Special events on public property

Chinatown Parade

Vancouver has two Special Events Offices:

  1. The Park Board Special Events Office - for events held in a park and on the seawall.
  2. The City Special Events Office (FASE) - for events held on streets, sidewalks and public plazas. 

You may have to apply to and work with both offices if your event proposal is on both jurisdictions.

Events bring people together to have fun, to mark important events, or to work towards a higher purpose.

The focus of event approvals is to make sure that events are safe, and don’t negatively affect the community. We want you to have a fun, safe, memorable event.

Let us help

Staff at both offices are available to answer questions about each of their application and approval processes.

We know how long things take, what things you need to think about, who you need to talk to, and more. Let the experienced staff help you make your event the best that it can be.

We also want your event to be a positive experience for all, so we will work with you and with our partners to minimize any potentially negative elements.

Throwing a block party?

Find information on throwing a block party in your neighbourhood.

Make a donation

We accept donations to help support free public special events.

Contact us to learn more


Events on streets, sidewalks and public plazas

Note Do not advertise or promote your event until you get preliminary approval from the Special Event Office.

  1. Review the website for key information about hosting an event on City property.
  2. Decide your key details – what, when and where – you’ll need to submit an application for us to review and hold your proposed date and location.
  3. Submit an application below.
  4. Once we receive and process it, your file will be assigned to a Special Event Liaison. This process can take between 3 and 5 business days depending on the season.
  5. Your Special Event Liaison will review the application and contact you. At this time, you may be asked to submit additional information including, but not limited to:

Submitted information will be reviewed and your liaison will determine next steps. The more your event impacts the community and the more the special events office has to consult with other City departments and outside partners, the more time and information you will need and the more you need to work with special events staff. 

City departments that may be consulted include:

  • Park Board
  • Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services
  • Vancouver Police Department
  • Development Services
  • Engineering
  • Licensing

Outside partners that might be consulted include:

  • Emergency Health Services
  • Coast Mountain Bus Company
  • BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch
  • Vancouver Coastal Health

Events in parks

Important note Do not advertise or promote your event until you get conditional approval from the Special Event Office.

  1. Complete the online application  (850 KB).
  2. Email a detailed site map and/or route map to
  3. Wait for feedback from special events staff. Currently we need 4 months lead time for new special events. The more your event impacts the community, the more time the special events office requires to consult with stakeholders and staff.
  4. Special events staff review and evaluate applications against the following criteria:
    • Compatibility with the Park Board's mandate
    • Suitability of a site to accommodate the event
    • Feedback from stakeholders and staff
  5. Once you receive conditional approval, we'll need your:
  6. Have a great event!


Events outside of parks

The length of time required for approval varies depending on the size and nature of the event. 

  • Small to medium sized events with street closures or parking requirements should be applied for 2 to 3 months before the event date.
  • Larger and route based events (parades and runs) should be applied for 4 to 6 months before the event date.

Events in parks

Applications must be received at least 4 months prior to the event date. Late applications may not be processed or approved.

  • All fees and projected costs must be paid within 15 days of booking confirmation unless other arrangements have been agreed upon.
  • Sites are not reserved until payment has been received.

Event impacts

Event impacts are one of the key factors affecting whether your event gets approved, how long approval takes, how many other groups or departments must be consulted, and so on.

Event impacts include things like:

  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Noise
  • Location, including
    • The areas around the event site
    • Whether the event is on streets, sidewalks, or other public property
    • Whether the event is on private property but has a public impact
    • Whether the event is on City property and park property
  • Event size (particularly when there will be traffic or transit congestion)
  • Multi-site or route events (like parades or runs)
  • Multi-day events
  • Activities that will take place at your event

In addition, events in parks are more likely to be approved for private or non-profit activities, rather than commercial activities.

Note See the additional requirements tabs for more information

Application fees

If your event, including parking, will be held on City streets, sidewalks or public property and there could be negative impacts on the residents or businesses in the area, you will have to pay a non-refundable application fee. If your event takes place in a park, you are also required to pay a park permit application fee.

Tax does not apply to application fees.

Permit fees and deposits

Depending on your event and the services you require, you may need a variety of permits.You may also need to pay a deposit before your event takes place.

Greening your event

Make your event more sustainable with our Green Events Planning Guide.

You are responsible for leaving the event area clean and litter-free. Tell us how you will manage waste at your event. Will you hire the City, a business, or do it yourself?

Important note If you do not leave the area clean and litter-free, you will be charged for City services to clean the area.


The minimum insurance requirements for events or activities on City and Park Board property, or for use of any City or Park Board facilities are:

  • A minimum coverage limit of $2,000,000 Commercial General Liability insurance against third party claims for bodily injury, death, property, and loss of use.
  • Learn about insurance requirements

Other permits or approvals

If you want to … You need to get approval from …
Have amplified (not acoustic) music The Special Event Office (FASE)
Have fireworks   Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services
Have an oversize tent or a stage The Special Event Office (FASE) and Development Services
Have temporary power Licences and Inspections (Electrical inspectors)
Have an event on a beach Park Board
Have traffic control Traffic and Data Management
Sell food Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services
Sell or serve liquor Vancouver Police Department, City Of Vancouver Licencing Department, and the BC liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch
Sell items other than food or liquor The Special Event Office (FASE)

Neighbourhood notification

You, as the event organizer, are responsible for make sure that residents and/or businesses affected by the special event are made aware of it.

