BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for December 11 – 17

This week in BC: Celebrate Solstice, go snow tubing, get your vampire fix, see The Fab Four and more

Burnaby Village’s 19-century Christmas town will delight kids young and old

What to do in BC this week

Celebrate Winter Solstice at the Pan Pacific – December 10 & 15-17
’Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. One great place to do it? Café Pacifica at Pan Pacific Hotel (#300-999 Canada Place, Vancouver), serving a Winter Solstice Luncheon on December 10, 15, 16 and 17 that features “time-honoured favourites with a West Coast flair” all set to the sounds of a live pianist. Check it out from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., for $52 per person and $48 for seniors. An option for opera lovers? On December 17 and 18, the upscale eatery is also hosting a special “heavenly opera buffet” that celebrates the season with all things Italian, including tunes from a resident tenor. Tickets for the buffet, running from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., are $68 per person, with discounts for seniors and children. To book, call 604-891-2555 or email festivedesk@panpacific-hotel.com

Meet Santa at Mount Seymour – December 11-12 & 18-19 

No need to book passage aboard the Polar Express to spot Santa this holiday season. Just head up to Mount Seymour, where kids can meet, greet and get a free picture snapped with old St. Nick himself. The catch? Easy: just bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and Santa will reward your generosity with a complimentary goodie bag from sponsors like Nike, Boston Pizza and Nature’s Path. Santa will be in his workshop, located in Enquist Lodge at Snowplay Park, on December 11, 12, 18 and 19 until 4 p.m. And while you’re there, why not check out the family tobogganing, tubing and snowshoeing, too? For details, call 604-986-2261.

See a Kids’ Concert
 – December 12
Christmas is for children, as the saying goes. So go ahead and treat your kids to A Holiday Celebration featuring the likes of Fred Penner, Charlotte Diamond, Bobs & LoLo and Norman Foote, all on stage for one great show on December 12 at the Vancouver Playhouse (Hamilton & Dunsmuir), beginning at 1 p.m. This kiddie-style concert, featuring all manner of jolly jingles, helps support the annual Vancouver International Children’s Festival, held each summer at Vanier Park. Tickets are $25 per person from the Vancouver Playhouse Box Office (Hamilton at Dunsmuir), by calling 604-873-3311.

Get Your Vampire Fix – December 15 – January 1
So what if Halloween has long since passed: some things — like vampires, for instance — never seem to go out of style. Hence, Dracula: The Panto, running from December 15 to January 1 
at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre (4360 Gallant Avenue, North Vancouver). And because no vampire yarn is quite complete these days without a requisite werewolf, you can expect an appearance by one of those too, along with a cast of kooky characters including a Fairy Garlic. And if you have small kids who find it hard to sit quietly? Don’t worry: panto performers welcome audience interaction! 
Tickets are available by calling the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre at 

Head to The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – December 15-24
Need something to “pique” your interest? You’ll find no shortage of winter recreation at The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain, now rolling out everything from alpine sleigh rides and outdoor ice-skating to real live reindeer and a Children’s Village Parade of Trees. Plus, you can also enjoy Breakfast with Santa, a bountiful buffet with kids’ entertainment, from December 15 to 24 at Lupins Café, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. These fab festivities, running throughout December, are complimentary with your Grouse Mountain admission, annual membership, winter pass or lift ticket. For more details, call 604-980-9311.

Visit Burnaby Village Museum – December 16
 – January 2
Thinking of visiting Burnaby Village Museum now that it’s all bedecked for the holidays? Why not combine a good time with good works by dropping by on December 16, when partial ticket proceeds from guests arriving between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. will go to support the Burnaby Christmas Bureau. The replica 19th-century town is also the place to get a taste of yuletides past, thanks to its Victorian-style storefronts, costumed carolers and appearances by Father Christmas. Visit the village daily from noon to 4:30 p.m. (noon to 8 p.m. from December 16 to January 2, except December 24 and 25), and don’t forget to check out the live plays in the Footlight Theatre, too. For more details, call 604-297-4565.

Enjoy Christmas TheatreSports-style
 – until December 17
I’m dreaming of . . . an Off-White Christmas? Leave it to Vancouver TheatreSports League to take an offbeat look at Christmas that turns the snowy-white holiday on its head with loads of irreverent wit. Called “the funniest holiday show this season,” this lampoon-style laughathon runs nightly at 7:30 p.m. until December 17 at The Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau) on Granville Island. Grab drinks, sit back and prepare to chuckle as the players create off-the-cuff skits on seasonal stereotypes before Santa himself delivers a one-act improvised musical based on an audience member’s Christmas wish.

See The Fab Four – December 17-18
More than 40 years after their bust-up, The Beatles’ legacy lives on. Why else would the Liverpool lads still be inspiring troupes of tribute bands? Rewind time on December 17 and 18 at the River Rock Casino Resort (8811 River Road, Richmond) when The Fab Four will deliver note-perfect performances — sans lip synching — of classics such as “Yesterday,” “Penny Lane,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Hey Jude.” Hosted by “Ed Sullivan,” this multimedia production represents every era of The Beatles’ career, complete with three costume and wig changes. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show start at $39.50 and are available by phone at 604-280-4444 or online at ticketmaster.ca.

Get a Spa Treatment on the Cheap – now

For a great Christmas gift that won’t bust the budget, why not treat your pampered pals to a spa treatment at Dominelli’s (6354 Beresford Street) in Burnaby? It’s an esthetics training college, so prices are rock bottom while services are top-notch. And, yes, services are performed by students, but rest assured they’re supervised by eagle-eyed instructors. A slate of treatments — everything from facials to pedicures to massages — are available most weeks, Wednesday through Saturday. Better hurry up, though, ’cause during the week of December 14 you’ll get 
a complimentary glycolic with any facial treatment. For details, call 604-431-0777.

Do Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle – now
Where else but in Victoria can you expect to experience a Victorian-style Christmas? You’ll find the real deal at Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent), a 19th-century estate that boasts a traditional Victorian vibe, thanks to old-time English enjoyments like a mummers play in the dance hall plus cider and cookies in the pantry. Swing by on Family Nights for guided tours by costumed maids to all the castle’s crannies, along with live musical entertainment, traditional children’s performers and Christmas trees trimmed with original period pieces. Reservations are required for the tours, starting at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., by calling 250-592-5323. Family Night tours are $15.75 per person, including HST, with discounts for seniors, students and children.

Go Snow Tubing at Mount Washington – daily
You’ve skied, snowboarded and maybe even snowshoed. But have you ever snow tubed? If not, it’s high time you tried the latest rage in winter recreation. Fun for the whole family, this no-skills-required sport involves parking your rear in an industrial-size inner tube then shushing down a chute. Where to try it? Mount Washington Alpine Resort (1 Strathcona Parkway, Comox Valley) is a great option, considering it offers competitive rates of $14 per person for two-hour sessions, plus discounted full-day, family and group deals, too. Check it out daily until 9 p.m., with further information available at 1-888-231-1499.

Keep the Kids Amused – anytime
When the winter winds start howling, Nanaimo residents collect the kids and seek shelter at Cyber City Adventures (1815 Bowen Road). This indoor amusement park will keep munchkins occupied for hours with all manner of games, including laser tag, mini golf, go-karts, paintball, batting cages and a giant video arcade. There’s even an A&W restaurant on-site, so parents can grab a coffee while they keep watch over the kids. It makes a great place for birthday parties, too, with prices starting from $79.95 for up to 10 kids. For hours and information, call 250-755-1828.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.