Art lovers, take note! The 19th annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival is back in Vancouver next month and will feature over 100 events at 40+ venues around the DTES. Oh, and did we mention that the majority are free to attend?? Let’s get into it.

For those who don’t know, the celebrated festival takes place over 12 days, spotlighting the work and contributions of community organizations and local artists alike. Visitors enjoy a variety of live music, dance and visual arts events, film showings, theatrical performances, workshops, and poetry readings.


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This year’s theme, “Community Is our Mentor,” will focus on listening and learning from the lived experiences and cultural identities of the DTES community. Some of the events will occur inside while others will take place outdoors. So, come ready to learn & engage with artists and speakers across the Eastside.

The festival will take place between Wednesday, October 26th and Sunday, November 6th, with its center at Carnegie Theatre.

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Festival highlights

We’ll start with ‘The Gathering’ Banner Mural Launch. The Gathering Mural (by Richard Tetrault) hangs in the Carnegie Theatre for the duration of the festival to pay tribute to past and present DTES artists and activists. This year’s launch will include the addition of 7 new panels to the OG mural by Charlene Johnny, Marissa Nahanee, Tetrault and Jerry Whitehead.

Next up, is Housing Justice with SRO Tenants: A series of dialogues in collaboration with The Right to Remain Research Collective and short films by Galán Visuals. This event will dive into how transitional strategies can help promote greater access to affordable, safe, and healthy housing in the area.

Finally, we have The Prop Master’s Dream, a new fusion opera produced by the Vancouver Cantonese Opera. The story is inspired by the extraordinary life of Wah-Kwan Gwan (1929-2000), a little-known Chinese Opera props master born to a local Chinese father and Indigenous mother.

You can view the full list of highlighted events here.

And that’s all for now, folks! We’ll see you at the Heart of the City this fall.

DTES Heart of the City Festival 2022

When: October 26th to November 6th
Where: 401 Main Street