28 things to do in Vancouver this week: December 23 to 26

Dec 23 2019, 5:00 am

Christmas week has arrived! Stay merry and bright with these 28 things to do in Vancouver from December 23 to December 26, including Canyon Lights, Vancouver Christmas Market, and more!

For even more things happening around town, check out our events section.

Monday, December 23

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge 2019

What: The Canyon Lights features thousands of sparkling lights illuminating the iconic suspension bridge and other areas of the park. The 30-ton Douglas Firs of the Treetops Adventure will also be dressed in lights. Standing at an impressive 110 feet above the forest floor, the Douglas Firs that connect the suspension bridges are the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world, according to event organizers. Also returning to this year’s festival is the Snowy Owl Prowl scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, and sing-along carols with a holiday band.

When: Now until January 26, 2020 (closed on December 25)
Time: 11 am to 9 pm daily; holiday activities run from 4 to 9 pm
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Tickets: Available online, with annual passes (included with admission) available for BC residents

Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers

What: Vancouver Canucks take on the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena on December 23.

When: December 23, 2019
Time: 7 pm
Where: Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Public Menorah Lighting

What: Head to Richmond Public Library Brighouse Branch for the annual lighting of a 25-foot-high steel menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. There will also be children’s entertainment and arts and crafts. Presented by The Ebco Group of Companies, Richmond Public Library and Richmond Cultural Centre, Chabad of Richmond, and The Bayit.

When: December 23, 2019
Time: 5 pm (children’s party), 6 pm (menorah lighting)
Where: Richmond Public Library – Brighouse Branch — 100-7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Admission: Free

The Night Tree Celebration

What: PoCo Heritage TREES hosts The Night Tree Celebration at Kinsmen’s Hall, with a story time, nature-based activities, entertainment, and more for the whole family. Hot chocolate and treats will be served.

When: December 23, 2019
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Kinsmen’s Hall — 2175 Coquitlam Avenue, Port Coquitlam
Tickets: Online, Free

Skate Plaza at The Shipyards

ice rink

Mike Wakefield/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, although they’ll be closed on December 25.

The skateable surface is approximately 20,000 sq. ft., including the floor area of the 12,000-sq-ft plaza and the adjacent 8,000-sq-ft summertime water spray area, both of which are covered by a retractable roof. Skaters can either bring their own skates or rent a pair of skates on-site for $7, although quantities are limited. Helmets and skating aids are free.

When: Daily through the season (closed on Christmas Day)
Time: 12 to 7 pm
Where: The Shipyards Commons, North Vancouver
Admission: Free, skate rentals are available at a cost of $7 (quantities are limited)

Catoro Cafe Community Nights

What: Catoro, Vancouver’s magical cat cafe, is hosting a number of “community nights,” in December. Enjoy a different holiday film every Monday in December, including Arthur Christmas on December 23. Each event will cost $25, is 90 minutes in duration, and includes a drink and plenty of cats.

When: December 23 and December 30, 2019
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Catoro Cafe — 666 E Broadway, Vancouver
Register: Online

Christmas Glow Vancouver

What: Christmas Glow will take place inside the Harbour Convention Centre, and visitors will be able to enjoy nearly 50,000 sq. ft. of enchanting twinkling lights and holiday activities.

This year’s theme for Vancouver is “Santa’s Lost Presents.” Guests will be able to help the elves find Santa’s lost presents. Themed light-up structures, including Santa’s sleigh and his trusty reindeer, will be set up around the venue. Adults will be able to enjoy the licensed bars, seasonal beverages, and live music while interactive activities and festive playgrounds will keep the kids busy.

When: Now until January 5, 2020 (closed on Christmas Day)
Time: Hours of operation vary depending on date of visit.
Where: Harbour Convention Centre — 760 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Tuesday, December 24

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market/Lindsay Elliot

What: The 10th annual authentic German-inspired Christmas Market features a selection of traditional food and beverages, over 80 artisan vendors, children’s activities, live entertainment, and the opportunity to ride downtown Vancouver’s only Christmas Carousel. Guests can also enjoy $10 admission at the gate every Tuesday.

