Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for December 5 to 11

This week: catch an early glimpse of Santa Claus, follow the Yellow Brick Road, explore the West End under a charming glow of Christmas lights + more

Nightmare Before the Nutcracker – December 4 to 5 and 11 to 12

Tim Burton’s twisted reimagining of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, returns to the Rio Theatre for four nights this month. The eccentric gothic version combines original Nutcracker characters with those from your favourite Burton movies for a night of circus, burlesque, live music and captivating theatre. The 19+ evening is set to the iconic Tchaikovsky score and additional music by Danny Elfman for a truly unique take on the magic of Christmas.

1660 East Broadway; Doors: 7 p.m., Show: 8 p.m.
Advance tickets: $25 ($30 at the door)

The Eastside Flea Holiday Market at The Pipe Shop – December 5 to 6

East Vancouver’s favourite modern-day flea market is travelling across the bridge for the first time ever. For one weekend, the Eastside Flea Market will take over The Pipe Shop—a stunning heritage building at Lonsdale Quay—with their wide array of vintage collectables, handmade treasures, locally made products, unique plants, posters and more. Residents are invited to find unique goods for their Christmas list, all while supporting local artisans. Christmas carollers and Counterpart Coffee will round out the on-site offerings and prove that this isn’t your typical craft fair.

115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver; 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
General Admission: $3 ($2 with donation of non-perishable food item), Children: Free

Credit: Tim Matheson

James and the Giant Peach – December 5 to January 3

Roald Dahl’s story about a young orphan’s adventure through a giant peach is coming back to the stage this winter. We all know the story of protagonist James, who discovers a magical new world after being sent to live with his evil aunt, but Carousel Theatre’s creative approach will bring new life to the adored children’s story. Recommended for ages six and up, James and the Giant Peach is a heartwarming story about friendship, family and what it means to find a home, which audiences of all ages will enjoy.

The Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island, 1412 Cartwright Street
Tickets start at $21.90; Showtimes vary

12th Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade – December 6

Santa Claus is coming to town—downtown to be precise—for the 12th Annual Rogers Santa Claus Parade. The city’s biggest Christmas celebration features a long parade route, guaranteeing that you get a good glimpse of the big man in the suit before he squeezes through your chimney in a few weeks.

This year’s parade features over 3,500 participants, including more than 65 marching bands, choirs, floats, and community groups. The event is expected to draw a crowd of 300,000 spectators, so be sure to plan transit accordingly. 

Starts at 1 p.m. on the corner of Georgia Street and Broughton Street

Christmas with the Bach Choir – December 6

Celebrate Christmas with the Vancouver Bach Choir, which is in its 85th season, at an afternoon full of joyful holiday songs. More than 400 singers—ranging from five-year-old piccolos to the internationally renowned symphonic adult choir—are coming together for the festive show.

The Bach Choir originated with a special holiday program performed at The Orpheum in 1930, which has since become an annual tradition for the acclaimed group. Purchase your ticket to their next concert, Handel’s Messiah on December 12, at the same time to receive a 15-per-cent discount.

Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe Street
2 p.m., tickets starting at $29

Seven Tyrants Theatre Presents Ebenezer – December 8 to January 2

Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is given a modern-day twist with Ebenezer, a 21st-century version of Ebenezer Scrooge’s ghost story. Starring Andrew Wheeler as one of Christmas’s most infamous characters, the re-invented musical is stripped into five gruesomely entertaining fantasy sequences that incorporate text, movement, dance and music. David Newham’s innovative version explores the darker side of Dickens’ infamous tale, set to an adapted musical score that emphasizes all that is grisly and ghoulish. 

The Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery Street
Tickets start at $29 

Credit: David Cooper

The Wizard of Oz – December 10 to January 3

Click your heels and escape to the imaginative world of Oz this season with Gateway Theatre‘s production of The Wizard of Oz. The show follows Dorothy, Toto and other iconic characters on their journey along the Yellow Brick Road in search of their greatest desires.

One of the most beloved musicals of all time, The Wizard of Oz has become a holiday mainstay set to a truly timeless soundtrack—making it the perfect musical to add to your family’s traditions this year.

6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond
Adults: $48, Students: $20; Showtimes vary

Credit: Jan Gates

Music for the Winter Solstice – December 11

Cozy up for this second-annual solstice-inspired winter concertMusic on Main‘s resident composer, Caroline Shaw, and artistic director, David Pay, have arranged a beautiful evening of luminous music suited to long, dark nights and wintry moods.

The program includes original works by Caroline Shaw, as well as Alfredo Santa Ana and other contemporary composers. Shaw will be featured on voice and violin, accompanied by Steve Maddock (vocals), Rachel Iwaasa (piano), Ariel Barnes (cello) and Heidi Krutzen (harp).

Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street
Doors and Bar open 7 p.m., Concert starts 8 p.m.
Adults: $49, Students: $15

Vancouver Winter Wonderland – December 11 to 20

Award-winning entertainment company Wun2Free Entertainment is bringing its 10-day indoor Winter Wonderland to the PNE. The holiday extravaganza will feature a multi-storey snow globe, the city’s largest polar bear slide, as well as photos with Santa and his reindeer, among a wide variety of other holiday-themed activities and attractions. Try seasonal treats and finish off your Christmas list with more than 100 on-site vendors, as you wander around Canada’s largest indoor Chistmas festival.

PNE Forum, 2901 East Hastings Street; Tickets start at $5
Weekdays: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Weekends: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Credit: West End BIA

Lumière Festival – December 11 to 12

The West End will be set aglow for the second-annual Lumière Festival as the West End BIA partners with Lumiere Festival Society Vancouver and the Vancouver Pride Society to transform the streets of Denman, Davie and Robson with extensive lighting installations, live entertainment and more.

This year’s event includes a complimentary horse-drawn carriage tour departing every 20 minutes from the JJ Bean on Bidwell—a perfectly festive way to see the exhibitions at nearby Alexandra and Morton Parks. Or, hop on the Festive Trolley Tour to check out the street activations at all eight trolley stops, as local celebrities guide you around this charming neck of the woods.