Vancouver’s 125th Birthday Bash Set for April 6

Consider this your (in)formal invitation to Vancouver's 125th birthday party under the Olympic Cauldron on April 6.

Credit: Flickr / Jason Bake

Vancouver turns 125 on April 6, 2011

Here is your unofficial birthday invitation to celebrate this young city of ours, as it reaches 125 years as the ‘City of Vancouver’


It’s the biggest event since the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, and you can be certain that city party planners are trying their darndest to reenact the camaraderie and spirit that we all witnessed on our streets in 2010.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011 marks 125 years since Vancouver became an official metropolis in 1886, after trying on the names of Gastown and Granville for size. The city, located in the traditional territories of the Skwxwu7mesh, Xwmethkwiem and Tseil-Waututh peoples of the Coast Salish group, has become a booming multicultural centre, and a gateway to the Pacific Rim, during its relatively short history.


The City of Vancouver is putting together a year’s worth of cultural celebratory activities, including an official city birthday party, community events, artistic projects and a summer festival. The first big event kicks off on April 6, the official date that the city was incorporated 125 years ago.


Vancouver’s 125th Birthday Celebration – Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 2–10 p.m.

Following the popularity of Olympic live events in 2010, Vancouver’s official birthday celebration is being referred to as “Birthday Live.” The free, public event will take place at Jack Poole Plaza (site of the Olympic Cauldron) at Thurlow and Cordova streets, next to the Vancouver Convention Centre.


The celebration begins mid-afternoon and continues into the evening with live music, DJs, food, street art, kids’ activities and special performances. Check out some of the highlights:



Vancouver alternative rock band 54-40, Vancouver 125

Vancouver alternative rock band 54-40 is set to headline Vancouver’s 125th birthday celebration on April 6, 2010.


Ball hockey tournament – 2–6 p.m.

Try your hand at our ultimate sport, hockey, with this free tournament for youth and adults.


Uzume Taiko – 4 p.m.

West Coast Canadian taiko drummers Uzume Taiko infuse Japanese and West Coast styles with their loud, vibrating, percussion performance.


mmHoP: HOP•JUMP•JIVE•125 – 4:40 & 7:10 p.m.

HOP•JUMP•JIVE •125 is a site-specific birthday dance party. This interactive, engaging performance is sure to have everyone dancing around the cauldron. Vancouver MC / DJs Jacob Cino and Ndidi Cascade will lead the performance.


Leela Gilday – 5 p.m.

Leela Gilday is a Dene singer/songwriter (Dene is an aboriginal group of First Nations from the Arctic regions of Canada). She has won a Western Canadian Music Award, a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award and an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award.


Official ceremonies – 6–7 p.m.

Mayor Gregor Robertson, leaders of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, and other dignitaries will be on hand for the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron and the cutting of a giant birthday cake created by the faculty and culinary students at Vancouver Community College Baking and Pastry Arts department. Free cake will be served following the official ceremonies.


Vancouver Bach Choir – 6:40 p.m.

The Vancouver Bach Choir will lead party-goers in singing “O Canada” and “Happy Birthday” to our beautiful city during the official ceremony segment of the evening. Since 1930, the choir has won top prizes in international choral competitions and has performed as far away as Warsaw and Tokyo.


Bend Sinister – 7:35 p.m.

Originally from Kelowna, this Vancouver transplant band has two albums of indie tunes: “Through The Broken City” and “Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers.” Bend Sinister’s single “Things Will Get Better” was named one of the top 10 songs of 2010 by Grant Lawrence on his CBC Radio 3 Podcast.


Video and light art installation: Time Drifts – 8:20–10 p.m.

This large-scale video and light art installation will interpret the themes of space and time, projecting words through fog and onto the façade surrounding the plaza.


54-40 live performance – 8:45 p.m.

54-who? Just kidding. This iconic local music staple will be headlining the city’s birthday event, while celebrating their own success with 30 years of alternative rock songs including “Baby Ran,” “I Go Blind” and “Ocean Pearl.”


Why do YOU love Vancouver?

Don’t forget! To celebrate the 125th anniversary of our city, Granville Online will be posting 125 reasons to love Vancouver throughout the year.


We are asking you, our dear friends, to submit your reasons why you love this city. It can be anything from food, people, arts and culture, activities, neighbourhoods, politics, scenery, weather… you name it. Submit your reasons in 500 words or less, along with a photo of yourself taken somewhere in Vancouver (also feel free to add a photo of your reason to love Vancouver). Include a brief bio with the following: full name, age, neighbourhood, hometown, how long you’ve lived in Vancouver, job, company and interests.


Email submissions to Granville Online Secret City blogger Jenn Laidlaw: jenn.laidlaw AT gmail com.