Travel Blog

24 Jun

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Whistler: New Music for Canada 150

Video: Brian Hockenstein Cinematography

What comes to mind when you think of Canada Day? Canoeing or glaciers? Donuts and maple syrup? Axe throwing and toques?

Here in Whistler we have all those things, but we also like to add a touch of class to our July 1 celebrations. It’s hard to beat an outdoor concert with music by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), with Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as the backdrop.

Crowds watch the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Whistler

Whistler Olympic Plaza hosts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on Canada Day each year.

This Canada Day is a special one for the country, as we’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The VSO is pulling out all the stops with two free concerts on July 1 and 2 of the long weekend, including brand new music just for the occasion. The July 1 ‘A Canada Day Celebration’ program will feature a piece called Ancestral Voices, written for Canada 150 by Maestro Bramwell Tovey in collaboration with First Nations mezzo-soprano Marion Newman. The piece will be performed by Ms. Newman, with Maestro Tovey as conductor – a must-hear moment sure to be a highlight of our musical year.

The July 2 concert is titled ‘From the New World: Classical Favourites’, featuring a smorgasbord of well-known pieces by great musicians including Johannes Brahms and Vaughan Williams. The music continues all through the weekend, with chamber music performances and concerts by the Whistler Institute Orchestra popping up in locations around Whistler, including a Canada 150 Chamber Music Concert on Whistler Mountain. Check out the full schedule and program listings.

Whistler Olympic Plaza Concert Tips

  • Make use of free public transit on Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get to the concerts
  • Bring a picnic blanket to sit on and while you’re at it…
  • Bring a picnic dinner as well. Nothing like supping on local strawberries for dessert while the stars come out and the strains of classical music float out from the stage
  • An extra layer might be handy for when the sun goes down or if an evening breeze comes through (keep an eye on local weather here)
  • Brush up on your O, Canada lyrics so you can sing along

Got your red and white outfit ready for Canada Day? For more info on what’s on over the July Long Weekend, visit

Evening in Whistler Olympic Plaza with audience watching a concert

Down go the lights….

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