By Chloe Mulliner, on April 14, 2015

Summer solstice in Vancouver

During June 1957, Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” was at the top of the U.S. music charts, and “Love in the Afternoon,” starring Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, was a hit at the box office. When the summer solstice rolled around on June 21 that year, Ellen Fairclough made Canadian history. She was sworn in as Canada’s first female cabinet minister, trailblazing the way for women in politics. 

This June 21, our neighbors to the north currently have 12 women on the Canadian Ministry. If you find yourself in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the summer solstice, celebrate not only the anniversary of Canada’s progression, but also the onset of the sunny months. Ring in National Aboriginal Day, groove at the Jazz Festival, soak up some sunshine, and jump on some of the best things to do in Vancouver: 

Sunrise: This Vancouver in June, chase the solstice sun as it illuminates the longest day of the year. Watch as it rises over English Bay, changing the color of the clouds, at 5:07 a.m. It may be early, but witnessing the first rays of 16+ hours of sunlight can be magical. 

Morning: Awaken ancient Chinese summer solstice traditions at the 27th Anniversary Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. Elaborately decorated dragon boats, paddling to the driving beat of drums, will race down False Creek at 8 a.m. Performers such as Naad World Fusion Collective, Coco Jafro, and John Welsh are turning up the noise at the World Beat Stage, starting at 11:30 a.m. 

Midday: Happy National Aboriginal Day! Honor Canada’s melting pot of culture at the Trout Lake Celebrations. Tour Teepee Village, check out the canoe demonstrations, and gain appreciation for the diverse community’s spirt, art, music, and songs. The free family-friendly event begins at noon. 

Viewfinder Tip: National Aboriginal Day will kick off with a 9 a.m. breakfast and an 11 a.m. Friendship Walk.

Afternoon: The world is in danger! Mega-villain Loki is planning to clone the powers of the Cosmic Cube, and it’s up to the Marvel superheroes to stop him. Watch in awe as Thor, Iron Man, Capitan America, and other famous crime-fighting characters unite to defeat the evil force. The Marvel Universe LIVE! show starts at 3 p.m. at the Pacific Coliseum. 

Evening: If you haven’t taken advantage of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, drop everything and run to the nearest performance. Freshlyground is stirring up their Afro-pop beats at 7:30 p.m. at the Downtown Georgia Stage, while Cyrille Aimee will croon some Gypsy-inspired jazz at 7 p.m. at Performance Works. 

Sunset: Yup, the sun is still shining! Saunter over to Pier 7 Restaurant + Bar in North Vancouver for some seafood and sunset views at 9:22 p.m. The waterfront patio at the Victory Shipyards overlooks the Vancouver coastline and serves some of the freshest boat-to-table fare in town. 

Whether you’re toasting to Fairclough or simply relishing the first day of summer in Vancouver, June 21 will be one for the history books. Visiting? Stay at one of the best hotels in Vancouver near all the hype. 

Here’s what you missed during the 2014 Vancouver summer solstice:

-We started the day with a dose of Harmony donuts.

-The annual Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival set sail at 8 a.m.

-Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival hosted a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

-We ended the day with cocktails at apothecary-inspired Keefer Bar. 

Have you attended any of these summer festivals or activities?  

Feature Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Ruth Hartnup/Via/

Body Copy Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Rikki / Julius Reque/Via/