And while many people may be in the midst of a last-minute, holiday shopping rush, there’s a whole host of fun things to do in the city to help you take a break from the the hustle and bustle – and all at no cost.
Keep your wallet in your pocket for these free things happening in Vancouver this weekend.
What: The Dundarave Festival of Lights is back for another Christmas, offering four days of festive, free concerts, a Christmas fair, and a Forest of Miracles. The festival, which supports the Lookout Emergency Aid Society’s North Shore Shelter, begins on Saturday, December 2 on Dundarave Beach. You’ll be able to enjoy concerts in the Longhouse and the Nativity Pavilion for free, decorate the festival Christmas Tree, and shop at the Christmas Fair. Dusk will see the official lighting of the Festival’s Forest of Miracles, the largest outdoor display of Christmas trees in British Columbia.
When: December 2 to 23, 2017
Time: Every Saturday afternoon
Where: Dundarave Beach – 25th Street at Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver
What: The 30th annual Christmas at Canada Place invites you to experience the nostalgic tradition of the Woodward’s Windows, a magical holiday lighting display, the Sails of Light, and the festive Avenue of Christmas Trees. Presented by the Port of Vancouver.
When: Now to December 31, 2017
Time: 8 am to 11 pm (closes at 6 pm on December 31)
Where: Canadian Trail (west promenade) and North Point, Canada Place
What: Each Saturday afternoon in December, residents and visitors can head down to Kerrisdale Village on West 41st Avenue between Larch St. and Maple St. to take part in the free festive activities. Brass bands, Santa, horse and carriage rides, and roving carollers are all part of the cherished family event. In addition to the events taking place on the four Saturdays, free ice skating will also be offered at the neighbourhood arena from 5:30 to 7 pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Time: Noon to 4 pm
Where: Kerrisdale Village – West 41st Avenue between Larch and Maple Street
What: The annual Gingerbread Lane features more than 30 gingerbread creations designed by secondary schools, professionals, and amateur culinary artists. As well as providing a welcome dose of holiday feels, the event also helps to raise money local charities with more than $80,000 secured during its 26 year history to date.
Where: Hyatt Regency Vancouver – 655 Burrard Street, Vancouver
What: Everything is set to be merry and bright over in Kitsilano, too, as the West 4th Business Improvement Association (BIA) is hosting its annual Kitsmas event, on right now through to December 24. The highly-anticipated month-long event is designed to make holiday shopping a little easier, and more merry and decorative.
What: The event allows merchants and community groups from the Steveston area to show off their creative talents by decorating their own Christmas trees, which will be on display inside the historic cannery for a friendly competition. Favourite designs are decided by votes, and the winners take a prize. The multi-day festival kicks off on December 1 at the Cannery Farmers’ Market, and runs right through until New Years Eve.
What: More than 100,000 twinkling lights will illuminate Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam this holiday season, in a magical outdoor display for visitors of all ages. The Lights at Lafarge Winter Lights Display is one of the largest free outdoor light events in the Lower Mainland, and this year’s spectacle will be even bigger and brighter than ever before. The display will wrap its way entirely around Lafarge Lake, leading visitors on a 1.2-km loop through 10 themed zones. There will also be roving performers, hot chocolate, festive choirs, and even a holiday fair.
Time: Dusk to 11 pm
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
What: More than three million dazzling lights decorate hectares of the dark forest, reaching as high as the forest canopy for Bright Nights in Stanley Park. The attraction is also accompanied by a train ride, musics, snacks, entertainment, and even visits with Santa and his elves.
Where: Miniature railway area at Stanley Park, Vancouver
When: November 28 to January 1, 2017
Admission: Free, or take the Christmas Train for a suggested donation of $4
What: A home up in the high hills of North Vancouver has been lighting up with over 100,000 lights each Christmas for a few years, all in a good cause. The homeowners welcome visitors but encourage a donation to the Harvest Project in return.
Where: 4967 Chalet Place, North Vancouver
Time: The house will be illuminated from 5:30 pm.
What to bring: A cash or non-perishable food donation. All proceeds go to charity.
What: As per tradition, skating is free for all ages for those who bring their own skates. Those without skates can rent a pair on-site. A concession stand on the side will also serve warm drinks and snacks.
Time: 9 am to 9 pm from Sunday
Where: 800 Robson Street, Vancouver (Robson Street & Howe Street)
Cost: Free for all ages if you bring your own skates. Skate rentals are $4, and rentals end 30 minutes before closing time.
Note: Helmets are mandatory for children 12 years and under. Robson Square Ice Rink accepts cash only.