Vancouver’s 125 Anniversary Cultural Events Throughout May

Vancouver continues its 125th birthday celebration with drumming, Bhangra, documentary film, choral music and the railway.

Credit: Vancouver 125

Vancouver’s 125th anniversary celebration

Vancouver’s 125th anniversary celebration

Vancouver continues its 125th birthday celebration with drumming, Bhangra, documentary film, choral music and the railway


Vancouver’s giant birthday cake was gobbled up and the Olympic cauldron lit on April 2, 2011, but turning 125 doesn’t mean stopping at one day of birthday celebrations. Unlike the rest of us, who get a day or maybe a drawn out week’s worth of birthday activity, the City of Vancouver is milking this getting older thing for the entire year.


In celebration of the city’s 125th anniversary in conjunction with Vancouver’s year as the Cultural Capital of Canada, the city is supporting a number of cultural events and activities each month. Here is what’s coming up in May:



taiko drums vancouver 125

Uzume Taiko performs at the Vancouver 125 Birthday Live celebration
on April 6, 2011 (Image: Flickr / Vancouver 125)


Taikotronics – May 3, 2011 – Playhouse Theatre

Taikotronics shows how a traditional form of Japanese drumming has morphed into new directions with the influence of local music over the decades.


In a whirlwind of modern drumming, electronic music and the convergence of cultures, seven prominent Vancouver-based taiko groups have joined together to form the Vancouver Electronics Ensemble, especially for this celebration event. The evening of music will include individual performances and breakaway taiko and electronic improvisation pieces by Chibi Taiko, Katari Taiko, LOUD, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko, Uzume Taiko, Yuaikai Ryukyu Taiko and the Vancouver Electronic Ensemble.


Tickets $28, $20 for students and seniors; available at the door and via Tickets Tonight or 604-684-2787.


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Vancouver’s Bhangra story – May 5 to October 23, 2011 – Museum of Vancouver

Check out Vancouver’s Bhangra history at the Museum of Vancouver. This mash-up of traditional South Asian music and dance, pop culture and world beats is a joint collaboration between the MOV and Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society looking at the relationship between Bhangra, identity and Vancouver. Organizers have compiled a display of Bhangra costumes, instruments, posters, pictures and movies from across the city.


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25thanniversary of Expo ‘86 – Friday, May 6, 2011 – Science World

Relive the Expo experience like its 1986 all over again. Science World (formerly the Expo Centre) is throwing a 25thanniversary party on Friday, May 6 from 7 to 10 p.m. This adult-only party will feature a live 80s cover band, viewings of Expo ‘86 films Rainbow War and Transitions (the world’s first 3D IMAX film), archival footage, photobooth and limited edition Expo ’86 screen prints. Tickets are $10 for general admission, or $15 with Hubble OMNIMAX show.


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Spotlight on Vancouver – May 6–15, 2011 – various venues

DOXA, Vancouver’s documentary film festival, runs from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 15. This year, in honour of the City’s 125th anniversary, DOXA is presenting several films that look at the evolution of Vancouver through the lens of local filmmakers, artists and activists.


Spotlight on Vancouver includes a selection of First Nations flicks, films about Vancouver landmarks and artists (Stanley Park’s hollow tree), and some of the earliest images of the city.


Tickets $10 per film, excluding opening and closing nights, which are $20 and include party. Festival packs $45 for five shows, $85 for 10 or $125 for a festival pass.


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Woodward's complex Vancouver

Treat your ears to a chamber choir performance of works by Canadian

composers at the Woodwards Centre. (Image: Jason Hargrove)


O-Vancouver! A choral celebration – May 7, 2011 – SFU Woodwards Centre

Jubilate! Chamber Choir heads into its 16th season with a concert of new Canadian choral music from a competition open to Canadian composers. Entries focused on works by local poets, lyricists and writers, celebrating Vancouver’s landscape, history and cultural diversity.


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Identity-Ancestral Memory – May 12–14, 2011 – Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

This multi-media dance project celebrates the life of the late Japanese Canadian Roy Kiyooka, an influential Canadian arts teacher, painter, poet, photographer and multi-media artist. The combination of Butoh dance and Noh mask theatre takes Kiyooka’s personal struggle with dual Japanese and Canadian identities and reflects on contemporary issues of cultural integration.


Tickets $28.50 for adults, $25.50 for seniors and $23.50 for students.


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Performance Materials for Chinese Musical Instrument – May 21, 2011 – Sun Yat-Sen Garden

This book launch and reception for Performance Materials for Chinese Musical Instrument, a book on the rich history of Chinese music in Vancouver will be held at the beautiful Sun Yat-Sen Garden. The exploration of Chinese musical instruments is intended to be a knowledge transfer from the older generation to the young, potentially non-Chinese speaking generation in a documentation of Vancouver’s Chinese musical history.





Engine 374 Roundhouse Community Centre Yaletown Vancouver

Engine 374 stationed at the Roundhouse Community Centre

in Yaletown. (Image: Robert Ashworth)


Turntable Turning: The Roundhouse Then and Now Celebration – May 22, 2011 – Roundhouse Community Centre

Did you ever wonder why there is a train in the Roundhouse Community Centre? The neighbourhood was the final stop on the Canadian Pacific Railway.


Turntable Turning is a look at the history of the neighbourhood and its role with the national railway. The event will include a celebration of the 1887 CPR Engine 374’s first arrival to the city, and the official opening of the renovated Roundhouse Turntable Plaza.





Inspiring Art – May 30 to June 5, 2011 – Granville Island

A new initiative by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Inspiring Art, is a series of sculptures created by Cheryl Hamilton, Michael Vandermeer, Nicole Dextras, and Haruko Okano to embrace Vancouver’s 125th anniversary. Sculptures will be displayed throughout Granville Island to inspire the artist in all of us.