Step right up—the circus is coming to town! This spring, Vancouver will come to life with high-flying aerialists, daring acrobats, unicycle riders, jugglers, contortionists and other mesmerizing performers. It’s the perfect family-friendly entertainment, whether you see a classic travelling circus under the big top or a smaller stage show featuring local talent.
And here’s the best part: you can do more than watch from the audience. If these thrilling spectacles inspire your family, there are all kinds of classes in the Vancouver area where kids (and grown-ups!) can learn a few circus tricks of their own.
Come one, come all—here’s your guide to a magical circus adventure:
Circus Shows to See in Vancouver
Royal Canadian Family Circus | royalcanadiancircus.ca
Grab some popcorn, settle into your seats, and delight in an old-fashioned circus experience. The Royal Canadian Family Circus kicks off its 2019 tour in B.C. with entertaining acts from around the world. You’ll see flying trapeze artists, heart-stopping acrobatic stunts, aerialists spinning on hoops and silks, motorcycle riders on giant swings, a strongman comedy show, and many other feats of strength and athleticism—all brought together by an entertaining ringmaster.
The circus will be setting up its big top in three Lower Mainland locations:
Lansdowne Centre, Richmond – May 9 – 20 (16 Shows)
Tsawwassen Mills, Tsawwassen – May 24 – 26 (6 Shows)
Guildford Town Centre, Surrey – May 31 – June 9 (12 Shows)
James and the Giant CIRCUS Peach | circuswest.com
Every spring, students at CircusWest showcase the skills they’ve been learning with a theatrical performance at the PNE Garden Auditorium. This year, they present “James and the Giant CIRCUS Peach” from May 9 to 12. Roald Dahl’s classic story is retold with breathtaking acrobatic maneuvers, gorgeous aerials, amazing object manipulation, and incredible feats of balance. You’ll be impressed by the talent and passion on display.
This performance is appropriate for ages four and up. There are two shows daily at 12:30 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets are available at circuswest.com
Circus Classes, Camps and Birthday Parties
If your kids dream of soaring through the air on a trapeze or performing acrobatics across a stage, introduce them to the circus arts with a class, camp or birthday party. Even if they don’t run away and join the circus, these physical activities are an excellent way to learn a new skill while building strength, coordination and confidence. Plus, it’s fun too!
Here’s where to take your budding acrobat or juggler:
Vancouver Circus School | vancouvercircusschool.ca
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Vancouver Circus School offers programs for ages four and up in North Vancouver and New Westminster. Students can learn trampoline, tumbling, aerial silks and hoops, trapeze, tightwire, juggling and more. Take a drop-in class to sample different disciplines or enroll in a weekly class.
Summer camps are offered in North Vancouver, New Westminster and Maple Ridge. No experience is necessary, and students will present their new skills in a show for friends and family at the end of the week.
For a fun birthday celebration, throw a party at the circus. Packages are available for children up to age 14 and consist of 75 minutes of circus activities plus 45 minutes for cake and presents.
Circus Lab | thecircuslab.ca
Located in Langley, Circus Lab offers one or two-hour classes in disciplines such as tumbling, trampoline, hand-balancing, aerial silks and hoops, juggling and unicycles. You can focus on one area or do a little bit of everything.
Children aged three and under can enjoy the free Circus Tots drop-in. Under the supervision of a parent or guardian, little ones can explore incline mats, juggling scarves, mini-obstacles and more.
There is a Friday night open gym for ages eight and up (no instructor), and a variety of camps and birthday party packages.
West Coast Flying Trapeze | westcoastflyingtrapeze.com
Would your child like to dance in the air? Based in Pitt Meadows, West Coast Flying Trapeze focuses on aerial arts. Children aged six and up can learn an aerial routine from start to finish. This includes developing basic skills with silks or hoops, piecing movements together, performing them to music, and polishing the whole routine. Classes in tumbling and trampoline are also offered, with a focus on flips and landing them safely.
Drop-in classes are a great introduction to the different disciplines and are suitable for children aged three and up. You can try out a single class or purchase a punch card or monthly membership for multiple visits.
There are also full-day summer camps for your child to keep active and learn awesome tricks, as well as a variety of options for fun-filled birthday parties. Check the website for details.
CircusWest | circuswest.com
CircusWest is located at the Garden Auditorium at the PNE. Sessional classes focus on a single discipline such as aerial silks, acrobatics or trampoline, and are four to six weeks long. For something more intensive, the CirKids program runs from September to June and covers a variety of skills over the ten months.
This year, CircusWest summer camps are offered at the Garden Auditorium, Queen Elizabeth Elementary and Stratford Hall. Children can discover the wonders of unicycle, juggling, acrobatics, trapeze and trampoline, as well as perform in a fun show at the end of the camp.
Parties are available for children aged 6 to 12 and include equipment, coaches and supervision. It’s a great way to celebrate a birthday and learn unique circus skills at the same time.