Canada Day is more than just downtown activities in Greater Victoria. Events are taking place up and down the peninsula, and all the way into Sooke. Make sure to keep this guide on hand while event hopping and you won't have to endure a single dull moment this Friday.
If you're driving or busing on Canada Day, keep in mind that Gorge Road will be closed from Admirals to Tillicum from 7am - 6pm, Belleville Street will be closed from Menzies to Douglas from 6am - midnight, and Government Street will be closed from Humboldt to Superior from 4pm - midnight. Free bicycle valet service will be next to the legislature, and city parkades and downtown street parking are free all day. Buses will be running on a Saturday schedule with extra buses assigned to busy routes and times. Day passes are $5 and no alcohol is allowed on board.
Finally, if you spot any non-emergency-but-concerning situations in the Victoria area, the Victoria Police Department will be responding to the #VicPDHelps hashtag on Facebook and Twitter from 4 - 11 PM.
Canada Day In Esquimalt
12 PM - 3 PM
TD and Victoria Pride presents the Annual Memorial Dragball Game on July 1st at Vic West Park, sandwiched between Wilson St, Bay St and Esquimalt Road. The perfect sunny day to picnic in the park, while local drag talent entertains you with a game of baseball.
Canada Day At The Gorge
8:30 AM - 11 AM
The pancake breakfast starts at 8:30 AM at Craigflower-Kosapsom Park, on the Admirals end of Gorge Road, and runs until 11 AM. Plate of pancakes for $3. Coffee will also be sold for $1 at the breakfast next to the GTCA membership tent.
Canada Day Family Parade
Starts at 9 AM near the Gorge and Tillicum intersection. Come down between 8:30 and 9 AM to join the firetruck, police cars, and bagpiper in the parade with your family. Kids often decorate their bicycles with flags and wear red! The route is along Gorge Road, ending at Admirals Rd. and the Pancake Breakfast!
9 AM - 4 PM
Local and regional artisans selling handmade cards, natural soaps and body products, unique clothing, jewelry and accessories, small-batch baked goods, preserves and fudge, and much more.
Gorge on Art
Professional and emerging visual artists exhibit their work along the scenic Gorge Waterway. See paintings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics, watercolours, jewellery and textiles, and meet and discuss the artists' work.
Show & Shine Car Show
This is an extremely popular attraction, get there early to beat the crowds! There's always a good mix of classic and vintage cars to admire, including European and domestic, hot rods, muscle cars, and race cars.
Craigflower School House
The Hallmark Heritage Society will be opening the old one-room schoolhouse to the public on Canada Day. Denis Minaker, a local historian, will be giving fascinating history slideshows at 10 AM and 2 PM in the school house. At 10 AM on, come for the "Craigflower, the Oldest Schoolhouse" and then at 11 AM and 1 PM the “Glory Days on The Gorge.”.
Multicultural Food Vendors
Enjoy the many sweet and savory food and beverage vendors at the Canada Day Picnic. There will be over 20 food vendors including Mexican, gourmet pizza, fish & chips, smokies & hotdogs, Tibetan, Greek, burgers, fresh squeezed lemonade, mini-doughnuts, langos, ice cream, fruitsicles, shaved ice, baked goods, and cotton candy.
10 AM - 3 PM
Canoe rides offered by the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club along the historic Gorge Waterway. Paddle in a voyageur canoe along the waters that were plied by the First Nations of the area. Rides are $2 and start at Craigflower-Kosapsum Park beach, which was a traditional summer home of local First Nations.
Plenty of fun activities for the kids, including games, road hockey, bouncy castles and face painting.
Music & Entertainment
Starting right after the opening ceremony on the main stage and throughout the day at the other 3 stages, from 10 AM until 4 PM.
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
The delicious Strawberry Tea is set in the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club building. Fresh strawberries on cake are served with tea, coffee, or juice for just $3 per person.
Meet your community association board members at the GTCA tent located in Craigflower-Kosapsom Park. The tent serves as an information booth, the Lost & Found, and the Picnic control centre headquarters. You can also sign up for or renew your membership for 2015.
