Coho Society Festival BBQ

Event Details


Coho Festival 2021

This year’s Coho Festival will showcase a Coho Run, Coho Swim and Coho Treasure Hunt.  Make sure you find some time to watch Coho Tent Talks, compelling information about environmental issues that affects us locally and globally.  Follow us on Facebook to find out all the latest information to be able to enjoy this year’s Coho Festival.  By participating in the festival’s events you will be supporting the Coho Society and their effort to the conservation of salmon.


In past year’s, the Coho Festival is held the second Sunday in September and features our famous Coho Salmon Barbecue, the Coho Garden, Stewardship Zone, Kids Zone, Main Stage, the Squamish Nation Village. The day starts with a Coho Run, Coho Swim, pancake breakfast and much more.

The Save On Foods Salmon Barbecue has been the cornerstone of the Coho Festival since it’s inception in 1979. Most years we feature wild Coho Salmon that is local and/or sustainably harvested. The meal is rounded out with BC corn on the cob and locally grown salad. All plates and utensils are either made from recycled material and/or recyclable.

The Coho Garden offers local craft beers, cider and premium wines. Pick up your salmon dinner, grab a beverage and enjoy the waterfront view all while tapping your toe to the live band on the main stage. As we are a family event children 9 and under may accompany their parents into the Coho Garden.

Enjoy Vancouver’s favourite band Doug and the Slugs on the Western Stevedoring/Neptune Main Stage. Check schedule for more live entertainment.

The Stewardship Zone has over 20 exhibitors who are all involved in rejuvenating, maintaining and improving our streams, rivers, oceans, parks and forests for now and generations to come. Guests of all ages will learn more about the environment and how to be better stewards of what we have. A must see at the festival.

The Seaspan Kids Zone is filled with fun activities for children of all ages. The theme is centred around education, art & culture and outdoor activities. Try out the climbing wall!

Coast Salish weaver Joy Joseph-McCullough created a wool piece during a recent festival. She also does cedar weaving work.
Coast Salish weaver Joy Joseph-McCullough created a wool piece during a recent festival. She also does cedar weaving work.

The Squamish Nation will again be participating in the festival welcoming all to Swáywi (Ambleside Park). The Squamish Nation Village display unique traditions and cultures including their interconnections and relationship to the salmon.

The Coho Festival became a Zero Waste Event in 2013 and continues to have only organic, compostable and recyclable materials on site. With help from WCS Recycling we sent over 5000 pounds of organic and compostable material to be composted and 600 pound of recyclables to be recycled a 99% diversion rate each year.

View a photo gallery of the  Coho Festival.

The continued focus of the Coho Festival is the education on the protection of fish and their environment. The festival is now primarily a fundraising event to assist North Shore stewardship groups’ efforts to rebuild, repair and maintain salmon and other aquatic species and their habitats. It is an event where we celebrate the return of our salmon and can all learn how to be better stewards of our communities and our planet.

Why are we eating salmon at the Coho Festival?

Every year people ask me why we serve salmon at the Coho Festival if we are trying to save them.

The truth is we serve salmon because it is a delicious and important food source for people and animals, and we raise funds to help North Shore stewardship group’s to rebuild, repair and maintain wild salmon habitats to keep salmon numbers high.

Before humans set foot on our continent’s west coast, salmon have played a key role in this region’s habitat. Salmon is an abundant food source for whales, orca and other marine life. It is also a staple for bears, eagles and other forest dwellers who depend on strong salmon numbers to survive. Our spectacular coniferous forests would not have existed if it had not been fertilized over the eons by decaying salmon in the forests, rivers, streams and creeks. The entire ecosystem depends on strong salmon populations and we continue our work to ensure salmon will be there in the future for all to enjoy, people, animals and forests alike.

Blessing of the Salmon Ceremony

Each year at the Coho Festival, members of the Squamish Nation perform this special ceremony.

The Salmon ceremony honours our ancient agreement and protocol with the salmon people. In the long ago, the salmon did not return to our rivers and the people started to starve. We implored the help from the Xaays, four Transformers (4 brothers traveled the World creating new land marks), who travelled out to sea to find the salmon people. After a long journey, they found the salmon people on a mysterious island and were welcomed ashore to have a great feast. During their feast, they learned the protocols and teachings from kwu7s (Chinook salmon). They were taught to bring all the salmon bones back to the water, which would allow the salmon to come back to life.  Kwu7is agreed to send himself and his people (sockeye, coho, chum and pink) as long as we uphold the teachings of bringing the bones back to the water. This teaching was passed on to our people from the Xaays and our ancestors passed it on to us generation to generation. Thus, this ceremony represents that Sacred Agreement between us and the salmon people.

Watch the videos here:  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3


Event Video