Canada's largest Hong Kong cultural celebration comes to North Van

Take a walk down by The Shipyards this May 5 and there’s a good chance you could, just for a second, believe you have inadvertently been teleported across the seas to Southern China.

May is Asian Heritage month, and in celebration, the annual Vancouver Hong Kong Fair, the largest Hong Konger cultural event in Canada, is setting up shop on the North Shore.

This year, the sprawling Hong Kong House event will host a bustling cultural market, food trucks selling traditional street food, open stage performances featuring local Hong Konger artists and performers, and art exhibitions.

Immersive experiences are plentiful, with art pieces and VR and AR experiences that offer a glimpse into nostalgic Hong Kong and highlight the region’s cherished traditions.

Guests are invited to carry out their own versions of certain traditions, like the demon exercising event of ‘villain-hitting’ and the traditional “fortune-asking,” while Cantonese storytelling and face painting sections offer a more relaxed step into Hong Kong culture.

Always wanted to try your hand at Mahjong but have been too intimidated to give it a go? There’s also an area dedicated to the raved-about tile game, with sections for both beginners and masters.

Hong Kong House’s Heiky Kwan said the event is a fun and unique way for locals to engage with and learn about Hong Kong culture. While many may think they are familiar with the culture, there are many misconceptions that the fair helps to debunk, she said.

“There’s a mish-mash of understanding of the pan-Asian culture, but what folks don’t realize is that there’s a lot of diversity within each community,” she said.

“There are a lot of traditions and things we celebrate that aren’t really done in other cultures.”

For Hong Kongers themselves, especially newcomers and even those who are second or third generation, Kwan said she hopes they leave feeling rejuvenated and as though they have a sense of community here in Vancouver

“This is an incredible, important celebration in our community,” she said.

The fair is like “a love letter” from Hong Kong to Vancouver and all its local communities, Kwan added.

“There’s this increasing longing for Hong Kongers to gather and carve out spaces for themselves. A lot of our traditions, language and art forms are fading, or are changing rather quickly, and so we always try to highlight some of these disappearing traditions at the fair," said Kwan. "We hope they feel like there’s a little piece of home for them here."

While the event is free, tickets are required and can be reserved at

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News