Locals and visitors are being invited to unleash their curiosity for free in Richmond later this month during a three-day festival of grassroots arts and cultural activities. A popular Canada-wide initiative, Culture Days sees sites throughout Richmond opening their doors to showcase local artists, musicians, curators, and more.

The trick, though, is to plan ahead. With more than 70 diverse and interactive happenings from September 28 - 30 at 24 sites, we’ve created a handy guide to navigating this year’s Richmond Culture Days, and making the most of one of the city’s most eclectic—and rewarding—annual happenings. And don’t forget: it’s all entirely free!

Richmond Culture Days - Photo: Jon BenjaminArts demonstrations are part the annual Culture Days event. | Photo: Jon Benjamin 

When should I visit?

Culture Days takes place from Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30, 2018. Each site has its own event hours with many activities running on specific days and at certain times only. All the activities and scheduled times are listed here. You can dip into as many events as you like, of course—ranging from an hour-long visit to a single site to a full day (or three-day) immersion filled with multiple activities.

What are some of the highlights of this year’s Culture Days?

It depends on what you’re interested in! There are art demonstrations, behind-the-scenes museum and theatre tours, interactive choir sing-a-longs, and inviting craft workshops for young and old. It’s a great opportunity to explore local scenes and activities you might not be familiar with—and maybe even discover a new hobby, interest, or pastime.

I’m a history fan: what should I check out?

There are several cool options for you. You could learn about the mechanics behind tramcar 1220 at the Steveston Interurban Tram; hear about the meticulous work of curators at the Richmond Museum; or discover a pioneer-era family on a tour of London Heritage Farm. There are also exhibitions to explore at the Steveston Museum, Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, and the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site.

Will there be any live music?

There are several musical performances to check out during this three-day event. The Star Band will be belting out hits of the 60s, 70s, and 80s at the Richmond Cultural Centre’s Performance Hall; while the same venue will also be hosting a live rehearsal from the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra. The Richmond Museum will also be an intriguing venue for some live Indo-Trinidadian music. Tempted to partake? You can also join in and sing your heart out—see below.

Culture Days - Photo: Jon BenjaminThere will be several musical performances to check out. | Photo: Jon Benjamin ​

Are there any interactive activities?

You can exercise your lungs at open rehearsals with the Richmond Singers or the Richmond Youth and Children’s Chorus. You could also pick-up some new steps from a team of expert Filipino dancers; contribute to a community quilt-making project; participate in an online photography contest; or join a read-through with a local comedy-driven theatre troupe. There are also several hands-on art classes to consider.

Should I bring the kids?

Yes! There will be lots of Culture Days activities for children, including a fun Musical Instrument Petting Zoo where they handle everything from violins to drum kits. There will also be several kid-focused arts and crafts workshops to dive into, including a chance to sketch the RMS Titanic at Lipont Place.

How should I get around during the event?

Every Culture Days location is plotted on this handy map. You can drive to each location, walk to some of them or, better yet, plot a cycling route around the ones you want to visit. Alternatively, check out your bus and Canada Line transit options via TransLink’s trip planning tool.

What if I don’t want to travel too far?

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, there will be many activities in and around the Richmond Cultural Centre, located right in the heart of the city. This hub is staging events throughout the three-day run, from a self-guided audio tour and pencil drawing classes to a martial arts workshop and folk dances. Check out the Cultural Centre’s full line-up here.

Do I need to reserve ahead for anything?

Most activities are staged on a drop-in basis. But there are some things you should reserve ahead of time: the behind the scenes artifact tours at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site can be reserved here. And you should also book ahead for a seat on the special bus tour of Richmond’s Indigenous public art installations. As with all Culture Days activities, both of these are free.

Culture Days - Photo: Jon Benjamin
There are Culture Days activities for people of all ages to enjoy. | Photo: Jon Benjamin