What: A longstanding annual tradition at St. Paul’s Hospital returns in November: Over 100,000 light bulbs, spanning a length of more than 10 kilometres, will be turned on for the Christmas-time Lights of Hope charity campaign supporting the hospital’s initiatives.
Where: St. Paul’s Hospital – 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver
When: Lights go on November 19 at 6:30 p.m.; display is up throughout November and December.
What: A massive Christmas tree at Surrey’s City Hall Plaza will be lit for all to see on Saturday, November 21. The lighting will take place at approximately 6:30 p.m. and the evening will also include performances, story-telling, road hockey, arts and crafts, Santa Claus, a ferris wheel, and more. The SFU Holiday Trolley will also take revelers from Surrey City Mall to City Hall for the event.
Where: The Plaza at New City Hall and Atrium – 13450 104th Avenue, Surrey
What:Over three million dazzling lights decorate acres 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
What: The suspension bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk, the rainforest and canyon are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment. See the world’s tallest living Christmas tree (153 feet tall), experience the voice-activated light show, go on a scavenger hunt throughout the park, sing along with the holiday band, take a family photo at the Winter Pavilion, and more.
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge – 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
When: Friday, November 27 – Sunday, January 3, 2016; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What: Stroll with friends and family through interactive themed areas and enjoy the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, the gnome performance and the Vancouver Public Library’s Tales for a Winter’s Night. Have photos taken with Santa, savour holiday treats, and delight in much more.
Where: Vandusen Gardens – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
When: Tuesday, December 1 – Thursday, December 31; click here for hours.
What: The Christmas Tree Lighting at Jack Poole plaza has become an annual holiday tradition for Vancouver families. Back for its ninth year, the Christmas tree lighting will take place on December 4, where four beautiful trees will be lit up with festive lights (one that’s over 50 feet tall).
Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
What: More than 165 artisan booths will fill Steveston Community Centre on Saturday, November 28 for a Christmas shopping extravaganza featuring one-of-a-kind handmade items. The market will be entry-by-donation and support the Steveston Park Playground Improvement Fund.
Where: Steveston Community Centre, Ned Shed Building – 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond
What: The 33rd annual Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair will showcase over 140 curated vendors, along with some light refreshments (maybe a food truck or two!) and a coveted prize draw you won’t want to miss. Stock up on one-of-a-kind goodies for the giving season.
Where: Dunbar Community Centre – 4747 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
What: An original piece of art makes a very memorable Christmas gift all art lovers will enjoy. Pick out any one of the unique pieces created by students at Emily Carr University during their annual Student Art Sale.
Where: Emily Carr University of Art + Design – 1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver
When: Friday, November 27 to Sunday, November 29; noon to 5 p.m.
What: Back once again on Queen Elizabeth Plaza, this bustling temporary alpine village will once again boast unique eats, handcrafted goods, and lots of fun for kids young and young-at-heart alike. The Vancouver Christmas Market will run from November 21 to December 24, and will have over 50 vendors selling gift-able treats from holiday ornaments to handmade toys.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Plaza, 650 Hamilton Street
When: November 21 to December 24, 2015, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 24)
What: Vancouver’s largest indie craft fair returns for a holiday edition on December 12 and 13. Gathering a range of vendors focusing on handmade and handcrafted originals, Got Craft? features over 75 unique and local artisan designs, craft workshops, edible treats, entertainment, and more.
Where: The Pipe Shop Building at the Shipyards, 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
When: Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 5p.m.
What: The Vancouver Farmers’ Market gets in the Christmas spirit once a year at the Croatian Cultural Centre. Seasonal vegetables and other goodies will be available to purchase, along with other artisanal items and VFM gift cards and merchandise.
Where: Croatian Cultural Centre – 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
What: Mainland Street in Yaletown will be decked out to the max with winter wonderland fare, complete with lights and seasonal lamp posts and of course, lots of Christmas decorations. Costumed characters will wander the street as well, giving kids and families the opportunity for that Christmas-card photo-op. Best of all, these activities are all completely free.
What:Every year, hundreds of floats, marching bands, and performers take to the streets in celebration of the holiday season. Organizations, businesses, and communities across Vancouver are represented, with a visit from the big man himself, Saint Nicholas. It will feature 3,500 participants and an estimated 300,000 spectators in downtown Vancouver.