When: Daily until December 24, 2019
Time: 11:30 am to 9:30 pm (December 23), 11:30 am to 6 pm (December 24)
Where: Jack Poole Plaza – 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
Tickets: Online. Adult, $12.99; seniors, $10.99; youth $6.99 (online) / adult, $15; seniors, $13; youth, $9 (gate admission). There is also free admission for children six and under, $8 Early-Bird Admission on weekdays before 2 pm (gate admission), and $10 admission all day every Tuesday (gate admission)

Photos and Visits with Santa at Capilano Mall

What: Santa Claus is at Capilano Mall ahead of his busiest day of the year. Kick off the holidays with a traditional visit to Santa, who will be available for photos through December 24. There are special giveaways for those who purchase a photo package with Santa.

When: Now until December 24, 2019
Time: Varies by date
Where: Capilano Mall — 935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Price: Purchase Santa photo package on the day of visit; option to schedule appointment online at capilanomall.com/event-promotions/

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

What: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Catch the musical at Gateway Theatre in December and sing along to the biblical story of Joseph, Jacob, and the coat of many colours.

When: Various dates until December 31, 2019
Time: Various times

Where: Gateway Theatre — 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Tickets: Online

The Christmas Store at Potters

What: Potters Nursery has made its annual transformation into the 28,000-sq-ft Christmas Store at Potters. Themed areas include a 3,000-sq-ft “Dark Room,” illuminated by themed tree-lights, Petland, and the Nutcracker Room, to name a few. New this year is the store’s very own Whoville, a space dedicated to a wide variety of Grinch-themed items, such as teddy bears, ornaments, mugs, and snow globes.

In addition over 50,000 themed ornaments, toys, games, and stocking stuffers for both kids, adults, and pets, the store will offer food demos and live music on weekends to liven up the Christmas atmosphere.

When: 
Time: Various times
Where: 19158 48th Avenue, Surrey
Admission: Free

Merry Kissmas – A Royal Romance

What: Enjoy seasonal mirth and merriment at Vancouver TheatreSport’s Merry Kissmas – A Royal Romance. The show’s first half takes suggestions from the audience to parody well-known holiday TV specials and films. That’s followed by a completely improvised, audience-driven rom-com parody in the second half.

When: Now until December 24, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: The Improv Centre – 1502 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Feast of the Seven Fishes at Cibo Trattoria

What: Cibo is back with its annual Feast of the Seven Fishes dinners this year. Guests will enjoy a seven-course menu showcasing fresh, local seafood.

When: December 23 and December 24, 2019
Where: Cibo – 900 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Price: $89 per person ($59 per person with wine pairings)

Winter Gift Gallery

What: Seymour Art Gallery’s Winter Gift Gallery features a variety of locally made arts to purchase throughout the holidays, including paintings, scarves, pottery and more.

When: Tuesdays to Sunday until December 24, 2019
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Seymour Art Gallery – 4360 Gallant Avenue, North Vancouver
Admission: Free

Wednesday, December 25

Holidays at Vancouver Aquarium

Marine debris tree/Vancouver Aquarium

What: Scuba Claus will be visiting the Vancouver Aquarium daily until December 24 to don his flippers and dive with the colourful cold-water creatures in the Strait of Georgia habitat.

Returning holiday favourites at the Aquarium also include the electric-eel-powered Christmas tree (with feedings daily at 11:30 am), the tot-friendly kelp maze, and the picture-perfect jelly snow globe. Check out the mistle-toad” near the Frogs Forever Gallery, and after wandering the galleries with cocoa in hand, it’s time for a journey to the North Pole in the Vancouver Aquarium’s 4-D theatre, where The Polar Express 4D Experience plays daily. 

Visitors can also pose for a photo with Scuba Claus between 10 am and 3:30 pm until December 24 (cost: $23). 

