Image: Esquimalt Buccaneer Days / website

Grab your pirate hat and eye patch—it’s time for the annual Esquimalt Buccaneer Days!

This year’s events run Friday, May 11th, to Sunday, May 13th at Bullen Park, and there’s no shortage of things to do.

Visitors can hop on a ride at the midway, check out performances at the Bullen Park Stage, and even watch a sword-fighting demonstration by Blood and Iron.

Of course, there’s also the Buccaneer Days parade, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Celebrations date back over 80 years

Buccaneer Days originally began in 1939 as a way for Esquimalt to celebrate May Day, which was often celebrated in tandem with Victoria for over 60 years prior.

When Victoria discontinued its celebrations, Esquimalt began holding its own May Queen celebration. This eventually became Esquimalt Days and finally, in 1966, became the Buccaneer Days celebrated today.

Residents turned out in their best naval and pirate outfits, with eyes on the prize for the best costume.

In a slightly weirder tradition, they were also awakened early in the morning by a loudspeaker mounted atop a van and calling “Wakey, Wakey!”

The van will be making the rounds again this year starting at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Esquimalt Buccaneer Days

  • Where: Bullen Park, Esquimalt
  • When: Friday, May 11th – Sunday, May 13th; festivities begin at noon Friday

A full schedule of events can be found here.

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