Vancouver Adventures: Our Picks for November 27 to December 4

This week: Lace up your skates outside, get lost in East Van with Hansel and Gretel and check out the Christmas decorations at some of B.C.’s best parks

Black Friday Sales – November 27

The post-American-Thanksgiving tradition is once again making its way up north. Stores across the Lower Mainland will be holding Black Friday sales and offering discounts that used to be reserved for Boxing Day. Some notable shopping centres holding Black Friday events include: the Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver (see specific promotions by store), Park Royal in North Vancouver, Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, Coquitlam Centre and McArthurglen Designer Outlet in Richmond.

Although many Black Friday sales will be one-day-only events, many will feature weekend-long promotions (some have already started and others will go well into December). If you want to get the most out of your holiday shopping this year, make sure to take advantage of these fantastic deals while they last!

Various stores and shopping centres

MEC Snowfest – November 28

Mountain Equipment Co-op is throwing a welcome party for winter. Over the past few weeks, they’ve been hosting free events at their Lower Mainland locations to celebrate the start of the season and this weekend it’s North Vancouver’s turn.

MEC Snowfest North Vancouver is your chance to connect with other local snow lovers and browse through incredible deals on gear at their Snow Swap event, while your kids let loose in the Kidz Zone. There will also be presentations, clinics and workshops on a variety of subjects, from ski waxing to avalanche awareness. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy some of our favourite winter treats: BeaverTails.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MEC North Vancouver, 212 Brooksbank Avenue, North Vancouver

Tales of a Charlie Brown Christmas – November 29

Since its first recording 50 years ago, A Charlie Brown Christmas has become an iconic soundtrack of the season. This winter, the only surviving member of the album’s original Vince Guaraldi Trio is bringing Charlie Brown to Vancouver in partnership with Coastal Jazz.

Drummer Jerry Granelli is joined by bassist Simon Fisk and pianist Chris Gestrin in his latest namesake venture, the Jerry Granelli Trio. Supported by the Coastal Sound Children’s Choir, they will enchant audiences of all ages.

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. showtimes
Tickets start at $22.50
The Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville Street

Ice Skating at Robson Square – December 1 to February 28

Nothing says Canadian winter quite like outdoor skating. Whether it’s to sharpen your footwork skills for the next family hockey scrimmage, live out your favourite holiday movie scene or indulge in some childhood nostalgia, everyone loves to lace up their skates in the fresh air.

Free public skating re-opens at Robson Square for three months this winter—making it easy for city-dwellers to fulfill their pond-skating cravings. Take a break for a cup of hot cocoa from the on-site concession, or carry out the evening at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants and bars within walking distance of the city center plaza.

Robson Square, 800 Robson Street
Skate rentals: $4 (includes helmet), ice cleat rentals: $2
Sunday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

VanDusen Botanical Garden: Festival of Lights 2015 – December 1 to 31

Vancouver’s biggest botanical garden is celebrating December with the Festival of Lights: a month-long event that takes over the public garden with over one million lights.

Hot chocolate and chestnuts will keep you warm as you explore the park’s interactive displays, including the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake and the Vancouver Public Library’s Tales for a Winter’s Night. Visit VanDusen to take pictures with Santa, mingle with friends and get excited about the upcoming holiday.

5251 Oak Street, Vancouver
4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (open until 10 p.m. December 18 to 23)
Tickets start at $11

Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen – December 2 to 20

If you’ve ever felt underappreciated in your kitchen, then you’ll sympathize with Mrs. Claus in this heartwarming new musical about bringing families together. Written by Bill Allman, Alan Marriott and Kevin O’Brien, Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen tells the behind-the-scenes story of the North Pole in the early 1960’s, when Christmas developed into its modern-day holiday.

Elves, laughter, song and dance will transport audiences to Santa’s famous workshop, where they will have the chance to get “hands on” in his beloved wife’s kitchen.

Tickets start at $16
Tuesday to Friday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m.
Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver

Timberline Country Christmas – December 2 to 20

Escape the city for the ultimate winter wonderland this Christmas at Timberline Ranch. The 73-acre horse ranch has been decorated with twinkle lights, Christmas trees and interactive displays for the holiday season, and offers pony rides and classic carols that transport guests to a simpler Christmas of days past.

Country Christmas invites you to soak in the best of the season and avoid its chaos—think crowded malls and commercialism—just outside the big city. The festival is a great intro to the year-round camps, retreats and special events hosted by the Maple Ridge ranch. Book a reservation ahead of time for public viewings or stop by for a cozy cup of something warm at the on-site café.

Tickets start at $7
22351 144 Avenue, Maple Ridge

Credit: Tim Matheson

Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto – December 2 to January 3

Theatre Replacement is back at it this Christmas with another wonderfully weird East Van Panto. This year the troupe—known for putting a new spin on theatre classics—presents the tale of Hansel and Gretel in partnership with The Cultch.

The colourful show follows the brother-sister team deep into the East Van wilderness. What to expect? The return of East Van Panto favourites Veda Hille, Allan Zinyk, Dawn Petten and Charlie Demers, who poke a bit of honest fun at current affairs and create a truly entertaining new holiday tradition for your family.

Tickets start at $20
York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive

Yule Duel – December 3

This year Christmas is getting competitive for a good cause. The city’s first-ever carolling competition will see more than 20 local choirs take over Water Street in Gastown to raise money for May’s Place, a Downtown Eastside hospice.

Drawing inspiration from Seattle’s Figgy Pudding, the Yule Duel choirs range from barbershop harmony to gospel and feature festive costumes, choreographed dances and your favourite holiday tunes. Presented by The Bloom Group and the Gastown Business Improvement Society, the event team aims to raise $20,000 in charitable donations.

6 p.m.
Water Street, Vancouver

Christmas in the Orpheum – December 4

Oh come all ye faithful to the Orpheum for some of the season’s most beautiful carols. The Vancouver Chamber Choir will be joined by Pacifica Singer, the Vancouver Youth Choir, harpist Vivian Chen and a brass ensemble for a brilliant repertoire of classic compositions by Gabrieli, Schütz, Pinkham, Healey and Willcocks.

The Orpheum’s grandeur sets the scene for an upscale evening of choir music equally enjoyed by classical connoisseurs, amateur enthusiasts and novice audiences looking for a bit of seasonal inspiration.

The Orpheum, 601 Smithe Street
8 p.m.
Tickets start at $20.50