Canada Day In Downtown Victoria
10:30 AM - 10:30 PM
Victoria Harbour Festival
Local and original artists, food trucks, musicians, and much more, at the beautiful inner harbour, all Canada Day weekend. The marketplace will be featuring a Foodie Fest this year on Canada Day, with food trucks and foodie items like hand blended spices jams, sauces, truffles, fudge, ice cream, and so much more.
11 AM - 12 PM
Watoto African Choir
The Watoto Children’s Choir, who were once orphans, share their journeys to redemption and demonstrate that God desires to be a loving father to all mankind. Oh What Love will be presented at the Victoria Harbour Festival at 11 AM.
12 PM - 5 PM
The Canada Day Kid's Zone will return with plenty of interactive activities for the whole family on the Legislature lawns.
12 PM - Dusk
A Flavour of Canada Food Village
A Flavour of Canada will return with a two-day international food village, sponsors' activity tents and expanded family-oriented performances at Government St. and Belleville St.
12:30PM - 2 PM
Coast Capital Savings Living Flag
The annual Living Flag spectacle on the lawn of the Legislature will start handing out red and white t-shirts on-site 12:30 PM. Participants will then be organized and arranged for the Living Flag photo to be taken between 1:30 and 2 PM.
1 PM - 3PM
Old-Time Penny Carnival
Celebrate Canada Day with the Royal BC Museum. Bring your pennies (you knew you were saving them for a good reason) and step right up to try your hand at an egg-and-spoon race, bean bag toss and other surprises. The Penny Carnival is taking place on the grounds surrounding Helmcken House and St Ann’s Schoolhouse. Both of these historic buildings will also be opening for the season and welcome you inside to discover more about BC’s past.
1 PM - 10:20 PM
Legislature Stage Performances
The main stage at the BC Legislature Buildings will be busy all afternoon with a variety of musicians and performers:
- 1 PM: Bučan Bučan
- 2:25 PM: Ocean Rain Arts Academy
- 3 PM: Singing of the National Anthem
- 3:05 PM: Lekwungen Dancers
- 3:25 PM: Ann-Bernice Thomas – Victoria's Youth Poet Laureate
- 3:45 PM: The Kerplunks
- 4:45 PM: The Choir
- 5:35 PM: Fox Glove
- 6:25 PM: Lapis
- 7:20 PM: Radio Radio
- 8:20 PM: George Leach
- 9:20 PM: Mother Mother
2 PM - 4 PM
Cookeilidh in Concert
Celtic is Canadian! Enjoy this free concert in Market Square at 560 Johnson St. that'll get you up and jumpin' and glad to be a Canadian. Pick up some take-out food to enjoy while you watch the show, regroup with your friends and family, then head out for more Canada Day fun downtown.
6 PM - 10 PM
SHAKE! Fest 3
SHAKE! FEST 3 presents Dead Soft, Power-Buddies, Astral Gunk & Spring Breaks at Lucky Bar, 517 Yates Street. Door tickets are $16.
8:30 PM - 11 PM
JazzFest: Steve Hill
Inviting audiences to catch a glimpse of musical madness in the form of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, one-man band extraordinaire Steve Hill is one of Canada’s premier blues artists. Impressively, Steve Hill performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, with his feet playing bass drum, snare drum, and hi-hats; even hitting any other percussion within reach with a drum stick fused to the head of his trusty guitar. General tickets $22 at Hermann's Jazz Club, 753 View Street.
Tune in to accompanying music on your radio with The Zone at 91.3 FM or The Q at 100.3 FM.
10:30 PM - 1 AM
SHAKE! Fest 3
SHAKE! FEST 3 presents Isotopes, The Mandates & Durban Poison at Logan's Pub, 1821 Cook St. Door tickets are $16.
Canada Day In Langford & Sooke
9 AM - 12 PM
Bear Mountain Run Series
Lace up for the Bear Mountain Run Series! Each run in the series is open to runners and walkers of all fitness levels and ages with the choice of two distances. Plus, medals will be given at the finish line and after completing all four you will be able to connect them and make one large medal! Once you are finished your run, join in the ballroom for the post-race festivities with food, entertainment, photo ops and prizes.
9 AM - 9 PM
Canada Day Celebrations at Fort Rod
Canada Day's biggest birthday cake is always served at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. Come celebrate Canada's special day and join the excitement. Just clap your hands, or dance yourself silly to the live music throughout the day. Be a kid again, jump in and take part in all the fun activities. Enjoy the food and snacks at the concession, but remember to leave a bit of room for a piece of the huge cake.