Where: East down Georgia Street, starting at Broughton Street, then south on Howe Street to Davie Street
What: Christmas at Canada Place returns for its 28th year with exhibits and activities for the family along the Canadian Trail, the West Promenade of Canada Place. Christmas crafts, the Avenue of Christmas Trees, Rudolph’s Theatre and the historic Woodward’s Windows are all part of this free event.
Where: Canada Place – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
When: Saturday, December 12 to December 30, closed December 24 & 25; noon to 6 p.m.
What: Vancouver Winter Wonderland Festival will be the largest indoor Christmas festival in Canada with 100 vendors, food and drinks, a three-storey walk-through snow globe and more inside the 35,000 sq. ft. PNE Forum. Guests will pay $5 to enter.
Where: PNE Forum – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
What: Celebrate the beginning of Winter’s end at the 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. Taking place every year on the longest night, the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival brings communities together with a self-guided lantern tour, spread out over a series of blocks in various neighbourhoods in Vancouver.
What: Grouse Mountain becomes a holiday mecca during December for the Peak of Christmas, featuring Santa and his elves, live reindeer, sleigh rides, ice skating on the outdoor rink, all in the outdoor alpine beauty.
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
What: High up in the alpine range lies the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish, offering unparalleled views of snow-capped mountains. The Christmas festivities include snowshoeing, tubing, a forest walk, warm and cozy storytime and a brunch with Santa himself. There will also be a Christmas Market at the mountain base and local choirs singing holiday carols, including a special holiday concert.
Where: Sea to Sky Gondola – off Highway 99 just before Squamish
What: The Arts Club’s production of A Christmas Story brings the classic film to life, along with a musical soundtrack. If you’re not already familiar with the plot, it’s about a young boy named Ralphie in the 1940s who sets his eye on the Official Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun as his must-have Christmas gift. Problem is, “it’ll shoot your eye out!”
Where: Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage – 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver
When: Now until December 27; evening and matinee productions
What: The Arts Club has been putting on It’s a Wonderful Life for so many years it has now become an annual Christmas tradition. “George Bailey performs countless good deeds for friends and townsfolk in Bedford Falls, yet all that seems to count for naught when he faces financial adversity. At George’s most woeful moment, his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, swoops in to remind him that faith, hope, and family make life truly wonderful.” – The Arts Club
Where: Granville Island Stage – 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver
When: Now until December 26; evening and matinee productions
What: On December 3, Water Street will transform into a series of outdoor stages, hosting more than 20 choirs in Vancouver’s first street-carolling competition – Yule Duel. The event is inspired by Figgy Pudding, a renowned annual carolling competition and charitable fundraiser in Seattle. Yule Duel aims to raise $20,000 for May’s Place, a hospice in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
What: The Vancouver Chamber Choir is putting on three fabulous Christmas concerts this season, beginning on December 4 with Christmas in the Orpheum, a collection of renaissance, baroque & carols. Next is A Dylan Thomas Christmas, followed by the ever-popular A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Where: The Orpheum – 601 Smithe Street, Vancouver & Shaughnessy Heights United Church – 1550 West 33rd Ave, Vancouver
When: Friday, December 4, December 18, and December 19; 8 p.m.
What: The Vancouver Bach Choir knows a thing or two about how to nail a Christmas carol. More than 400 singers will fill the stage to sing all the beloved Christmas classics during this afternoon concert, featuring the Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir.
What: The VSO plays its annual Traditional Christmas concert in neighbourhoods around Metro Vancouver, including the North Shore, Burnaby, Surrey, Delta, and Vancouver this holiday season. Experience the delight of Christmas music straight from the city’s most talented musicians.
Where: Various locations
When: Thursday, December 10 to Sunday, December 20; Nightly
What: “An Eastside musical set on Coast Salish Territories” – that’s what SFU Woodward’s Bah! Humbug! production is described as. Starring Jim Byrnes as Ebenezer Scrooge, the play will weave current issues of the Downtown Eastside into Charles Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol. “A modern-day, sushi-loving Ebenezer Scrooge owns a pawn shop on Vancouver’s Hastings Street, where he is timing Bob Cratchit’s late arrival to work on his iPhone.”
