27 things to do in Vancouver this weekend: December 21 to 23

Dec 18 2018, 8:40 am

The first weekend of winter is here! Start the fun with these 27 things to do in Vancouver on Friday, December 21, Saturday, December 22, and Sunday, December 23. The Funk Hunters, It’s A Wonderful Life, and more.

And for more things happening around town be sure to check out our events section.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Aurora Winter Festival

Aurora Winter Festival Toronto

Aurora Winter Festival Toronto/Brandon Artis Photography

What: Escape into a hidden village by the North Pole filled with captivating light displays and magical characters, and enjoy the market huts, food gardens, amusement rides, live entertainment, and plenty of other joyful activities. From visiting Santa’s Workshop to lacing up your skates on the Frozen River, there is something for every age at the Aurora Winter Festival. The festival takes place at Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Place and runs from

When: Now to Sunday, December 30, 2018. Closed on select days
Time: 4 to 10 pm
Where: Concord Pacific Place – 811 Carrall Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $14.99-$19.99. Infants three and under are free

The Funk Hunters

What: Canadian electronic music act and DJ duo The Funk Hunters bring Funk The Halls to the Commodore with guests Mat The Alien and Neon Steve.

When: Friday, December 21 to Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: Doors 7 pm
Where: The Commodore Ballroom – 868 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $30 and up

Ellie King’s Hansel, Gretel and the Strolling Players

What: Royal Canadian Theatre Company presents a traditional Panto adventure with Hansel, Gretal and the nefarious Mistress Grimm. Join in the fun by booing the bad guys and cheering the good guys, sing along with toe-tapping music, and groan at corny old jokes.

When: Friday, December 21 to Saturday, December 22, Wednesday, December 26 to Sunday, December 30, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey
Tickets: Online

Pop-Up Library: Hyde Creek Recreation Centre

What: The Terry Fox Library is popping up on Fridays at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre. Borrow children’s books and DVDs, place holds and participate in a children’s storytime.

When: Friday, December 21, 2018
Time: 11 am to 12 pm
Where: Hyde Creek Recreation Centre – 1379 Laurier Ave, Port Coquitlam
Admission: Free

Bacio Rosso: Gourmet Cabaret Cirque 2018

What: one-of-a-kind gourmet cabaret cirque production that puts fine dining, comedy, and circus under a giant enclosed tent. Bacio Rosso is a three-hour performance that features artists from around the world, including magicians, jugglers, trapeze artists, contortionists, clowns, singers, and comedians. All the while, spectators will feast on a delicious four-course gourmet meal curated by La Quercia’s Adam Pegg, an award-winning Vancouver chef who specializes in Italian cuisine.

When: Wednesday to Sunday from now to March 3, 2019
Time: Wednesday to Saturday at 7 pm, Sunday at 8 pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver
Price: Online for $119 to $219

Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

What: Stroll through the streets of Burnaby Village Museum to see wreaths, cedar swags and vintage-themed displays. At the bandstand, visitors can create their own magical holiday show with lights that change colours to sound. Special entertainment is scheduled throughout the season including theatre performances, community choirs, street characters and musicians. Many family-favourite activities are back including craft for children, baking in the Farmhouse and visits with Father Christmas.

When: Now to Friday, January 4, 2019
Time: Various times
Where: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Ave Burnaby
Admission: Free, carousel rides $2.65

Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory

Bloedel Conservatory

Bloedel Conservatory/ Instagram

What: Experience a winter wonderland at Queen Elizabeth Park filled with magical lights, festive music, and a holiday scavenger hunt. There will also be 150 free-flying tropical birds and 500 plants inside the indoor tropical garden.

When: Daily from now to Sunday, January 6, 2018. Closed Christmas Day.
Time: 10 am to 9 pm
Where: Queen Elizabeth Park — 4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $6.50 for adults, $4.35 for youth (13-18), $3.15 for children (4-12).

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bah Humbug 2018

Photo: Bah Humbug 2018 SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs.

What: Jim Byrnes leads a stellar cast in this modern re-telling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set in the Downtown Eastside. Scrooge is a pawnshop operator and hotel landlord who renovicts his tenants. Savannah Walling, the artistic director of Vancouver Moving Theatre which co-produced the show, says “we hope that our music-filled adaptation shines the light of truth on this old tale and today’s Downtown Eastside.”

