Unleash your curiosity for free in Richmond this month during a kaleidoscopic three-day event that showcases grassroots arts and cultural activities. A popular Canada-wide initiative, Culture Days (September 27 - 29, 2019) sees multiple Richmond sites opening their doors to illuminate the worlds of artists, musicians, curators, and more.

The trick, though, is to plan ahead. With more than 80 diverse and interactive happenings at 20 locations, we have the scoop on navigating 2019’s Culture Days event—which is one of the city’s most eclectic and rewarding annual happenings. And don’t forget: it’s all entirely free!

Culture Days
There are plenty of artsy activities for all age groups. | Photo: ​City of Richmond

When is it?

Culture Days runs from Friday September 27 to Sunday September 29, 2019. Each site has its own event hours with many activities running on specific days and at certain times only. All the activities, locations, and scheduled times are listed here. You can also download the City of Richmond’s Culture Days program here.

Check out as many events as you like, ranging from a one-hour visit at a single site to a full weekend of activities.

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

It totally depends on what you’re interested in! There are artist demonstrations, musical performances, historic attraction tours, and craft workshops for all ages and abilities. It’s a great opportunity to explore local scenes and activities you might not be familiar with—and perhaps discover a new hobby or pastime.

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

There are several cool options for you. You can quiz a yesteryear conductor onboard the Steveston Tram or poke around the old farm machinery and chat with the gardeners at London Heritage Farm. You can draft a bank note and learn about frontier medicine at the Steveston Museum, and over at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site you can try your hand at mending fishing nets and try playing mah jong in the Chinese bumkhouse.

 This is also an ideal opportunity to visit the new year-long exhibition at the Richmond Museum—and catch an unusual performance poetry event inside the evocative old Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site.

London Heritage Farm - Photo: John Lee
Visit London Heritage Farm during Culture Days. | Photo: John Lee

Will there be any live music?

There are several musical performances scheduled during the three-day event. The Star Band will be belting out 60s, 70s and 80s hits at the Gateway Theatre on September 28. The same venue is also hosting two full afternoons (September 28 & 29) of Chinese arts and culture, including appearances by the Vancouver Chinese Choir and Vancouver Cantonese Opera. There will also be several performances at the Richmond Cultural Centre, including Filipino-inspired music and dance on September 27 and the ever-popular Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra on September 28. And over at the Minoru Centre for Active Living, the Richmond Community Concert Band will be performing a variety of big band, show tunes, and top 40’s favourites on September 27.

Are there any interactive activities?

You can exercise your lungs at open rehearsals and sing-a-longs with the Minoru Glee Singers (September 27) and the Richmond Singers (September 28), while children and youth up to age 19 can join open Sing Out! rehearsals with the Pacific Northwest Choral Academy on September 28. You can also learn some new dance moves (ballet, Chinese, and Korean pop) with the friendly folks from Vancouver Beauty Dance World on September 29. And art-wise, there’s a vast array of hands-on options, from quilting and self-portrait drawing to Arabic calligraphy and creating your own comic book page.

Culture Days
Discover your inner painter during Culture Days. | Photo: ​City of Richmond

Should I bring the kids?

Yes! There will be lots of Culture Days activities for children; dates and times vary. Aside from the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra’s kid-friendly Instrument Petting Zoo (a popular returning activity), the Defy Gravity Dance Company will also be hosting a child-focused Discover Dance event for wannabe junior dancers ages 3 to 12. Older children will also love creating digital drawings in the Richmond Media Lab and hanging out with the cool kids from the Richmond Youth Media Program as they broadcast their live radio show.

How should I get around during the event?

Culture Days locations are spread throughout the city. 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. In addition, check out 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 city centre ‘Minoru Precinct’ area, home of the Richmond Cultural Centre. This hub is staging events throughout the three-day run, ranging from self-guided audio tours and art classes to Chinese folk performances. Check out this area’s full line-up here. There will also be several history-themed activities in and around Steveston Village.

Culture Days
Culture Days offers a wide range of hands-on activities. | Photo: ​City of Richmond

Do I need to reserve ahead for anything?

The vast majority of activities are being staged on a drop-in basis. But there are some things you need to register for ahead of time. For example, the Richmond Nikkei Stories Bus Tour explores Japanese-Canadian heritage, arts, and culture on an engaging two-hour trundle around the city. It’s free, but space is limited—visit this page for seat reservation information.

You also need to register via email to take a free painting class with celebrated artist Emily Shin (supplies provided). Alternatively, take a cool taiko drum workshop with professional performers Uzume Taiko by registering via 604.254.8801 (drums provided).

If You Go:

Culture Days is a Canada-wide event that takes place from September 27 – 29, 2019. Details on Richmond activities can be found at culturedays.ca. Use the listing filters to search for specific types of events.

You can also download the City of Richmond’s Culture Days event program here. The program features activity descriptions, dates and times, a full breakdown of what’s happening on each day of the event, and a map of the event sites.

Culture Days
Creativity abounds during Culture Days. | Photo: ​City of Richmond