You need to let people know about:

  • When the event is taking place (dates and times)
  • Where the event is taking place
  • Any temporary traffic disruptions
  • Any temporary parking restrictions
  • Anticipated noise
  • Anticipated attendance
  • Anticipated events / amenities / attractions

You can let people know through a flyer or information leaflet distributed along the route or in the area. If you are organizing a large event, the Special Events Office may require you to notify area residents and businesses through a postal code mail out.

Location / route check

Before the event

If your event is occurring on a City street, you should check the route about 1 week prior to the event. This may include driving or walking the route to identify any road defects or conflicts with street construction crews that may interfere.

Road defects may need to be corrected by the Engineering Department (at organizer's expense).

Another site check should be done just before the start of the event to determine that the route or location is safe.

During the event

An organizer must have the ability to shut down an event in the case of an emergency. Large events with long routes require a communications network (radio or cell phone) and First Aid must be provided for participants. If an unrelated emergency develops, the officers assigned to the event may be required to leave suddenly.

Volunteers / Marshals

Only the Vancouver Police and certified Traffic Control Persons are authorized to control traffic in the City of Vancouver. It is illegal for event volunteers or marshals to stop or redirect a vehicle. However, event marshals are essential for assisting participants and pedestrians along the route of an event. An event representative may be required to check the route for stragglers and to advise the Police when the road is clear of participants.

Large events

If you are planning a large event, be sure to also see the section Information relevant for large events about additional considerations you will need to consider in your planning.

Events on streets, sidewalks and public property

  • You are responsible for ensuring that: 
    • The proposed area is appropriate for the activity
    • The activity is conducted in a safe, orderly manner
    • The activity is restricted to the permitted area
    • The event activities do not interfere with other users
  • Any property damage which occurs during the permitted event, set-up or take-down, is the responsibility of the licensee. Damage to City property should be reported immediately. It will be assessed and repair costs billed to the licensee. 
  • You are responsible for leaving the area clean and litter-free and may be billed for any subsequent cost incurred by the board for clean-up. 
  • The City of Vancouver reserves the right to cancel an event or activity for any reason and shall not be responsible for any associated costs or damages.

Events in parks

  • All permitted groups must use sports field whiting (non-toxic) when marking Vancouver park board fields or parks. 
  • Barbecues may be used provided they are 76 cm (30 in) from the ground, but not above, or on asphalt, concrete or picnic tables. Coals are to be taken off-site. 
  • Only paper or plastic cups may be used for beverages. For safety reasons, no glass containers are permitted. 


All of the following are prohibited in parks, unless your permit specifically allows them:

  • The sale of goods
  • The collection of an admission fee
  • The operation of a concession
  • The operation of a public address system
  • The operation of amplified music 
  • The dispensing, sale / purchase, or consumption of alcohol any time (per Sections 42 and 43 of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.) 
  • The installation of electricity 
  • The use of fire or fireworks
  • The erection of
    • Structures
    • Fences
    • Poles
    • Tents
    • Stages
    • Bleachers
    • Portable toilets
  • Signage, banners or advertisements
  • Vehicles being driven onto grassed areas, restricted access, or service roads at any time. Non-permitted vehicles may be towed.
  • Service of food is subject to bylaw requirements of the city health department.

Park users must carry the permit and present it upon request. Permits will be revoked without payment of any compensation in the event of a breach of any laws, by-laws, or conditions set up herein or in force. Non-compliance may also result in additional charges.

If your application is approved, you will have to provide the following information (if applicable to your event) 1 to 2 months prior to your event:

  • List of event sponsors and promotional banners for your event 
  • Press package or promotional material for your event - event organizers are asked to find an appropriate spot for the Park Board logo alongside the event's other corporate partners.

Find more information about applying for event permits

Additional event information by topic

Get additional information for planning events in Vancouver; fees and grants, serving food or alcohol, selling merchandise, charitable and non-profit events, greening your event, and special considerations for specific locations

Additional event information by type

Find additional information for planning an event in Vancouver; terms and definitions, contacts and resources, forms and documents

Information relevant for large events

Find out what you need to do when planning a large event; neighbourhood impact plans, safety and security plans, and traffic and transportation plans

Block parties

Find information on throwing block parties in Vancouver.

Ready to apply for your special event?

Ready to apply? If you are ready to apply for your special event permit, click the link below to go directly to the online application.

Apply for events

Is your event in a park? If your event is in a park, you will also need to fill out the Park Board's application.

Apply for events in parks

Learn about insurance requirements

Insurance requirements for filming, event, and facility use

The City requires that you carry liability insurance for events or activities that you hold on or in a City and Park Board Property.

Contact the Film and Special Events Office

Film and Special Events Office
450 SW Marine Drive
Vancouver BC V5X 0C3

Fax: 604-257-8859

Send an inquiry

Make a complaint about filming

Make a complaint about a special event

Contact the Park Board Special Events Office

Special Events &
Filming Office
2099 Beach Ave
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4 (mailing address only)

Phone: 604-257-8516 

Fax: 604-257-8501