26 festive holiday events to enjoy this season in Metro Vancouver

Dec 2 2021, 6:32 pm

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and there are so many holly and jolly events to check out around the city.

From Christmas markets to holiday concerts, floral displays and photos with Santa, there is something for everyone.

Here are 26 festive holiday events to enjoy this season in Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver Christmas Market

What: This fall and winter, you can experience the magic of a German-style holiday festival at the Vancouver Christmas Market until December 24. Organizers say this year’s event will be bigger than ever with more than 80 vendors where you can buy gifts and eat to your heart’s content. All your favourites are going to be there, so you can fill up on melty raclette cheese, spätzle, chimney cakes, schnitzel, and more.

When: Daily until December 24, 2021
Time: 11:30 am to 9 pm (Now until December 23), 11:30 am to 6 pm (December 24)
Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
Cost: Various, purchase online

Holiday Splash at the Vancouver Aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium

Scuba Claus at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Vancouver Aquarium)

What: Scuba Claus will be visiting the Vancouver Aquarium daily to don his flippers and dive with the colourful cold-water creatures in the Strait of Georgia habitat, with festive decor and twinkling lights all around. All throughout December, and into January, keen-eyed youngsters and adults alike will be able to spot Scuba Claus during his daily dives, spreading holiday cheer and magic.

When: Now until January 3, 2022
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Aquarium – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Admission: Adult: $42 | Senior/Student: $36.75 | Child (3-12): $26.25 | Child (0-2): Free. Purchase online

Christmas with Chor Leoni

What: Chor Leoni’s mix of holiday music at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United will touch both the heart and the funny bone. Enjoy six brand new arrangements of your holiday favourites, along with the featured guest fiddler, Cam Wilson. The opening night will also feature a post-concert Talk Back hosted by former CBC broadcaster Rick Cluff.

When: December 17, 18 and 20, 2021
Time: Various times
Where: St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church – 1022 Nelson St, Vancouver
Tickets: $20-$50 plus fees, purchase online


What: The magic of the holidays is coming to Kitsilano as the West 4th Business Improvement Association (BIA) is hosting KITSMAS TIME on YEW on December 11 and 12. All ages are welcome to the family-friendly event, with a variety of activities and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Plus the first 100 attendees daily will receive a holiday face covering from kuverUP.

When: December 11 and 12, 2021
Time: 12 to 8 pm (Saturday), 12 to 6 pm (Sunday)
Where: Yew Street at West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano, Vancouver
Cost: Free

FlyOver Canada – Soar With Santa

What: Experience the magic of Christmas this December with FlyOver Canada’s Soar With Santa. Fly across Canada and up to the North Pole in this festive flight happening until January 3, 2022.

When: December 9, 2021, to January 3, 2022 (Closed on December 25)
Time: Various times
Where: 999 Canada Place, Canada, Vancouver, BC
Tickets: Available on-site or online. Booking online beforehand is advised.

Pawliday Photo Booth Fundraiser

What: Catfe is helping to support the Heart and Soul Dog and Cat Rescue Society with a festive photoshoot and you can book your spot right now. You can either take pictures with your own cats or with some of the cats at the Catfe, too. This “pawliday” photoshoot helps directly support animals that were impacted by flooding in BC.

When: December 11 and December 12, 2021
Time: 1 pm to 4 pm
Where: Catfe – Unit 2035, Second Floor, International Village Mall, 88 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Book online, minimum $25 donation

Cougar Creek’s Xmas of Chaos

cougar creek house of horrors


What: Cougar Creek’s House of Horrors, known for their elaborate haunted houses, are turning their attention to Christmas cheer. But, based on the event description for Xmas of Chaos it sounds more like Christmas fear.

The live horror experience features actors, animatronics, a sadistic Santa, psycho snowmen and evil elves. Cougar Creek organizers believe that they’re the only Christmas-themed haunt in Canada.

When: December 3 to 23, 2021
Time: Various options between 6-10 pm
Where: 12530 72nd Avenue, Surrey, BC
Tickets: Online

Photos and Visits with Santa at Capilano Mall


What: Now that Santa is setting up his home away from home at Capilano Mall, families have the chance to visit him right through to December 24. Walk-ins are available on a first-come, first-serve basis based on availability, and you can also make an appointment through the online booking system.

To ensure that everyone who visits Santa has a digital and print keepsake to remember the moment, there will be a local professional photographer on site. You can get a Santa photo package for $19.99, which includes one 4×6 print and a digital download. And to make it better, those who purchase a photo package will receive a snowman hand puppet (one per child while supplies last).

When: Now until December 24, 2021
Bookings: Walk-ins on the day, or book an appointment online ahead of time
Where: Capilano Mall’s Grand Court – 935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Price: Starting at $19.99

Eastside Flea Holiday Markets

What: After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Eastside Flea returns in time for the holiday season. The popular Holiday Markets feature a curated roster of over 50 local makers and collectors with vintage clothing, small-batch items, antiques & collectibles and more to discover. Shop for everyone on your list and then treat yourself to delicious dishes from the food trucks on site.

