celebrations happening throughout the province.

Lower Mainland

In Vancouver, organizers for the festivity at Canada Place say it has historically been the largest Canada Day celebration outside of Ottawa. Named Canada Together, it is taking place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hosted in partnership with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, the event will feature Indigenous displays, music performances, family-friendly activities and a citizenship ceremony. There will be no fireworks.

Surrey Canada Day, advertised as "Western Canada's largest Canada Day celebration," will be held at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The event will include live music, kid-friendly activities, Indigenous cultural sharing and more. It will end with a fireworks display.

In Richmond, the Steveston Salmon Festival is back for its 77th year of festivities. The parade will start at 10 a.m., and there will be no fireworks to close the festival this year.

Listen | Monday is the 77th Steveston Salmon Festival in Richmond:

Up the coast is the District of Sechelt, which is hosting an 11-day celebration of Indigenous knowledge and cultures with the shíshálh Nation and the syíyaya Reconciliation Movement. Named syíyaya Days, the event started on National Indigenous Peoples Day and will end with a community parade on Canada Day.

Vancouver Island

Across Vancouver Island, celebrations are happening in Nanaimo, Langford, Campbell River and more. Campbell River, in particular, is planning to have the "largest Canada Day fireworks in the whole of British Columbia" at 10:22 p.m. at Robert Oster Park.

Many cities and towns in northern Ontario have cancelled their fireworks shows for Canada Day and prohibited the firing off of backyard fireworks as well.
Many cities and towns in northern Ontario have cancelled their fireworks shows for Canada Day and prohibited the firing off of backyard fireworks as well.

Many cities and towns in B.C. are planning fireworks displays for Canada Day, while some have banned them. (Dreamcatcher Fireworks)

Victoria's celebration will start at 11 a.m. and take place in the Inner Harbour and the legislature's lawn. The day will end with a drone show at 10:15 p.m. — a new feature this year — and fireworks at 10:22 p.m.

B.C. Interior

In the interior, Kelowna will celebrate Canada Day with a festival at multiple locations along the lakefront and in the Cultural District. As a "last-minute addition," the city will have a fireworks display at 10 p.m. at Okanagan Lake.

Vernon's all-day event will begin at 10 a.m. at Polson Park. It will wrap at 10 p.m. with a 15-minute performance of 250 drones, which Tourism Vernon bills as the "first-ever drone show in the Okanagan." This is taking place in lieu of a firework display to reduce fire risks.

Northern B.C.

In the north, Prince George's celebration will take place at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will feature multicultural acts, from Khast'an Drummers to Bollywood dancers to Samba/ Bossa Nova musicians. Due to an ongoing fire ban, there will be no fireworks displays.

Fort St. John will kick start its wide range of all-day events at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the fire hall before launching its Canada Day Parade at 11 a.m.

How to get around on Canada Day?

In the Lower Mainland, TransLink says riders will only have to pay the holiday or one-zone fare to access all zones. Its bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain services will also operate on the Sunday/ holiday schedule.

The last train from Waterfront to King George will depart at 1:16 a.m., and the last one from Waterfront to Lougheed/Production Way–University will depart at 1:11 a.m. The last SeaBus departure from Lonsdale will be at 11:02 p.m., and the last one from Waterfront will be at 11:16 p.m.

The West Coast Express will not be running on Monday.

Overhead shot of a SkyTrain in Vancouver
Overhead shot of a SkyTrain in Vancouver

TransLink says its SkyTrain services will operate on the Sunday/ holiday schedule on Canada Day. (CBC)

Beyond Metro Vancouver, B.C. Transit says there will be free transit on local routes or shuttles in Campbell River, Comox Valley, Kamloops, Kitimat, Penticton, Powell River, Nanaimo, Squamish and Whistler.

Regular fares will remain in Kelowna, Prince George, Salt Spring Island, the Sunshine Coast and Victoria regional.

B.C. Transit also says most of these areas will see a weekend or modified schedule, except for Penticton and Whistler.

For those looking to travel with B.C. Ferries over the long weekend, the service is warning customers with a vehicle that there is limited space available to book in advance for routes between Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver – Sunshine Coast. It says these customers should aim for off-peak days (Saturday or Sunday) and times (early morning or late night) to avoid waiting for sailings.