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park – 845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Admission: Adults: $38| Senior/Student: $30 | Child (4-12): $21 | Child (0-4): $0 – Tickets available online

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas 2019

What: Visitors can take a spin on Grouse Mountain’s 8,000-sq-ft outdoor ice skating pond or zip down the multi-lane snow sliding zone. You can also take a sleigh ride through the mountain’s Winter Wonderland, meet magic reindeer, watch family Christmas movies, and write a letter to Santa. At Santa’s Workshop, believers young and old can share their special Christmas wishes and take a photo. Photos are pay by donation to BC Children’s Hospital.

Access to the Peak of Christmas is included with your Annual Local’s Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass, as well as regular Alpine Experience tickets.

When: Now until January 5, 2020 (open on Christmas Day)
Time: 9 am to 10 pm (closes at 5 pm on Christmas Day)
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Admission: Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with Mountain Admission Ticket, Annual Membership, Winter Season Pass, or Lift Ticket. Tickets online. Discounted rates are also available for BC residents

Community Movie: Enchanted

What: City Centre Community Centre hosts a Christmas Day screening of Enchanted. Light refreshments will also be available to enjoy.

When: December 25, 2019
Time: 1 pm
Where: City Centre Community Centre — 5900 Minoru Boulevard, Richmond
Admission: Free

Dancing Trees – Interactive Winter Lights

What: Steveston’s Town Square Park (located beside the Steveston Museum) features an interactive light display every evening for the rest of the year. Sponsored by Tourism Richmond.

When: Now until December 31, 2019
Time: 3 to 9 pm
Where: Steveston Town Square Park – 3791 Moncton Street, Richmond
Admission: Free

Christmas at Canada Place 2019

Christmas at Canada Place

What: Free Christmas attractions presented by the Port of Vancouver will be taking over the Canadian Trail, along the west promenade of Canada Place from now until January 1, 2020, from 8 am to 11 pm daily. This year’s festivities include a historic peek into the past with Woodward’s Windows displays, the festive Avenue of Trees, and the iconic white sails of Canada Place being illuminated with bright colours and designs throughout the holidays. And make sure to stop by Canada’s North light display including “Chrismoose,” a massive 15-foot tall moose light sculpture. Snap a photo to commemorate a fun time at Christmas at Canada Place.

When: Now until January 1, 2020
 Time: 8 am to 11 pm
Where: The Canadian Trail, West Promenade – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Admission: Free

Lights at Lafarge Lake

What: Lights at Lafarge Lake is one of the largest free light displays in Metro Vancouver and features more than 100,000 twinkling lights. The outdoor display wraps its way entirely around the lake, leading visitors on a 1.2-km loop through 10 themed zones. The display is located just steps from SkyTrain’s Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, and the lights will remain on from dusk each night until 11 pm.

When: Now until January 19, 2020
Time: Dusk to 11 pm daily (until midnight on New Year’s Eve)
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Vallea Lumina

What: Vallea Lumina is a 45-minute adventure that follows two hikers seeking “a mystical valley where stardust falls from the sky.” The interactive experience gives hikers the chance to play, touch, and engage with Vallea Lumina’s ever-changing environment, and it is presented by Montreal-based entertainment studio, Moment Factory and Whistler’s “The Adventure Group.”

There will also be a free shuttle going to and from Cougar Mountain, as well as non-alcoholic refreshments and snacks available for purchase.

When: Now until April 2020
Time: Shows begin at sundown
Where: Cougar Mountain, free shuttles from Whistler Village
Tickets: Online, $29.99 per adult; $24.99 per child

Thursday, December 26

Five Alarm Funk – Hometown Holiday Blowout Bash

Five Alarm Funk/Live Nation

What: Vancouver-based Five Alarm Funk celebrates the holidays with a Boxing Day show at Commodore Ballroom with guests Small Town Artillery and Rain City.

