May Day

Mark your calendar for May 4 to 13, 2018, when Port Coquitlam celebrates its 95th 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 12) followed by an afternoon of entertainment and activities in Leigh Square.

Check back in mid-April for the parade map, road-closure information and other details.

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

May Pole dancing by local children, dance performances and the presentation of the 2018 May Day Royal Party.

Art Focus Artists’ Association 25th Annual Spring Show
Opens May 4, 7-9 pm, continues May 5-6, 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.

Imaginings exhibit
Michael Wright Art Gallery, the Gathering Place at Leigh Square

Artwork by Riverside and Terry Fox secondary students exploring the imagination.

PoCo Heritage Downtown Heritage Walk: 6 pm
Meet at the Heritage Centre at Leigh Square (in The Outlet)

Bryan Ness will lead his leisurely walk and informative look at PoCo’s past. FREE

Choral Connections Choir Performance: 7 pm
Leigh Square bandshell

The 80-member choir will present a concert of cabaret songs at this free outdoor show.

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 headlined by indie rockers The Matinée,
  • 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

Historical Trolley Tours: 12:30-4 pm
Hop on and off at designated stops:

  1. Port Coquitlam Rec Complex
  2. Leigh Square Block Party – Shaughnessy St.
  3. Heritage Center at Leigh Square – McAllister Ave.
  4. Shaughnessy Station

Join tour guides on a trolley bus to a variety of historical locations in Port Coquitlam. Tours run every 30 minutes, starting at 12:30 pm at stop #1 (last boarding at 3:30 pm). FREE

Mother’s Day Picnic in Lions Park

Kinsmen Club pancake breakfast ($4): 8:30-10:30 am

Kinsmen Club barbecue lunch (various prices): 11 am-2 pm

Free family fun and entertainment: 10 am-3 pm

A fun-filled day with some treats for Mom and entertainment for the whole family, including May Pole dancing with the Tiddley Cove Morris Dancers.

May Day 95 Day Countdown Contest

We are kicking off our May Day festivities early with a contest! The 95 Day countdown to the 95th Annual May Day Festival begins on February 4 and every few days we will post May Day Trivia questions. Play along with us and enter below to win a prize.


Questions for 95 May Day Countdown

Questions #1
What year was Port Coquitlam’s first ‘official’ May Day? Answer: 1923.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Laurie!
Thank you to PoCo Bowl for the  prize!

Questions #2
Who was our first May Queen?  Answer: Evelyn Mars.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Sandra!
Thank you to Art Knaps for the gift card & prize package!

Questions #3
In 2006 we had two May Queens, do you know why? Answer: The first one moved to Australia.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Stephanie W.
Thank you to Shoppers Drug Mart for their prize basket donation.

Question #4
What dance do children still perform to celebrate May Day? Answer: May Pole Dancing
Congratulations to our lucky winner Carolyn M.
Thank you to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse for the $25 gift card.

Question #5
Pictured here is 2016 May Day Ambassador Gavin Yang. What year did the position of May DayAmbassador start?
Answer: a) 1993.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Janine M.
Thank you to Prairie DQ for the cake!

Question #6
What park were the original May Days held in?  Answer: Aggie Park.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Karen O.
Thank you to Mr Mikes Steakhouse for the $25 gift card.

Question #7
What year did the May Pole Dancing get moved indoors to the Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex?
Answer: 1970
Congratulations to our lucky winner Mackenzie MacBride. Thank you to the Cat and Fiddle Pub for the gift card.

Question #8
Which former Ambassador is a talented magician?
Answer: Alex Seaman
Congratulations to Linda Baillie. She won a $70 Value gift basket to Shoppers Drug Mart.

Question #9
What is our May Day parade presently called?
a) The PoCo Palooza
b) The Rotary May Day Parade
c) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Answer: b)
Congratulations to Mariel Espanola, winner of a White Spot gift card valued $95

Question #10

What former May Queen still works as a PoCo elementary school principal?
a) Marilyn Monroe
b) Debbie Ponsart
c) Tom Jones
Answer: b)
Congratulations to Kathy Gerding, she won a gift card to Sabai Thai Spa

Question #11
How do current May Queens and Ambassadors get chosen?
a) Random Draw at the Selection Tea
b) a foot race
c) a beauty pageant
Answer: a)
Congratulations Donna Rutherford, she won a gift card to Earls Port Coquitlam

Question #12
Which May Queen attended school at Essondale?
a) Marilyn Monroe
b) Tom Jones
c) Pauline Talbot
Answer: c)
Congratulations to Chrissy Lloyd-Jones, she won a gift card to Me-n-Eds Pizza Port Coquitlam

Question #13
Which former May Queen was president of PoCo Heritage for one term?
a) Greg Moore
b) Nancy Oglivie
c) Marilyn Monroe
Answer: b)
Congratulations to Chuck Jones, he won a $25 gift card to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse

Question #14
What significant anniversary was celebrated during May Day 2013?
a) The War of 1812
b) The City’s 100th birthday
c) The Mayor’s wedding anniversary

Question #15
A flatbed truck was used in the 1930’s as the “Royal Carriage” for the Royal Party in the May Day parade. What family-run business provided this vehicle?
a) Walmart
b) Me-n-Eds Pizza
c) PoCo Building Supply

Question #16
The May Queen’s throne was donated to the City in what year?
a) 1931
b) 1876
c) 2018

Question #17
The first May Day festival was in 1923. Which of the following activities was not a part of the original part of the festival?
a) The May Pole dancing
b) The selection of a May Queen
c) The May Day Parade

Question #18
The May Day Festival used to include a car show. What year did the car show begin as a stand-alone event?
a) 1928
b) 2005
c) 2017

Question #19
Who was the original organizing group of the May Day Festival?
a) The Women’s Institute
b) The YMCA
c) PoCo Minor Hockey


May Day Royal Party

Rotary May Day Parade

The Rotary May Day Parade will be held Saturday May 12, 2018.  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.

2017 May Day Photos

May Day 2017


Sandra Battle
Program Coordinator – Community & Civic Events
Tel 604.927.7935