December is in full swing and Vancouver is filled with fun outdoor events to enjoy. From Carol Ships Shoreside Celebration to Winter Solstice Lantern Festival and more, here are ten outdoor events to add to your schedule.
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.
When: Now to Saturday January 6, 2018. Closed on December 25 for Christmas.
What: VanDusen Gardens’ annual Festival of Lights features more than a million lights to bring in the Christmas season. All tickets include a free ride on the Air France Carousel. Visitors can also stroll through interactive themed areas, watch the famous dancing lights show on Livingstone Lake, sing along to your favourite holiday classics at the Festival Stage, listen to stories and take a selfie with Santa, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, or simply warm up with a specialty beverage at the new licensed fireside lounge.
When: Now to January 7, 2017
Time: 4:30 to 9 pm, until 10 pm between December 15 and December 24
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
Price: $15.24 for adults, $8.57 for children. Available online.
What: Hosted by West Coast Heritage Railway Park in Squamish, it’s an opportunity for kids and not-so-grown-ups to be whisked away on a magical trip to the North Pole. Guests will sup on hot chocolate and munch on cookies as they experience a fantastic festive adventure. There will also be a chance to meet the likes of Hero Boy, Know-it-all, and the Conductor as they act out their parts from the movie. Once you arrive at your destination you’ll have the chance to meet Mr and Mrs Claus and even visit Santa’s workshop.
When: Weekends to Saturday December 9, 2017
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Where: West Coast Railway Heritage Park, 39645 Government Road, Squamish
Admission: $35 available online, kids under 2 go free.
What: Gather in Panorama Park in Deep Cove to watch the Carol Ships sail by. Enjoy a warm and festive evening filled with musical entertainment, roving performers, free craft workshops, a blazing bonfire and beautiful lights. Santa himself may even stop by.In support of the Harvest Project and Family Services please bring donations of food or unwrapped gifts.
What: This year, Glow Christmas will be brightening up Langley’s Milner Village Garden Centre with over 500,000 lights spanning 103,000 sq. ft. of holiday magic. The display will feature four different light gardens, food trucks (and bar!), over 40 vendors, and – the cherry on top – a 210-ft. musical light tunnel.
When: Select dates to December 30, 2017
Time: 4 to 10 pm
Where: Milner Village Garden Centre – 6690 216 St, Langley
Tickets:Online , $20 for adults, $15 for kids and seniors, family discounts available
What: Capilano Suspension Bridge’s annual holiday tradition Canyon Lights is a must-see holiday event for all ages. Be dazzled by thousands of magical lights twinkling across the Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk and throughout the park. Canyon Lights also illuminates the river and cliff face, and features the world’s tallest living Christmas tree. New this year is ‘Fireflies’, an interactive lighting display in the rainforest. Using giant flashlights, guests can magically awaken waves of tiny lights that glimmer and twinkle like fireflies.
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.
When: Now to January 21, 2018
Time: Dusk to 11 pm
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
What: Two huge Labyrinths of Light are being set up in Vancouver to celebrate December 21 – also known as the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. The labyrinths come care of the Secret Lantern Society, which is marking the day with a series of celebrations throughout the city. For the 24th year in a row, there will be lanterns, fire, singing, and dancing, beginning at 6 pm with processions in Yaletown, Granville Island, Strathcona, and Chinatown.
When: Thursday, December 21, 2017
Time: Procession starts at 6 pm
Where: Yaletown – procession starts at Gathering Place Community Centre – 609 Helmcken St, Vancouver; Granville Island – procession starts at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver; Chinatown and Strathcona – details TBC
Tickets: General admission free, with $5 donation gratefully accepted; Labyrinth of Lights tickets available online, $8, with kids under 13 going free.
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Daniel Chai is a writer and actor based in Vancouver, BC.