The Lion King - Local Tourist: Shows and Events in Vancouver

Among many of its residents, Vancouver has a reputation as a “no fun city.” I think that perception really changed when the 2010 Winter Olympics rolled through town and we’re really starting to recognize some of the great events that happen in and around our city.

There is no shortage of summer activities you can do, many of which are either free or inexpensive. Then, there are alternatives that will dip into your wallet, your happiness is well worth the investment, right? So, what’s going on in Vancouver these next few weeks? Quite a lot. Here’s just a sample to keep you entertained.

The Lion King

I’m not normally a huge fan of Broadway musicals, but this Disney-sourced classic cannot be missed. If you were following me on Twitter, then you’ll know that I had the chance to take in the Lion King performance on Saturday and it turned out to be quite the stellar spectacular.

They’ve taken the popular animated movie and adapted it to the live stage. The actors are outfitted with some crazy costumes that simultaneously highlight the human form and offer the “animal” visual needed for each character. Zazu the bird, for example, was handled by what appeared to be a British bloke. Pumbaa’s actor had crazy hair.

The performances take place at Queen Elizabeth Theatre downtown and the show runs until August 8.

Cirque du Soleil: Kooza

I positively adore Cirque du Soleil. The Montreal-based company has really re-imagined the concept of the circus and elevated it to a whole new level. After enjoying such shows as Alegria and Mystere, I’m glad to see that Cirque is back in Vancouver for Kooza.

Happening under the Grand Chapiteau by Concord Pacific Place, Kooza will surely be filled with great music, funny clowns, a compelling story, and — of course — breathtaking acrobatics. They never cease to amaze me and I’ll be taking in a show later this week. They’re in town from July 22 to September 5. Find tickets on the Cirque site.

Bard on the Beach

For another dash of culture, you may want to turn your attention to William Shakespeare and Bard on the Beach. This has become a Vancouver institution every summer and it is one of the biggest not-for-profit professional Shakespeare festivals on the planet today.

Head on over to Vanier Park to take in some drama. This year, they have Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra, Falstaff, and Henry V. The Bard’s in town until September 25.

Celebration of Light Fireworks

Just like the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), they say that every year is the last year for the Celebration of Light. Well, it looks like they were able to find another sponsor for yet another annual fireworks competition. Powered by London Drugs, HSBC, The Keg, Concord Pacific, and Shore 104fm, this year’s show should be just as good as any that preceded it.

Participating in the fireworks competition are USA, Spain, Mexico and China on July 21, 24, 28, and 31, respectively. No Canadian contingent for this go-around. On the bright side, you can combine some Shakespeare with the fireworks by grabbing some tickets to the Bard-B-Q.

Always More to See and Do

People who complain about having nothing to do in Vancouver just aren’t looking hard enough. We’re surrounded by all kinds of great festivals, shows, and events. You can go horseback riding by day and visit the Summer Night Market by night. Try ascending the Grouse Grind, listening to some tunes at the Folk Music Festival, or even just chilling at the beach.

I’ve already flown to Taiwan, traveled to LA, and rode around in a Nokia-branded RV. It’s about time I take in some of what Vancouver has to offer. What do you have planned for the rest of the summer?