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British Columbia Blossoms With Special Events This Summer

Theater and music festivals. A motorized bathtub race from Vancouver Island to Vancouver. And a “Symphony of Fire” fireworks competition.

Those are some of the events around British Columbia this spring and summer.

Vancouver and Victoria, the province’s biggest cities and biggest tourist draws, offer the lion’s share of special events.

But smaller towns offer a more typical slice of life, from a sandcastle-building competition at Parksville on Vancouver Island to a down-home rodeo at Williams Lake in central B.C.’s ranch country.

Below is a list of some major events in Vancouver, Victoria and around the province. Tourism Victoria (604-953-2033) and Tourism Vancouver (604-683-2000) can provide more details.

Or phone the provincial tourism office, toll-free, (800) 663-6000. You also can make B.C. hotel reservations through that office.

When planning a trip to B.C., note that July 1 is Canada Day and Aug. 5 is B.C. Day. Both holidays are celebrated with three-day weekends, making everything, including border crossings, extra busy.


VanDusen Botanical Garden Show - Outdoor flower and garden show, May 31-June 2.

Bard on the Beach - Shakespeare plays performed in the Vanier Park tents, June 11-Sept. 22.

Vancouver International Dragon Boat Festival - Boat races in traditional Chinese paddlecraft plus Chinese-Canadian cultural celebrations, June 15-23.

Du Maurier International Jazz Festival - Jazz music at 22 stages around town, June 21-30.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival - Folk and world music at outdoor stages in Jericho Beach Park, July 18-21.

International Comedy Festival - Comic artists from around the world at various Vancouver venues, July 25 to Aug. 4.

Symphony of Fire - Three countries - Spain, Portugal and Canada - compete for the best display of fireworks at English Bay, July 27, July 31 and Aug. 3 with the grand finale on Aug. 7.

Bathtub Race - Motorized bathtubs race from Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, across the Strait of Georgia to the finish line at English Bay in Vancouver. July 28.

Streetfare ‘96 - Street performers throughout downtown Vancouver, Aug. 23-25.

Vancouver International Fringe Festival - 100 performances by international theater companies, Sept. 5-15.

Vancouver International Film Festival - 300 films from 40 countries, Oct. 4-20.


Showcase of Wonders, Royal B.C. Museum - Entertainers and cultural displays from around the province, daily from May through the summer.

Butchart Gardens “Lights Up” Variety Show - A nighttime dance/variety show in the illuminated Butchart Gardens. Mid-June through August.

First Peoples Festival, Royal B.C. Museum - A showcase of native art and culture, Aug. 9-11.

Vancouver Island Blues Bash - Blues music around the city, Aug. 23-25.

Around British Columbia

22nd Annual International Pow-Wow - Mission, July 12-14.

Whistler Country & Blues Festival - Whistler, July 19-21.

Festival of the Woods - Woodcrafts and carving, Hope, June 14-16.

International Sandcastle Competition - Parksville, July 13-14.

B.C. Summer Games - Castlegar and Trail. July 25-28.

Canadian National Paragliding Championship - Golden, Aug. 3-5.

Peach Festival - Penticton, Aug. 7-11.

World Croquet Championship - Parksville, Aug. 8-11.

Ironman Canada - Penticton, Aug. 25.

Okanagan Wine Festival - various locations in Okanagan Valley, Oct. 4-13.

The following fields overflowed: SECTION = DRIVE SEASON ‘96 SUMMER TRAVEL GUIDE