1 PM - 2PM
Sooke Canada Day Opening Ceremony
Join in the fun of Canada Day in Sooke at the Sooke River Campground, 2259 Phillips Rd. The Sooke Pipe & Drums & RCMP lead in the parade. Sooke Pipe & Drums, Royal Canadian Legion Br 54 Colour Party, dignitaries, others with all the Territorial and Provincial flags of Canada will be paraded in. The Dignities speak on stage then free Canada Day cake is handed out at 1:30 PM.
2 PM - Dusk
Sooke Canada Day Kids Zone & Craft Fair
Fun for the whole family - kids games, music and more! Bring chairs, blankets and have fun. Business & demonstration booths, races, crafts, Inflatable Play Zone, and face painting.
Sooke Canada Day Main Stage
Fireworks in the field at the Campground depend on weather conditions. There are no benches at the park, so make sure to bring your own chair or blanket.
- 2 PM: The Kicks with Janet McTavish
- 2:45 PM: Pie Eating Contest
- 3:45 PM: Virtual Elvis: the Early Years
- 4:45 PM: The Kicks with Janet McTavish
- 5:45 PM: Virtual Elvis: the Las Vegas Years
- 8 PM: The British Invasion: The Back-Beat Band
Canada Day In Saanich(ton) & Sidney
Thursday, 3 PM - 9 PM
Head up to Sidney's Beacon Park on Thursday June 30 to get an early start on the Canada Day festivities! The Thrifty Foods Community BBQ runs from 3 PM to 7 PM, followed by entertainment at 7:30 PM. At 8 PM the Opening Ceremonies take place, followed by a giant birthday cake for Canada and live music at 8:30 PM.
Thursday, 10 PM
Make sure to catch the Musical Fireworks Extravaganza at Sidney Waterfront!
11 AM - 6 PM (Saanichton)
Come and enjoy the Cultural and Arts Festival during the Canada Day weekend at the Victoria Hindu Temple. Enjoy dazzling dances (classical, folk, Bollywood), enchanting music of India, crafts & costumes, and many other delightful activities. Taste mouth-watering dishes from India such as samosas, pakoras or lunch (at nominal cost). Admission is free.
1:30 PM - 4 PM (Saanich)
Raven Baroque Orchestra performs free concerts of hits from 1600 to 1750 (Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, etc.) in full costume at Mt. Tolmie Reservoir.
Sidney Lions Pancake Breakfast
Head to the Mary Winspear Centre at 2243 Beacon Ave for a tasty tradition, pancakes and sausages. $7 per breakfast or $20 per family up to and including 4 people. Coffee only is by donation.
Sidney Canada Day Parade
Stake out a spot early to catch the Sidney Days Parade as it runs through downtown Sidney.
12:30 PM - 4 PM
Family Fun Fair
Enjoy an array of activities and games in Iroquois Park. New this year: life size Jenga Games, Selfie Frame and Golf Putting. Come try the bean bag U-Launchers, & Hamster Balls by Games 2U, face painting by Susi Sunshine, balloon creations & magic, the inflatable obstacle course, and the El Paso Train. Enjoy the Rotary carnival style games, dog show, watermelon contest, food vendor & concession area and so much more. Bring your bathing suit and try out the water spray park!
1 PM - 3 PM
Iroquois park will be featuring a bunch of events and entertainment. The Sidney Mayor & Council will be serving free ice cream starting at 1 PM. At 1:30 PM is the Dog Show Contest, and the Watermelon Eating Contest begins at 2 PM.
12 PM - 5:30 PM
The annual Slegg Lumber Build a Quick Boat Contest is a highlight of Sidney Days each year over the Canada Day long weekend each July. Building begins at 12 PM noon in Beacon Park, and boats are launched at 4:30 PM at Diver's Point. Teams are given $100 in building supplies and then set out to build a boat in the allotted time… with no power tools allowed! Then comes the sea trial fun, and the team who successfully takes their boat through the course — without sinking of course! — wins the annual prize.
Following the Build-a-Boat Race, Sidney's own 443 Helicopter Squadron will demonstrate an exciting water rescue from a helicopter!