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.
Road closures are posted below.
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.
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
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
- 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:
- Port Coquitlam Rec Complex
- Leigh Square Block Party – Shaughnessy St.
- Heritage Center at Leigh Square – McAllister Ave.
- 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.
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 7am May 11 – 7pm May 12.
- May 11 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 13. Street parking will be available before & after the parade.
- Donald St. & the laneway behind Dairy Queen will be closed from 7am- 7pm Sat May 12.
- 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 7am – 1pm, Sat May 12.
- 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 12.
The Coast Meridian Overpass & Maple Ave. are OPEN for traffic detouring as usual.
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
What year was Port Coquitlam’s first ‘official’ May Day?
Answer: a) 1923
Congratulations to our lucky winner Laurie! Thank you to PoCo Bowl for the prize!
Who was our first May Queen?
a) Tom Jones
b) Evelyn Mars
c) Celine Dion
Answer: b) Evelyn Mars.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Sandra! Thank you to Art Knaps for the gift card & prize package!
In 2006 we had two May Queens, do you know why?
a) The first one moved to Australia
b) The first one went to jail
c) The first one moved to Mars
Answer: a) The first one moved to Australia.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Stephanie W. Thank you to Shoppers Drug Mart for their prize basket donation.
What dance do children still perform to celebrate May Day?
a) May Pole Dancing
b) a Polka
Answer: a) May Pole Dancing
Congratulations to our lucky winner Carolyn M. Thank you to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse for the $25 gift card.
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!
What park were the original May Days held in?
a) Robert Hope
b) Stanley Park
c) Aggie Park
Answer: c) Aggie Park.
Congratulations to our lucky winner Karen O. Thank you to Mr Mikes Steakhouse for the $25 gift card.
What year did the May Pole Dancing get moved indoors to the Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex?
Answer: b) 1970
Congratulations to our lucky winner Mackenzie MacBride. Thank you to the Cat and Fiddle Pub for the gift card.
Which former Ambassador is a talented magician?
a) Alex Seaman
b) Bob Hope
c) Donald Trump
Answer: a) Alex Seaman
Congratulations to Linda Baillie. She won a $70 value gift basket to Shoppers Drug Mart.
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) The Rotary May Day Parade
Congratulations to Mariel Espanola, winner of a White Spot gift card valued $95
What former May Queen still works as a PoCo elementary school principal?
a) Marilyn Monroe
b) Debbie Ponsart
c) Tom Jones
Answer: b) Debbie Ponsart
Congratulations to Kathy Gerding, she won a gift card to Sabai Thai Spa
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) Random Draw at the Selection Tea
Congratulations Donna Rutherford, she won a gift card to Earls Port Coquitlam
Which May Queen attended school at Essondale?
a) Marilyn Monroe
b) Tom Jones
c) Pauline Talbot
Answer: c) Pauline Talbot
Congratulations to Chrissy Lloyd-Jones, she won a gift card to Me-n-Eds Pizza Port Coquitlam
Which former May Queen was president of PoCo Heritage for one term?
a) Greg Moore
b) Nancy Oglivie
c) Marilyn Monroe
Answer: b) Nancy Oglivie
Congratulations to Chuck Jones, he won a $25 gift card to Mr. Mikes Steakhouse
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
Answer: b) The City’s 100th birthday
Congratulations Sunshine Hanan, she won a gift certificate to the Dairy Queen.
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?
b) Me-n-Eds Pizza
c) PoCo Building Supply
Answer: c) PoCo Building Supply
Congratulations to Alisha Koubi, she won a gift certificate for Jamila’s Kitchen & Grill
The May Queen’s throne was donated to the City in what year?
Answer: a) 1931
Congratulations to Kim Nahl, she won a gift certificate to Sabai Thai Spa
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
Answer: The May Day Parade.
Congratulations to Kim Jeahyng. He won gift certificates to Dairy Queen and Jamila’s Kitchen & Grill.
The May Day Festival used to include a car show. What year did the car show begin as a stand-alone event?
Answer: b) 2005.
Congratulations to Herman. He won gift certificates to Sparta Greek Taverna and Big Flat Pancake.
Who was the original organizing group of the May Day Festival?
a) The Women’s Institute
b) The YMCA
c) PoCo Minor Hockey
Thank you to our sponsors!
May Day Festival Sponsors
Church on the Rock
May Day Festival Partners
PoCo Fourth Scouts
Rotary Parade sponsors
Gillnetter Pub • Morrey Nissan
What’s On magazine (Angela Andersen)
Wilson Pharmacy on Wilson Ave.
G&F Financial Group
May Day Festival Contributors
Port Coq. Royal Purple Lodge 10 • Me+ Ed’s Pizza 95 day contest and banquet volunteers • Shaughnessy Holdings
May Day Contest Prizes
Tri-City Paint • Doppio Pizza • Pizza Island • $300 complimentary consultation for personal coaching and relationship therapy • Sport Clips • Mr. Mikes • Cat and Fiddle • Earls restaurant • Art Knapp • Sabai Thai Spa • White Spot – donated from Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam • Dairy Queen Northside • Big Flat Pancake • Eagleridge Fitness • DM + Co. Hair salon • Shopper’s Drug Mart – Shaughnessy • Port Coquitlam Bowl • Sparta Restaurant
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
Program Coordinator – Community & Civic Events