7 things to do in Vancouver today: Wednesday, January 1

Dec 31 2019, 3:30 pm

Welcome to 2020! Start the new year off with one of these seven great events in Vancouver on January 1, including Polar Bear Swim, Lights at Lafarge Lake, and more.

For more things happening around town, be sure to check out our events section.

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

2019 Vancouver New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim (Steve McConnell)

What: The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world. Its initial swim was in 1920, when a small number of hardy swimmers took the plunge into English Bay on New Year’s Day. The afternoon will also have live musical performances, food trucks, and more.

When: January 1, 2020
Time: Noon to 4 pm. Swim happens at 2:30 pm
Where: English Bay
Admission: Free. Participants must register online. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash – please be generous

Christmas at Canada Place 2019

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-ft-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 Daily
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, 2019
Time: Dusk to 11 pm daily (until midnight on New Year’s Eve)
Where: Town Centre Park – 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Bright Nights at Stanley Park 2019

Stanley Park

Stanley Park Bright Nights (@sammietan/Instagram)

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
Time: Various times
Where: Stanley Park Miniature Railway – Pipeline Road, Stanley Park
Admission: $8.40 – 12.60. Tickets available online

Lights on the Lake at Harrison Hot Springs

What: Harrison Hot Springs will be overflowing with Christmas spirit this holiday season, thanks to the return of its annual Winter Light Festival. Light displays on the Harrison Lakefront will showcase the mythical creature hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, fishing, camping, and windsurfing. The event will also feature a Christmas tree trail and a brand-new synthetic outdoor ice rink.

When: Now until January 12, 2020
Time: Various times
Where: Harrison Hot Springs
Admission: Free

Heritage Christmas

What: Take a trip back to holidays past at Burnaby Village Museum with Heritage Christmas. See vintage-themed displays, listen to live music, and enjoy theatre performances. There will also be crafts for children, baking in the Farmhouse, and visits with Father Christmas. There’s even the option to have a full turkey dinner, or festive drinks or treats from the Ice Cream Parlour.

When: Now until January 3, 2020
Time: 1 to 9 pm
Where: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Admission: Free, carousel rides $2.65

Holidays at Vancouver Aquarium

What: Vancouver Aquarium has a variety of holiday favourite activities this season, including 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. 

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