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Shopping in an alleyway market, drawing digital art on building walls, learning to do the salsa with hundreds of other people and sharing a picnic lunch with friends in the middle of a downtown street are just some outdoor urban activities that people can look forward to in Vancouver this summer.

Called VIVA Vancouver, the city-run free events are perfect for those who want to be outdoors but still stay in the city. For the rest of the summer, pop-up plazas across Vancouver will give residents more car-free spaces to "walk, bike, dance, skate, sit, hang out with friends and meet their neighbours" and enjoy a vibrant street culture on the weekends.

Pedestrian Weekends on Granville Street

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Where: Downtown Granville Street between Smithe Street and Hastings Street.

What: Granville Street will be closed to traffic to play host to a pedestrian activity every weekend. On June 26, thousands came out to enjoy Latin American food, street dancing and soccer. Coming activities include skateboarding competitions, artist markets, live music and dance workshops.

When: Every weekend this summer until Labour Day.

Livable Laneway

Where: Mount Pleasant – the alleyway between E. 8th Ave. and E. Broadway, west of Main Street.

What: The Paths to Plazas Laneway Markets features food and art vendors, local musicians and temporary art installations. On July 30, chefs from five restaurants, including the Cascade Room and Burgoo, will be grilling up sausages made from their own secret recipes. Customers can get all five for $3, and proceeds will go toward the Vancouver Food Bank.

When: Every Saturday evening until July 30, 5 to 9 p.m.

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Mobile Digital Projections

Where: The Lee Building on E. Broadway and Main Street. More locations TBA.

What: A projection unit will be set up for those who want to try their hand at graffiti art. You need only to point a laser pen at a building wall, draw or write, and the image will be projected onto the building, whose surface acts like a blank canvas for the temporary projections.

When: Every Saturday throughout July.

Modular Deck

Where: Mount Pleasant – E. 14th Ave., east of Main Street.

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What: Free seating for pedestrians strolling by to have a comfortable sit-down lunch or coffee outside.

When: Every weekend this summer.

Cambie Village Community Artists Plaza

Where: Cambie Village – W. 18th Ave.

What: A community plaza that focuses on community arts for youth. The public can participate in a paint-by-numbers street mural activity, and youth will get an opportunity to create works of art using paint and canvas.

When: Aug. 13, 20 and 27.

Collingwood Neighbourhood House Community Plaza

Where: Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station.

What: Four parking spots in the lot outside the SkyTrain station will be transformed into a mini-plaza using recycled materials. Once the transformation is complete, food vendors will set up shop and people can enjoy live performances and community workshops.

When: Every weekend from Aug. 21 to Sept. 4.

Cube Van Playlets

Where: Rotating between Granville Street, Kitsilano Beach, Coal Harbour and Mount Pleasant.

What: Genus Theatre will perform a series of five-minute satirical plays about the state of Vancouver real estate, using a cube van that is transformed into a small mobile apartment.

When: Saturdays throughout July.


Where: Downtown Vancouver, location TBA.

What: A four-by-40-metre artificial parkscape will be rolled out on a downtown street. The temporary pocket park will allow people to enjoy a picnic lunch or a drink with friends in the heart of downtown.

When: August, dates TBA.

More information here:

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