May Day

Mark your calendar for May 3 to 11, 2019, when Port Coquitlam celebrates its 96th annual May Days with nine days of free family activities, local culture, live entertainment and more.

Dating back to 1923, May Days is Port Coquitlam’s annual spring festival and one of its signature events. One of the main highlights is the Rotary May Day Parade (this year on May 11) followed by an afternoon of entertainment and activities in Leigh Square.

May Day Opening Ceremony: 7:30 pm
Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex

May Pole dancing by local children, dance performances and the presentation of the 2019 May Day Royal Party.

Art Focus Artists’ Association 26th Annual Spring Show
Opens May 3, 7-9 pm, continues May 4-5, 11 am-5 pm
The Outlet at Leigh Square

Springtime in PoCo theme, featuring new original artwork on various subjects, in oil, watercolour, acrylic, mixed media, and photography.

Pancake Breakfast, 8-11 am
The Outlet at Leigh Square

A pre-parade tradition. Proceeds go to 4th Poco Scouts. $4

Parade Pre-show: VPD Motorcycle Drill Team: 10:30 am
Parade route

Get your spot early to see the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team, known for amazing formations

Rotary May Day Parade: 11 am
Parade route: Shaughnessy to Elgin, Elgin to Mary Hill, Mary Hill to Hawthorne, ending on Tyner

One of the biggest in Metro Vancouver, with marching bands, floats, and many laughs. Road closures start at 9 am.

Party in the Square: 12-5 pm
Leigh Square

  • Live entertainment in the Leigh Square bandshell
  • Children’s crafts and activities in the free Kids Zone,
  • Artisan Market with 25-plus vendors
  • PoCo Biz Alley local business tradeshow
  • Emergency preparedness fair and community displays
  • Food trucks and a beverage garden
Showcase your business at the May Day Festival!

This is your opportunity to showcase your business and be part of this year’s Biz Alley Market! Join us on Saturday May 11, 2019 for the City of Port Coquitlam’s May Day Biz Alley Market located within the Party in the Square event, as part of the May Day Celebrations.

Road Closures

The Rotary May Day Parade, starts at 11am at Atkins Rd. & moves northbound along Shaughnessy St. to Elgin Ave., eastbound on Elgin Ave. to Mary Hill Rd. & southbound on Mary Hill Rd. to Hawthorne Ave., then eastbound on Hawthorne Ave., with the dispersal being on Tyner St. 

Please note: Downtown PoCo will be packed with participants & spectators enjoying all the family friendly activities, therefore the following roads will be closed: 

  • Leigh Square Place east of Shaughnessy St. from 7 am May 10 – 7 pm May 11. 
  • May 10 afternoon access to Leigh Square parking lots will be limited due to tent installations & set ups. Including the City Hall lot & the large parking lot between Wilson Ave. & the Elks Hall. Some parking lots will stay closed until Noon Sun May 12. Street parking will be available before & after the parade.
  • Donald St. & the laneway behind Dairy Queen will be closed from 7 am- 7 pm Sat May 11.
  • Shaughnessy (Pitt River to Atkins) Rindall, Central , Hawthorne, Welcher & Tyner Aves. will be closed for parade assembly & dispersal 9am -1pm with no on street parking 7 am – 1 pm, Sat May 11.
  • Shaughnessy St. from Wilson Ave. to the Shaughnessy St. Underpass, Elgin Ave. & Mary Hill Rd. & Hawthorne to Tyner will be closed during the parade 10am – 1:30pm Sat May 11.

The Coast Meridian Overpass & Maple Ave. are OPEN for traffic detouring as usual. 

Parade & Block Party Site Map

Thank you to our sponsors!

May Day Festival Sponsors

Party in The Square Presented by:

May Day Festival Partners

Rotary Parade sponsors

Rotary May Day Parade

The Rotary May Day Parade will be held Saturday May 11, 2019.  Parade applications are being accepted online here.

Origins of May Day Celebrations

The month of May is believed to have been named for the Roman goddess of spring and growth, Maia. The month of May heralds the awakening and flourishing of nature and the coming of spring. In the City of Port Coquitlam, this month marks the celebration of May Day.

In ancient times, May was a time for outdoor celebrations. In Rome, it was a time that was sacred to Flora, the goddess of flowers. The Romans celebrated May Day with flower-decked parades. In England, the village youth went to the woods to gather spring flowers and hawthorne branches, returning singing and dancing. The flowering boughs they gathered were used to decorate the May tree. As the white flowered hawthorne tree became the tree most often decorated, it came to be called the May tree. In more recent celebrations, the May pole, symbolic of the May tree it has replaced, has been decorated with colourful ribbons.

The City of Port Coquitlam first introduced the celebration of May in 1916 when the principal of James Park School, Mrs. Enid Cox, arranged a small celebration for her pupils. The first official community May Day was held in 1923, when James Park and Central schools combined their efforts. It was in 1923 that Miss Evelyn Mars was crowned as Port Coquitlam’s first official May Queen.

In today’s Port Coquitlam May Day celebration, a May Queen and an Ambassador, along with the Royal Party, preside over the festivities, which include a parade, music, entertainment and dancing around maypoles.

2018 May Day Photos

May Day 2017


Alex Bickers
Event Producer – Community and Civic Events
Tel 604.927.7935