When: 
Time: Doors 8 pm, show 8:30 pm
Where: Commodore Ballroom – 867 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Bright Nights at Stanley Park 2019

What: Bright Nights at Stanley Park features over three million dazzling lights decorating acres of the dark forest, reaching as high as the forest canopy for all to see and enjoy. The attraction in the heart of the park is also accompanied by a train ride, music, snacks, entertainment, and even visits with Santa and his elves.

The annual tradition, now in its 22nd year, is operated and installed by 800 firefighters – a task that requires 8,000 hours of set-up over three months. Bright Nights attracts 200,000 visitors every year, with all proceeds benefiting the Burn Fund, which provides life-saving, life-supporting, and life-enriching services to people in BC.

When: Now until January 1, 2020 (closed on Christmas Day)
Time: Various times
Where: Stanley Park Miniature Railway – Pipeline Road, Stanley Park
Admission: $8.40 – 12.60, available online

Shipyards Brewery District Boxing Day Crawl

What: The Shipyards Brewery District is hosting its first-ever Boxing Day beer crawl. On December 26 four breweries from the new beer district in North Vancouver will be participating in the crawl. Folks who purchase $24 tickets can enjoy one 16oz pour at three of the district’s breweries — Beere Brewing, House of Funk Brewing, and North Point Brewing — as well as a flight at Streetcar Brewing.

When: December 26, 2019
Time: 12 to 7 pm
Where: North Vancouver (Beere Brewing, House of Funk Brewing, North Point Brewing, Streetcar Brewing)
Price: $24; buy online

East Van Panto: Pinocchio

What: East Van Panto returns for their seventh year with Pinocchio, created by playwright Marcus Youssef, composer Veda Hille, and director Stephen Drover. When a lonely old ice-cream seller named Gelato is given a puppet by the mysterious Beckwoman of Commercial Drive, his dreams of having a child suddenly come true. Join a locally famous cricket, an angry orca, and a dastardly fox as poor Pinocchio does his best to tell everyone the truth and become a real boy. But why are Pinocchio’s limbs always growing?

When: Now until January 5, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: York Theatre – 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

VanDusen Festival of Lights 2019

vandusen festival of lights

VanDusen Festival of Lights (Farhan Mohamed/Daily Hive)

What: The dazzling botanical garden will be covered in more than a million lights to help ring in the Christmas season. Visitors can stroll through interactive themed areas, watch the famous dancing lights show on Livingstone Lake, take a photo with Santa, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, or simply warm up with a specialty beverage at the licensed fireside lounge. All tickets, which can be purchased online or at the gate, include a free ride on the carousel.

When: Now until January 5, 2020 (closed on Christmas Day)
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
Time: 4 pm to 9:30 pm (closed on Christmas Day)
AdmissionAdults: $19 online and $21 at the gate. Youth and seniors: $14.50 online and $16 at the gate.

Aurora Winter Festival 2019

What: The Aurora Winter Festival, now one of the largest events of its kind in Western Canada, is returning for the 2019 holiday season. The six-week, North Pole-inspired festival will be expanding its event to fifteen acres in size and relocating to Hastings Park.

Upgrades from last year include a larger surface for ice skating, a longer tube park, and double the number of rides and games. Other attractions include a light tunnel showcasing the Aurora Borealis, a story-time theatre with Santa for kids, a giant tube park, ice skating on a frozen pond, six amusement park rides, games, some of Vancouver’s best food trucks, and a market with 40 holiday-inspired vendors.

When: Now until January 5, 2020 (closed on Christmas Day)
Time: Various times
Where: Hastings Park – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, General Admission passes start at $17.99 / Senior and Child passes start at $12.99 / Family passes start at $49.99

Ellie King’s Snow White

What: Enjoy the tale of Snow White told in classic British Pantomime at Surrey Arts Centre. The interactive show is fun for the whole family, and written by Ellie King with music by Geoff King. Guests can also get autographs from the cast after the show.

When: December 26 to 29, 2019
Time: Various times

Where: Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre — 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey
Tickets: Online