Fun Winter Events: Vancouver Style

Embrace winter in Vancouver! Whether it's hitting some of our world-famous slopes or gazing at festive decorative lights, 'tis the season to be jolly.

Credit: kardboard604

Winter in Vancouver Provides Plenty of Festive Activities for the Entire Family

I love the holiday season—the view of snow on the mountains, the Christmas music on the radio, the lights, the food…  everything! Happily, it seems like the rest of Vancouver shares my loves of the season.

Check out this list of great things to do and places to explore this winter season.


The Vancouver Christmas Market

Ceramic doll fiddler at the Vancouver Christmas Market. (Image: kardboard604)

November 24 to December 24, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Located at the plaza in front of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre


The Vancouver Christmas Market, an authentic “Christkindlmarkt”, features traditional German crafts, cuisine, entertainment and a special children’s area known as the “Kinderweihnacht”, where your kids can help make Christmas gifts, visit Santa and ride on a carousel.


Luminescence at the Vancouver Aquarium

Expect to see stunning aquatic light at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Image: Kyle Tsui)

November 24 to January 2, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit the Vancouver Aquarium during the holidays to see a Christmas tree powered by an electric eel, take in the 4D movie showing of The Polar Express (where you’ll feel the wind on your face, snow fall on your fingertips and smell hot chocolate in the air) and even meet Scuba Claus.


Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

November 26 to December 14, 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and December 15 to January 1, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. (closed December 24 and 25)
Stroll through the decorated Burnaby Village, meet Father Christmas, listen to carolers and enjoy crafts, story time, Christmas baking and a festive scavenger hunt.


The Peak of Christmas on Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain March 12, 2009 (Image: Grouse Mountain)

November 26 to December 24, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Head up to Grouse Mountain for a sleigh ride through the forest and then visit Santa and his reindeer, listen to carols, or skate on the outdoor ice rink (skate rentals available).


Carol Ships Parade of Lights

December 2 to 23
For the 50th year, decorated boats sail through Vancouver’s waterways with over 100,000 twinkling lights and carolers. View the ships from shore for free, or ride on a carol ship. Tickets for different ships range in price and offerings.


Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge (Image: Razvan Marescu)

December 2 to January 1 (closed Christmas Day), 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This winter Capilano Suspension Bridge will again be lit it up with over 250,000 twinkling lights. This year it includes Cliffwalk—a narrow 700-foot cliff-side walkway, where you can view a light display on the cliff-face.


Bright Nights in Stanley Park

December 2 to January 2, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (closed December 25)
The Stanley Park holiday train at Bright Nights has been a Christmas tradition for over 20 years. After riding on the train through the forest of lights, kids can visit Santa, taste roasted chestnuts and enjoy a hot chocolate.


Granville Island Holiday Festivities

Saturdays and Sundays from December 3 to 18
At Granville Island, shop for holiday gifts and dinner ingredients or take in some festive entertainment. Kids will also have the opportunity to chase the ‘Gingerbread Man’ around the island every Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas.


Rogers Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus at the Rogers Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver (Image: Tyler Ingram)

December 4, 1 pm
The eighth annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade marks Santa’s visit to Vancouver. Entertaining over 300,000 spectators each year, the televised parade is the Lower Mainland’s biggest winter event.


Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden

December 9 to January 2 (closed Christmas Day), 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
VanDusen Botanical Garden is transformed into a holiday wonderland every winter with over one million sparkling lights wrapped around trees and trellises. Every night (December 9 through 24), Santa can also be found in the garden, or reading stories in his living room.


Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

Chinatown – Winter Solstice Lantern Festival (Image: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee)

December 21, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Vancouver’s 18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival illuminates the longest night of the year with lanterns, singing, drumming, music and dancing in six different Vancouver neighbourhoods: Granville Island, Yaletown, Chinatown, Strathcona, South East False Creek and East Vancouver. These six festivals are community-based and are unique to each neighbourhood.



Did I miss any of your favourites? Add them to the comments section.