Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for December

From holiday theatre productions and pop-up shops to toy drives and more, here are our top picks for December

From holiday theatre productions and pop-up shops to toy drives and more, here are our top picks for December

1. Photos with Santa at Metropolis – now until December 23

Metropolis at MetrotownMetropolis at MetrotownAfter a two-year hiatus, Santa Claus is returning to Metropolis at Metrotown. This family tradition allows parents to capture their kiddos’ special holiday moments in Santa’s Winter Wonderlandcomplete with a dazzling backdrop of snow and icebergs. Professional photos are available for a $10 donation and all proceeds go to the Burnaby Christmas Bureau, which supports over 8,000 people each year with childcare, immigrant and refugee support, family and seniors’ resources, plus other programs. Photos with Santa can be booked in advance online and a reservation slot secured, allowing visitors to avoid waiting in lengthy lineups. 
4700 Kingsway, Burnaby; $10; Details online


2. East Van Panto: The Little Mermaid – now until January 1, 2023

Emily CooperPhoto Credit: Emily CooperTheatre Replacement puts an East Van spin on The Little Mermaid for this year’s 10th anniversary of the East Van Panto. Featuring protagonist Ariel busking with her girl band at New Brighton Beach, the little mermaid “falls in love with a teenage mer-person before diving into an ocean adventure where she makes a questionable deal with a devilish octopus named Ursula; fights off evil electric eels with her trash crab BFF, Sebastian; and has to help save the ocean from a mysterious purple slime of despair.”
York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive; Tickets from $35; Details online


3. The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – now until January 2, 2023

Grouse Mountain ResortFacebook/Grouse Mountain ResortBundle up and head to the peak of Grouse Mountain to experience a true winter wonderland—aka Vancouver’s North Pole. Visit Santa in his workshop (and snap a pic with the big man himself), meet reindeer Dancer and Vixen, experience the enchanting light walk, glide across the mountaintop skating pond, and so much more. The Peak of Christmas is included with a mountain admission ticket.
Grouse Mountain; winter season pass or day lift ticket; Details online


4. The Vancouver Aquarium: Holiday Splash – now until January 2, 2023

The Vancouver AquariumThe Vancouver AquariumThe Vancouver Aquarium’s Holiday Splash experience promises fun for the whole family and brings back traditional favourites such as Scuba Claus and Jelly Snow Globe. Explore an underwater winter wonderland of twinkling lights and trimmed trees, where holiday favourites like The Polar Express experience and the enchanting Jelly Snow Globe return to delight your whole family. Immerse yourself in the magic of the season with scrumptious treats and new festive animal programming. Another tradition returning to the Aquarium is its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre’s Home for the Holidays, where a group of remaining animals are returned in December to their natural home. This heartwarming event reminds everyone of an Aquarium core mission: the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine mammals.
845 Avison Way Vancouver; book in advance from $37.95; details online


5. The Little Mountain Shop’s Holiday Pop-Up – now until December 24

alleryFacebook/The Polygon GalleryReturning for 2022, the annual Little Mountain Shop holiday pop-up, located in North Vancouver’s Polygon Gallery, features unique gifts by an all-Canadian lineup of mostly local, women-led, BIPOC makers and creatives, including candles, jewellery, beauty and so much more. ‘Meet the Maker’ events take place every weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and highlight a local guest vendor. Customers will be able to enjoy demos, a photo booth, and the festive atmosphere before taking in what’s on view in the gallery.
The Polygon Gallery, 101 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver; 10 a.m.; Details online


6. Soar with Santa Experience – December 8 to January 3, 2023

FlyOver CanadaFacebook/FlyOver CanadaTake flight this holiday season and enjoy a magical ride across Canada and to the North Pole alongside Santa Claus. Soar with Santa takes off from the eastern shoreline on its epic flight west, soaring over Canada’s iconic destinations. Throughout the journey, riders can keep a close watch for Santa’s runaway elves as he desperately needs them home before Christmas Eve. The flight then veers sharply off course for an enchanting visit to the snow-dusted North Pole. During its opening week, kids 15 and under can ride free with an adult (one child per each regular-priced adult ticket).
Canada Place; from $25; Details online


7. The Weirdos Holiday Market – December 9 to December 11 and December 16 to December 18

atherineWilsonAtelierKatherine Wilson AtelierGreater Vancouver’s most unusual seasonal shopping experience is coming back for its sixth great year, this time with a pair of special adults-only Friday night markets (featuring many decidedly ‘R’-rated curios suited only to—slightly more—mature eyes)Featuring the work of 40 artists personally curated by founder and organizer Rachel Zottenberg, each of their tables will offer a bounty of unusual, intriguing, and occasionally outrageous items, including witchy wares, anatomical curiosities, unique collectibles, quirky clothing, eccentric art, magical pottery, one-of-a-kind prints, candles, books, plus much more.
The Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Avenue; $5 at the door for ages 13 and up (by donation for children 12 and under); details online


8. A Christmas Carol – December 14 to December 24

photo credit Jam Hamidi FH 22.jpgPhoto credit: Jam HamidiCelebrate the holiday season at the Firehall Arts Centre with its presentation of A Christmas Carol. Produced by Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, all 40 characters in this one-man version of the familiar tale are performed by Stratford/Shaw stalwart Sanjay Talwar for a whirlwind show that will make your heart twinkle. Artistic and executive producer Donna Spencer says; “I’m thrilled to be able to present a classic tale this holiday season. It’s one of my favourite stories and a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is all about. Sanjay Talwar’s performance is such a gift, and I hope Firehall audiences will revel in the warmth of this production.”
Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova; Tickets from $25; Details online


9. Vancouver Firefighter Annual Toy Drive – December 14

Vancouver Firefighter Annual Toy DriveVancouver Firefighter Annual Toy DriveReturning for their annual toy drive, Vancouver Firefighter charities make Christmas truly magical by purchasing $47,000 worth of Christmas gifts from local retailers through the Toys for Kids programme. Donate to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) at the 35th Annual Christmas Wish Breakfast at the Pan Pacific Hotel on Wednesday, December 14—which returns to the Vancouver Christmas calendar after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
Members of the public are invited to learn more about the Toys for Kids program and contribute to this year’s campaign here


10. Christmas with Chor Leoni – December 16 to December 19

Chor LeoniChor LeoniGet in the Christmas spirit with a diverse program ranging from the holy to the hilarious. This annual Yuletide tradition will share an inspiring repertoire of timeless holiday classics and hope-filled winter harmonies including ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Silent Night’, and feature two world-première commissions from Canadian composers and three holiday treasures newly arranged for Chor Leoni.
St. Andrew’s-Wesley United; December 16, 17 & 19 at 8 p.m., December 17 & 19, at 5 p.m. and December 17 at 2 p.m.