When: Now to Saturday, December 22, 2018
Times: Various times
Where: SFU Woodard’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street
Tickets: Available online from $24 to $39

IIHF World Junior Championship: Denmark vs Sweden and USA vs Czech Republic

What: Lordco Road to the World Juniors tournament continues with Denmark facing Sweden in Chilliwack and USA versus Czech Republic in Langley.

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 6 pm (Chilliwack), 7 pm (Langley)
Where: Prospera Centre – 45323 Hodgins Ave, Chilliwack; Langley Events Centre – 7888 200 Street, Langley
Tickets: Online

Cirque Musica Wonderland

What: Cirque Musica Holiday presents Wonderland, an all-new concert experience featuring the cast of Cirque Musica. Featuring favourite holiday songs performed by a live symphony orchestra.

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 3 pm
Where: Orpheum – 601 Smithe St, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Street Vendors Collective – Winter Holiday Market

What: The Street Vendors Collective is hosting a Winter Holiday Market at the SFU Woodward’s Atrium. Stop by to pick up hand-made holiday gifts created by DTES artists.
Products include jewelry, sock monkeys, art cards, quilts and more.

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 11 am to 5 pm
Where: SFU Woodward’s Atrium 149 West Hastings St. Vancouver
Admission: Free

Ugly Christmas Sweater Toonie Skate

What: Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater and enjoy an annual Toonie Skate. Skates and helmet are included in admission fee.

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 12:30 to 3 pm
Where: Bill Copeland Sports Centre – 3676 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby
Admission: $2

Little Dickens: The Daisy Theatre 

What: Ronnie Burkett’s marionette vaudeville troupe puts a whole new spin on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Ebeneezer Scrooge becomes Esme Scrooge, a diva somewhat past her prime, who goes on a Christmas journey to redemption. This adult-only show got great reviews last year and promises to make your spirits bright.

When: Now to Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: The Cultch, 1895 Venables St., Vancouver
Tickets: At the box office, online, or by phone 604-251-1363, $24 – $69

Christmas Reprise XVI 

What: Need a break from the last minute gift shopping? You’re in luck. For the 16th year, the Vancouver Cantata Singers are offering up Christmas concert to delight the ears. This year the program features a mix of traditional and contemporary pieces.

Where: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 2 pm and 7:30 pm
Where: 2 pm at Holy Rosary Cathedral 646 Richard’s St., Vancouver, 7:30 pm at Queen’s Avenue Church 529 Queen’s Ave. New Westminster.
Tickets: Available online. $10 to $35

The Arts Club’s Blind Date

Blind Date/The Arts Club

What: Arts Club, the largest theatre company in Western Canada, is putting a much-needed dose of laughter and fun into dating. From now to Monday, December 30, 2018, Rebecca Northan’s improv comedy Blind Date will be playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. Viewers will get a chance to experience the exhilaration (and hilarity!) of new love as Mimi, the lead character of the show, goes on a blind date with a different man every night. There’s a catch though – her date is picked right out of the audience.

When: Now to Monday, December 30, 2018
Time: Showtimes vary based on date
Where: Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre – 162 W 1st Avenue, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online from $29

Christmas at FlyOver Canada

What: Fly like Santa this Christmas on a magical flight across Canada. After meeting some of Santa’s elves, Chestnut and Pinecone, you’ll join them as they take flight across Canada looking for their fellow elves. You may even get a sneak peek of Santa’s Workshop as you soar over the North Pole.

When: Now to Sunday, January 6, 2018
Time: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm
Where: 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Yalda: A Winter Solstice Concert

What: The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra is hosting their first-ever Winter Solstice Concert. YALDA is the Persian name for the longest night of the year, and the celebrations that come with it. The VICO will mark the occasion with a contemplative, atmospheric evening of chamber music for voices and intercultural strings.

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Time: 8 pm
Where: Blueshore Centre for the Performing Arts – 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $25-$35

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Santa at Capilano Mall

Santa Claus/Getty Images

What: Santa Claus has arrived 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 from now through December 23. There’s going to be special giveaways for those who purchase photo packages with Santa. Feel bad about leaving your pet at home?