When: December 4 and 5, December 11 and 12, December 18 and 19, 2021
Time: 11 am to 5 pm
Where: Eastside Studios – 550 Malkin Ave, Vancouver
Admission: $3, no one turned away for lack of funds

Christmas Market at Lulu Island Winery

What: Lulu Island Winery’s indoor Christmas Market features over 50 local vendors, food trucks, and more. Enjoy a cup of mulled wine and enjoy this cozy market over two weekends in December.

When: December 11, 12, 18, and 19, 2021
Time: 12 to 5 pm
Where: Lulu Island Winery – 16880 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Cost: Free

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas

Grouse Mountain

Peak of Christmas/ Grouse Mountain

What: Grouse Mountain’s whimsical Peak of Christmas experience features a stunning Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake, as well as open-air ice skating with incredible views on the 8,000 sq ft Mountaintop Skating Pond. Other fan-favourite events include Breakfast with Santa and photos at Santa’s Workshop by donation, which will benefit the BC Children’s Hospital.

This year, for the health and safety of individuals enjoying Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas, proof of vaccination will be required for all guests born in 2009 or earlier. Additionally, face masks will be mandatory inside all resort facilities.

When: Now until January 3, 2022
Time: Various times
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Cost: Complimentary with an annual Locals or Snow Pass, a Mountain Admission Ticket, or a special family ticket rate of $109 for two adults and two children.

The Holiday Festival at the Museum

What: The Port Moody Museum, across from Brewer’s Row, is going to turn into an adorable wonderland this season for the first time ever. The 3,200 square foot tent will both protect from the rain and provide airflow and ventilation for visitors. Shop from local vendors, take in live entertainment and eat your way through a cozy market inspired by the heritage setting. Admission is by donation and the money will support the Port Moody Station Museum.

When: Now until December 24, 2021
Time: 12 pm to 9 pm daily, closed at 6 pm on December 24
Where: Port Moody Station Museum – 2734 Murray Street, Port Moody
Admission: By donation

North Pole Express

polar express train


What: The Railway Museum of BC in Squamish loves to put on its North Pole Express train rides that bring you on a journey to see where Santa lives. This season, you can embark from Candyland Station and board the Royal Hudson 2860, originally built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1940 by a Montreal company. It will really feel like you’re boarding the Polar Express from the movie.

Wearing pyjamas is encouraged on the family-friendly train voyage, which lasts about 50 minutes. Onboard, you can indulge in hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Once you reach your destination, you’ll meet Santa himself plus Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves. There’s even a train ride within a train ride as you can board a miniature train through Santa’s workshop.

When: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19, 2021
Time: Trains depart at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm.
Night Time Departure at 6 pm on Saturdays only.
Where: Railway Museum of BC, 39645 Government Road, Squamish
Cost: $35 for coach, $49 for first-class, and $59 for nighttime rides. Tickets available online

Little Mountain Shop Holiday Pop-up at The Polygon 

What: The Polygon Gallery hosts Little Mountain Shop Holiday Pop-Up throughout the holiday season. Shop for sustainably-minded products from an all-Canadian lineup of mostly-local, women-led, BIPOC makers and creatives. Plus every Thursday evening includes a festive Meet the Makers social that everyone is welcome to.

When: Now until December 26, 2021
Time: 10 am to 5 pm (Wednesday, Friday Saturday and Sunday), 10 am to 8 pm (Thursday)
Where: The Polygon Gallery – 101 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver
Cost: Free

Robson Square Ice Rink

What: Situated under the covered outdoor plaza at Robson Square, the rink operates seasonally when temperatures begin to dip. The rink also has an indoor skate rental and a cafe area that is currently being set up, as well as an outdoor patio with heaters. There will also be live music performances from December 13 to 24, as part of the 12 Days of Christmas programming.

When: Daily from Thursday, December 2, 2021
Time: Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm, Holiday hours vary.
Where: 800 Robson Street, Vancouver (Robson Street and Howe Street)
Cost: Free for all ages if you bring your own skates. (Skate rentals are $5, and rentals end 30 minutes before closing time.)

Fleurs de Villes Noël

(Fleurs de Villes NOËL)

(Fleurs de Villes NOËL)

What: The third annual Fleurs de Villes Noël is happening in Vancouver from December 10 to 19. The stunning activation creates a “floral art trail” that decorates Vancouver’s downtown core with some of the city’s top florists and local businesses. In total, there will be 35 festive and floral art displays. The trail will be located on Robson and Alberni Streets. Visitors are welcome to safely walk through the trail while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

When: December 10 to 19, 2021
Where: Robson and Alberni Streets, Downtown Vancouver

NS Craft Market

What: This festive holiday market is a free event all about art, beer, and food. It will feature local artists and crafters from the Northshore showcasing jewelry, textiles, woodworking, pottery, and gifts.

