With just over a month to go until our inaugural flight to Vancouver, we've been taking a look at what's coming up on the city's calendar this summer. Turns out there's no shortage of cultural, musical, hedonistic and plain old-fashioned fun events on offer this year - here's the five we're most looking forward to...
Bard on the Beach: 31 May - 22 September
Bard on the Beach is the largest professional Shakespeare company in Western Canada and every year it presents a summer festival in Kitsilano's Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver's downtown. Performances - which run every day except Mondays - are staged in open-ended tents on the waterfront against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, sea and sky. Tickets are now on sale for this year's productions, which include The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor and King John.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival: 22 June - 1 July
Vancouver Pride Parade: 5 August
What started out as a low-key protest through Davie Village in 1978 is now a full-on annual party that attracts people from across the world, spans 20 city blocks and celebrates Vancouver's vibrant gay community. The parade of around 150 cars, floats and marching units finishes up at the Sunset Beach festival site, where an assorted collection of street performers, vendors and beer gardens take the party into the night. According to Vancouver Pride's organisers, the parade attendance - more than 600,000 - actually exceeds the population of Vancouver itself, and is the only Pride Parade in the world which can make this claim.
Celebration of Light on English Bay: 28 July - 4 August
Every summer, English Bay becomes home to the largest off-shore fireworks display in the world. Vancouver's Celebration of Light is an international pryo-musical competition, which takes place over three separate nights in front of one million people. We're not talking any old rockets and sparklers here either; Vancouver invites three countries each year to show off their extravagant choreography and pyrotechnic prowess in an intensely-fought battle, and it's safe to say they all really try to outdo one another. This year's countries are yet to be announced, so keep an eye on the websitefor more details.
The Fair at the PNE: 18 August - 3 September
The Pacific National Exhibition organisation hosts a 17-day summer fair every year in its historic grounds, with more than 800 attractions and events for all the family. The grounds are also home to the seasonal Playland Amusement Park. This year the park is open from 28 April - 30 September, and features more than 35 thrilling rides and attractions, including a classic wooden rollercoaster, and ATMOSFEAR, a brand new ride introduced last year. You'll swing 360° at 70km/hr at a height of 218 feet - easily one of Vancouver's best views if you can bear to open your eyes.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.