Where: Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts – 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
When: Thursday, December 10 to 12 and Tuesday, December 15 to 19; 7:30 p.m., matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays
What: The Goh Ballet presents their annual production of The Nutcracker for the seventh year in a row. The prestigious ballet is sure to entertain all ages, as the classicly whimsical tale has endured decades as a classic Christmas tradition.
Where: The Centre in Vancouver – 777 Homer Street, Vancouver
When: Thursday, December 17 to Tuesday, December 22; 7:30 p.m., matinees also available
What: Ballet BC’s annual production of The Nutcracker, this time starring the Alberta Ballet, is a city-wide favourite and consistently ranks as one of the most quintessential Christmas traditions. Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music accompanies the classic story of Clara, live toy soldiers, dancing mice and more.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 649 Cambie Street, Vancouver
When: Tuesday, December 29 to 31; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
What: They say it’s the “biggest, wildest, sweateriest bash of the season”, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is now an annual tradition in Vancouver. Live music, a DJ, a sing-along and costume prizes for ugliest sweater, best moustache and more. Oh yeah, there will also be milk and cookies… all in the name of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Where: The Commodore Ballroom – 868 Granville Street, Vancouver
What: Santa Claus will be arriving at Metropolis at Metrotown straight from the North Pole, moving into SantaLand on Friday, November 20th and staying until Christmas Eve. As always, children are encouraged to drop off their letters to Santa at Santa’s mailbox. Just make sure to include a return address and Santa might write back!New this year: Interact with our giant light curtain by choosing your favourite snowflake pattern!
Where: Metropolis at Metrotown – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
When: Santa arrives November 20 unti December 24. Click here for hours.
What: The Heritage Christmas event is full to the brim with traditional holiday trappings, with brilliant strings of lights lining every building, branch, and bough. Carollers, musicians, dancers, and more will entertain the crowds, and children and adults alike can take part in crafts, baking, theatre performances, and a visit with Santa himself. As always, the famous Burnaby Village Carousel will be offering rides on their authentic 18th Century merry-go-round.
Where: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
What: Head out to VanDusen Garden’s Festival of Lights and Bright Nights at Stanley Park aboard the historical Vancouver Trolley Company’s fleet, all while singing Christmas carols along the way. Trolleys will be decked out with karaoke machines, but unfortunately no liquid courage to get the vocal chords ready.
Where: Trips depart from Canada Place – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
What: The rink at Robson Square is operated seasonally by the provincial government when the temperatures begin to dip, running from morning into the late evening hours. Skaters can skate for free if they bring their own skates while those without skates can rent a pair on-site. There is also a concession stand serving snacks and warm drinks.
Where: 800 Robson Street, Vancouver (Robson & Howe)
When: December 1, 2015 until February 28, 2016; times vary
What: Scuba Claus is back in town for another underwater adventure at the Vancouver Aquarium. Scuba Claus will be making special trips to deliver gifts to the most deserving creatures in the sea while entertaining guests on the other side of the glass. Once that’s done, families can catch a showing of the Polar Express in 4-D.
Where: Vancouver Aquarium – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
What: The University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft presents Christmas at Hycroft, a 40 year long tradition from Thursday, November 19 to Sunday, November 22. The stunning Edwardian mansion will be filled with fun holiday themed splendour, including a variety of unique boutiques, crafters, local artisans, and treats.
Where: Hycroft Manor – 1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver
When: Thursday, November 19, to Sunday, November 22. Thursday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults, free for children 12 and under.
What: The sweetest lane in the city celebrates its 25th annual return to the lobby of Hyatt Regency Vancouver from December 4 through December 27. Executive Chef Jeff Szombaty and the engineering team are hard at work constructing this year’s stunning gingerbread house, built to serve as the centrepiece for more than 30 gingerbread creations designed by secondary schools, professionals and amateur culinary artists.
Where: Hyatt Regency – 655 Burrard Street, Vancouver
When: December 4 – December 27
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DH Vancouver Staff
Daily Hive is the evolution of Vancity Buzz, established in Vancouver in 2008. In 2016, the publication rebranded and opened newsrooms in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Send story tips to [email protected]