When: December 10 and 11, 2021
Time: 12 – 10 pm
Where: Wildeye Brewing, 1385 Main Street, North Vancouver
Cost: Free

Home Alone at The Centre

Home Alone Montreal


What: Calling all Christmas movie lovers! The Centre is doing a free screening of one of the most iconic movies ever in December. In case you’re not familiar with the holiday classic, Home Alone stars a 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, a kid who gets accidentally left behind by his family for the holidays and is left to fend for himself – literally.

Masks and proof of vaccination are required to enter and everyone will get a free popcorn snack.

When: December 18, 2021
Time: Doors at 7, 7:30 pm showtime
Where: The Centre, 777 Homer Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Free, register online

Deck the Halls in South Granville

What: A number of retailers in South Granville have transformed their storefronts with floral decorations, creating a holiday walk full of joy and cheer. The installations are part of the South Granville Business Improvement Association’s (SGBIA) Deck the Halls, which creates a festive holiday experience along its popular shopping district.

Each participating retailer worked with Granville Island Florist to design their own unique winter display, making for plenty of Insta-worthy photo opportunities.

When: Now until early January 2022
Where: South Granville Street from the Granville Bridge to 16th Ave.
Cost: Free

Tinseltown Christmas pop-up bar

What: This Christmas-themed pop-up bar is perfect for Christmas fanatics looking to have a merry ol’ time. You can indulge in all the good things about the holiday like Christmas music, Christmas-themed drinks and, of course, Christmas pudding. It is a 19+ event, and non-alcoholic beverages are available upon request.

When: Now until December 31, 2021
Time: Seatings available from 1 pm to 9 pm
Where: 904 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $17, purchase online

PetSmart Photos With Santa

Santa photos

Milles Studio/Shutterstock

What: On select weekends in December, you can book your pet in for a special one-on-one free photo with Santa at PetSmarts across Canada.

According to PetSmart’s website, availability by location is subject to change without notice and the photos are not available in PetSmart Groomery locations. Pets are welcome in accordance with their pet policy.

Photos can be taken on a personal device or on a store device which will then be delivered via email, or by using the PetSmart app to use photo filters during the event.

When: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2021
Time: 12 to 3 pm
Where: At all Canadian PetSmart stores
Cost: Free

Holidays on the Block

What: Holidays on the Block features awesome food trucks, local vendors, live entertainment, and a pet-friendly photo opportunity with Santa Claus himself.

You and your loved ones can dine at your favourite local food truck, such as Shameless Buns, Cin City Donuts, Crack On, and Beavertails while taking in the beautiful twinkling lights and festive vibes.

Then you can make your way around the market to check out some small businesses such as Our Little Soap, AMLiora Designs, and Home of West Candle Co., before heading towards the main stage for a dose of live entertainment.

When: December 9 to 12, 16 to 19, 21 to 24, 2021
Time: 4 to 9 pm (Thursday and Friday), 3 to 9 pm (Saturday and Sunday). 3 to 9 pm on December 21 to 23 and 3 to 7 pm on December 24
: 2150 Alpha Avenue, Brentwood, Burnaby
Tickets: $5; purchase online here

Tits The Season!

What: Tits the Season! by Helvetica Productions at the Rio Theatre is an over-the-top festive extravaganza featuring the city’s best drag, burlesque, circus, and variety performers. There are two shows hosted by Miss Kiss and headlined by Jimbo from Season 1 of Canada’s Drag Race.

When: December 18, 2021
Time: Early show at 6 pm, late show at 10 pm
Where: Rio Theatre – 1660 E Broadway, Vancouver
Cost: $35, $45, and $75. Early show tickets and late show tickets online

Christmasland Christmas Market

What: Richmond’s Lavenderland is hosting its first-ever Christmas market. Shop for handmade gifts, artworks, and more from 26 different booths on each day of the three weekends in December. Free admission and parking are available with donations being sent to the Orange Shirt Society.

When: December 4 and 5, 11 and 12, and 18 and 19
Time: 10:30 am to 4 pm
Where: Lavenderland – 8460 Steveston Highway, Richmond
Cost: Free

Skate Plaza at The Shipyards

North Vancouver’s Shipyard ice skating rink opens on December 1, 2021 (City of North Vancouver).

What: The Shipyards’ large, covered outdoor plaza has been converted into a free ice rink for the season. The rink will be open to skating seven days a week from 12 to 7 pm.

The surface is approximately 12,000 sq ft and is covered by a retractable roof. Skaters can either bring their own skates or rent a pair of skates on-site, although quantities are limited. Helmets and skating aids are free. Figure skating and hockey will not be permitted at the rink.

When: Daily until the end of season
Time: 1 to 8 pm
Where: The Shipyards Commons, North Vancouver
Admission: Free, skate rentals are available at a cost of $7 (quantities are limited)

Big Elf Run

What: Runners will be Blitzen around Stanley Park in December for the return of the yearly Big Elf Run. The seventh annual fun run on Saturday, December 11, is also a fundraiser and toy drive for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy with them to the event.

When: December 11, 2021
Time: 11:30 am to 4:30 pm
Where: Lumberman’s Arch, Stanley Park — 3301 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver
Registration: Online

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