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The Must-Do #Canada150 Events on Vancouver Island

Whether you’ve timed it strategically or you happen to be on Vancouver Island for Canada Day, you’ve got the option of penciling in the many Canada 150 celebrations happening across the island. Tuck into a pancake breakfast, line up on the streets for a parade, and snuggle up to catch some fireworks.

“Canada 150 is a unique opportunity for communities to celebrate all that it means to be Canadian. Celebrations will be taking place all across the country, culminating with Canada Day. Join your friends and family and be a part of the celebrations in this outstanding year!”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Browse the Canada 150 events by Vancouver Island region, below!

South Island

BC’s capital is no doubt playing host to the Island’s largest Canada 150 celebration. There’s no shortage of highlights: live music from Canadian staples and up-and-comers, bites from a fleet of food trucks, and harmonious voices from the Sooke choir are just some to look forward to.

Performances take place at Ship Point Inner Harbour and the BC Legislature lawns. Check out the schedule to see the list of performers and plan your Canada 150.

Cowichan & Central Island

Vancouver Island’s central region is putting a new spin on Canada Day this year, and the towns are certain to make a splash!

Nanaimo is bringing back the historic bathtub race from Nanaimo to Vancouver, the route that used to be standard until the mid 1990s. These raucous athletes skid across water and over whitecaps in a bathtub, their sights set on beating the other tubbers. Don’t be fooled by the name though; these tubs have evolved into specialized vessels that make fast work of the race.

The Canada 150 committee in Nanaimo has also commissioned a musical revue to celebrate the coal mining town’s history, and because the tubbing theme runs so deep in the local culture, it gets a share of the limelight too. Blackstones and Bathtubs opens July 6th, but you can catch a preview on the Canada Day Celebrations in Maffeo Sutton.

Along with their renowned parade, Parksville will also be hosting some central Vancouver Island musical favourites. One such group is the the Moonshine Mollys. They’re their own brand of West Coast country, and they put on a show you don’t want to miss.

The home of the totem poles, Duncan in the Cowichan Valley, is raising another wooden sentinel for this year’s celebrations, and residents across the Cowichan Valley have been able to contribute, with the help of master carver Thomas Hunt Jr. The artist and his work will travel across the community throughout the summer, and while it won’t be on display for July 1, its unveiling is something you can plan on if you’re travelling in September.

For the day of, Duncan will be home to an array of family activities, a free lunch, and a photo booth.

Pacific Rim

Tofino Village Green will come alive starting July 1 for the Pacific Rim Summer Festival, with Canada Day events including a free concert. The festival doesn’t stop there; live performances stretch until July 9th.

And what could be more Canadian than making use of your Canada Parks pass to visit Pacific Rim National Park? Head over to Wickaninnish Beach for Canada Day sand castle building, family fun, and good eats.

North Central & North Island

The Comox Valley is kicking off the weekend with the past 15 decades of Canadian history in pageant form, leading visitors into a weekend of pancake breakfasts, parade floats, and live music. The adventurous can sign up for a circus workshop!

Fun, food, and fireworks are the theme for Port Hardy’s Canada Day celebrations in Carrot Park this year. Catch a movie in the park and settle in before the fireworks start at 11pm.

Gulf Islands

Salt Spring Island is expanding their celebrations to 150 Days of fun, and on the day of, Ganges Village will be home to hot rods and motorcycles for the Canada Day Show & Shine. Catch live musical performances, mingle with the local artisans, and snack on eats from food trucks and stalls.

Where to See Canada 150 Fireworks on Vancouver Island

No matter your vantage point, fireworks on Canada Day are the nightcap to a day’s worth of fun. Here’s where you can catch fireworks this July 1st:

  • Victoria – watch from downtown or on a kayak with Ocean River Adventures
  • Nanaimo – grab a spot near the pirate mayor statue in Maffeo Sutton Park or ferry over to the Dinghy Dock to watch the harbour light up
  • Sooke – head over to the flats around 10 pm for a cozier south Island fireworks show
  • Parksville – watch the sky and water light up from the sandy dunes that make up Parksville’s beachfront
  • Salt Spring Island – this southern Gulf Island puts on a spectacular harbour light show, visible from the green lawns of Ganges
  • Port Hardy – look on from Government Wharf to see the sky painted on Canada Day

Come over to the Island with BC Ferries

Make a vacation out of your Canada Day celebrations. BC Ferries is offering Canada 150 retreats to Parksville’s Tigh-Na-Mara resort, as well as to the Inn at Laurel Point and the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria. Can’t make it the weekend of? These travel deals are available until July 31, 2017.

Planning a trip to #ExploreVancouverIsland? We suggest building a custom travel formula, so you can tick all your boxes and add to your bucket list. Get started by finding your element.

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