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5 Best Annual Festivals and Events of Vancouver Island

Each year, vibrant and exciting festivals, carnivals, and events are celebrated on Vancouver Island. You should time your visit to this part of Canada to coincide with these spectacular events. If you’ve got no time to plan for things, you need not worry at all. 

This popular Canadian destination has some wonderful offerings for you even if you’ve arrived at the last minute. Here are some of the fantastic festivals and events celebrated on Vancouver Island:

1. Brant Wildlife Festival

The wildlife festival is held in Qualicum Beach and Parksville in early April. It celebrates the migratory stopover of Brant geese on the island. During spring, many flocks of Brant geese arrive on the shores of this Canadian island. They make this stopover for their food before continuing their journey northwards to Alaska. 

The Qualicum Beach and Parksville communities celebrate this amazing natural event with a three-day festival. This festival involves guided tours of marsh, seaside habitats, and forest. It also includes photography workshops, nature talks, and birding competitions. 

2. Victoria Film Festival

The Victoria Film Festival is a ten-day celebration of films. held in february each year. The organizers bring you some fabulous films you might not otherwise have the chance to see. Often, you’ll also notice the filmmakers at this event. All these films are brought to this festival from different corners of the world. 

You’ll also get the opportunity to hear what the filmmakers have to say besides watching their films. Many people buy film passes to see their desired films every day throughout the event. They can also choose from  the discounted 10-film or 5-film packages.

3. Swiftsure Sailing Race

In May, you’ll get to witness the exciting annual Swiftsure race on Victoria Island. This festival involves a fleet of the most competitive racing sailboats. It is the longest-running race of yachts in the Pacific Northwest. 

This annual event is hosted by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. It attracts about 200 boats competing in short, middle, and long-distant races. Competitors get to sail across the Juan de Fuca Strait and back during these races. They offer spectators the chance to see the splendid display of yachts.

4. Pacific Rim Whale Festival

From mid-March to early April, you can see the northward migration of Gray whales along Vancouver Island’s west coast. They are estimated to be around 21,000 in number. This migration has been heralded as the arrival of spring for thousands of years. The Gray whales travel close to the shore and stop to feed in the shallow waters. 

You can watch these whales in action from strategic shore locations. Many of them remain in local waters to feed before returning to Mexico. Whale researchers and ocean scientists present educational programs about whale migration during this festival. They also provide valuable information on the conservation efforts that have prevented these whales from extinction.

5. Jazz Fest International

If you’re a fan of jazz music, this is the festival you must explore. This music festival is held in June every year. In Jazz Fest International, you’ll get to see live performances of some of the world’s talented jazz musicians. This festival is hosted for 10 days and nights at several indoor and outdoor venues in Victoria’s downtown.