By Remy Scalza
Do you love halibut? Then this is the festival for you.
Every year in early May, the Halibut Festival returns to Metro Vancouver. The star of the show: 20,000 pounds of freshly caught Haida Gwaii halibut, brought in especially for the occasion.
So why all the fuss about halibut? While Vancouver may be synonymous with salmon, halibut is regarded by many local fish lovers as the king of the sea. Pacific halibut is renowned for its light, sweet flavour and firm texture. Indeed, the best seafood restaurants in the city tend to give halibut pride of place. Plus, it’s an eco-friendly alternative to the severely overfished Atlantic halibut. In fact, all of the halibut at the festival is wild caught and Ocean Wise, certifying that it has been sustainably harvested.
Of course, all of these perks come at a cost. Halibut is among the priciest fish on menus and in supermarkets – which makes the annual halibut festival, and its promise of the best prices of the season, that much more exciting.
The festival usually takes place over two days at two separate locations. In West Vancouver, the parking lot of Fresh St. Market becomes halibut headquarters. Explore a real, 32-foot fishing trawler used to catch Ocean Wise-certified halibut in northern British Columbia. Grilled halibut burgers and drinks are often on offer for the bargain price of $5. And – most importantly – fresh halibut is always on sale, offered at what’s promised to be the best price of the season.