Canada Day gets the retro treatment as commemorates Expo 86

Attracting up to 250,000 people during the day with numerous activities and live performances at Canada Place, it’s no wonder Vancouver’s  celebration of Canada’s  birthday is the largest outside Ottawa.

The 29th annual Canada Day at Canada Place on July 1st, promises a fun-filled day from 10 am to 6 pm for children and adults, and continue into the evening showcasing a colourful, diverse parade, and fireworks show.

This year, however, the event organized by Port of Vancouver, will also bring the 1980s back by commemorating the 30th anniversary of Canada Place, which opened as the Canadian Pavilion  for Expo 86.

CanadaDay_All136-1024x683 (1)

The annual Canada Day at Canada Day offers a fun-filled day with free live entertainment and activities for both adults and children.


Guests will relive their Expo 86 memories, by exploring the Expo Pavilion (Ballrooms ABC, Vancouver Convention Centre East) which will feature memorabilia and imagery of that time, as well an arcade with old video games for the public to enjoy–fans of Pac Man and Pinball take note.

‘We started to plan for this year, realizing it was the 30th anniversary of  this beautiful building [Canada Place] that was built originally for Expo 86, and so we thought “what a   great way to celebrate [the exhibit’s anniversary] with some of  the programming that we would have on site for  Canada Day”,’ said Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Laurie Purdon,  event organizer.

‘It was a very special time for Vancouver, a lot of people say [Expo 86] put our city on the international map and they have some many great memories . It’s a really fun way to remember what we all enjoyed back in ’86… It’s a time for

Scottish singer and 1980s icon, Sheena Easton.

Iconic Scottish singer  Sheena Easton will be co-headlining this year’s Canada Day event.

people that  weren’t there,  to have  bit of that experience [too].’


Originally proposed under the name of Transpo 86, the city won the bid to host the international transportation exhibition in 1986, year also of  Vancouver’s  Centennial.

In 1983,  Queen Elizabeth II and former prime minister, Pierre Trudeau  initiated the first concrete pour on the construction site for what would become the Canadian Pavilion.

On May 2, 1986,  former prime minister Brian Mulroney ,  Prince Charles and the Princess Diana inaugurated the Fair, where participated pavili0ns from 54 nations and organizations.

This special Canada Day edition will feature renowned international, national and local performers, including  legendary Canadian DJ Red Robinson, at Hall A (Vancouver Convention Centre East), who will be reprising his presenter duties at Expo 86, in between multicultural performances and talent,  sharing stories about his more remarkable moments and interviews with stars (including Elvis Presley and The Beatles) , during his 50-year career.

Among the musical guests,  Grammy Award winner, Sheena Easton, who also played at Expo 86, will be back to co-headline the event taking the Main Stage at 3:30 pm, followed by Canadian country singer,  Aaron Pritchet.

The electro-dance band Bear Mountain (BMTN), Rococode, Mo Kenney, Famous Players and many more will be also performing at the event.

As in every Canada Day celebration, a Citizenship Ceremony will take place at Hall A at 11 am, where 60 citizens will become Canadian.

Bear Mountain.

Bear Mountain.

In addition,  other entertainment include  the Pogo Stunt Team at Jack Poole Plaza, south of the cauldron, featuring championship pro athletes flying over 10 feet in the air on extreme pogo sticks throwing down flips and incredible tricks, a zone dedicated to the Canadian Forces,  and hockey games.

Canada Day Parade & fireworks

The 7th Annual Canada Day Parade will kick off at 7 pm from Broughton & Georgia Streets with dispersal at Burrard and Pender Streets.

The patriotic festivities will close with a two barge simultaneous fireworks placed in  Burrard Inlet, at 10.30 pm, viewable from various locations including Harbour Green Park, Coal Harbour , Stanley Park, Crab Park, West Vancouver Seawall, between Ambleside and Dundarave, North Vancouver, Lower Lonsdale Area. The fireworks cannot be seen from the English Bay or Canada Day flag Spanish Banks.

A ticketed  fireworks  viewing zone will be open at Canada Place’s  West Promenade —  a family-friendly,  licensed area.  Free admission for children four and under.

For more information on Canada Day  at Canada Place, schedules, performances’ lineup and street closures, visit