When: Now to Sunday, December 23, 2018
Times: Times vary by date
Where: 935 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
Price: $19.99 – $34.99 – Purchase Santa photo package on the day of visit

IIHF World Junior Championship: Switzerland vs Russia and Canada vs Finland

What: Lordco Road to the World Juniors tournament wraps up with Switzerland taking on Russia in Burnaby and Canada facing Finland in Vancouver.

When: Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: 6:30 pm (Burnaby), 7 pm (Vancouver)
Where: Bill Copeland Arena – 3676 Kensington Ave, Burnaby; Rogers Arena – 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Feast of Seven Fished at Cibo Trattoria

What: Enjoy a seven-course Italian-inspired menu this month for two nights only at Cibo. Features on the spread include slow-cooked octopus and tons of local seafood.

When: Sunday, December 23 and Monday, December 24, 2018
Where: Cibo Trattoria – 900 Seymour Street, Vancouver
Price: $88; $163 with wine pairings

Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas 2018

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. And if you really want to get to know St. Nick, join him breakfast from now to Sunday, December 23, and be sure to get on his good list.

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 to Sunday, January 6, 2019
Time: For more information and a detailed daily schedule for all Peak of Christmas activities, please check here
Where: Grouse Mountain – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Admission: All festive Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with an Annual Local’s Pass, Y2Play or Winter Season Pass, as well as regular Alpine Experience tickets.

Family “Science Discovery Fair”

What: Perk your children’s interest in Science in this fun afternoon of discovery and exploration. East Van Kids STEAM’s guest is Wes Wong of the Open Science Network, who will share his incredible collection of Science items that will spark curiosity and wonder. This workshop is supported by the Society of Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) Youth Engagement Committee.

When: Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Time: 1:30 to 2:30 pm, 2:30 to 3:30 pm, 3:30 to 4:30 pm
Where: Vancouver Public Library-Kensington Branch – 1428 Cedar Cottage Mews, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, free

It’s a Wonderful Life

What: A heartwarming holiday musical for the whole family. It’s a Wonderful Life, set to soaring songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, is a timeless holiday classic. With a little help from his guardian angel, George Bailey, is brought back from despair on Christmas Eve to see how he has truly touched all the people in his life.

When: Various dates from now to Monday, December 31, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: Gateway Theatre – 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Tickets: Online

Bright Nights at Stanley Park 2018

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 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 21st year, is operated and installed by 800 firefighters – it is 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 to Saturday, January 5, 2019. Closed on Christmas Day
Time: Schedule available online
Where: Pipeline Road, via the West Georgia Street park entrance.
Train tickets: Adults: $12 / Seniors: $9 / Youth: $9 / Child: $8

East Van Panto: Wizard of Oz

What: When a pipeline bursts, Dorothy and Toto are flung to the magical Land of Oz, aka Nanaimo and Hastings. There, Dorothy is pursued by a Wicked Witch, meets a trio of new friends, and embarks on a magical journey to the World’s Greenest City in search of brains, heart, courage … and Yoga Pants.

When: Now to Sunday, January 6, 2018
Time: Various times
Where: York Theatre – 639 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
Tickets: Online

Carol Ships Dinner Cruise

What: You may need to save up for this excursion but it’s likely one of the most unique experiences you’ll have during the winter season. In addition to boarding a beautifully decorated ship, passengers are entertained by live carolers and a traditional holiday menu, featuring slow-roasted turkey and honey-glazed ham. If interested, be sure to call and book in advance.

When: Now to Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: Boarding typically begins at 6:30 pm with sailing from 7 to 9 pm
Where: 501 Denman Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Admission starts at $76.95 plus taxes and gratuity

Polar Explorer – A Vancouver Maritime Museum Christmas Celebration

What: Drop by the Vancouver Maritime Museum for a winter experience straight from the Arctic. Climb onboard the original polar Explorer, the RCMP boat, the St. Roch. Visit with Santa Claus in the North Pole and build your very own polar explorer that looks just like the St. Roch. There will also be carolers and music to make your visit even more magical.

When: Sunday, December 23, 2018
Time: 12:30 to 4:30 pm
Where: The Vancouver Maritime Museum – 1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver
Tickets: Online, $11

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