Vancouver Adventures: Our To Do Picks Dec. 14-20

This week in Vancouver: Goh Ballet presents The Nutcracker, pick up something fun at Got Craft? and check out the performances on the CP Holiday Train

Credit: Flickr / Sam Howzit

Goh Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker – December 14-22

Deemed a critical and financial flop when it premiered in Russia in 1892, The Nutcracker has since gone on to become one of the world’s favourite ballets. See why when Goh Ballet presents their critically acclaimed version — complete with 200 dancers and live music from the Vancouver Opera Orchestra — from December 14 to 22 at The Centre in Vancouver. Call 1-855-985-2787 for tickets.

Credit: Got Craft?

Got Craft? – December 14-15

For one-of-a-kind gifts as unique as everyone on your shopping list, swing by Got Craft?, the 14th annual fair taking place at the Maritime Labour Centre (1880 Triumph St). With 80 artisans on hand, you’ll find hundreds of gift ideas — everything from gourmet chocolate to hand-made clothes — to suit even the most persnickety person on your wish list. Check it out from 10 a.m., for $3 at the door.

Credit: Flickr / keepitsurreal

Bright Nights in Stanley Park – Until January 5

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – especially at Bright Nights in Stanley Park, where three million twinkling lights have transformed the scenic site into a winter wonderland. Amid the aromas of roasted nuts, hot chocolate and fresh popcorn, visitors can hop aboard the Stanley Park miniature train for a ride through an illuminated forest. Hop aboard nightly (except December 25) until January 5. Admission is $4 at the gate.

Credit: City of Port Moody

CP Holiday Train – December 16

Fun, festivities and philanthropy combine at the CP Holiday Train, which chugs into the Port Moody’s Queen Street Plaza on December 16 carrying special musical guests Melanie Doane and Matt Dusk. This free family fest, which includes everything from crackling bonfires to eggnog ice cream, kicks off with a 4:30 p.m. pre-party at Trasolini Field. And don’t forget to bring a food or monetary donation for SHARE.!

Credit: Winter Harp

Winter Harp – December 17-22

The one time you won’t mind listening to someone harping away for hours? At a performance of Winter Harp, a world-class ensemble whose seasonal concerts have been earning standing ovations for 20 years. Flickering candles set the stage as minstrels in medieval attire perform a playlist ranging from Christmas carols to classic Celtic on rare 12th century instruments. See it from December 17 to 22 at various Lower Mainland venues, with tickets available online.

Credit: Flickr / Miss604

Vancouver Christmas Market – Until December 24

In Germany, Christmas markets are a 700-year-old tradition designed to light up cold winter nights with food, fun and festivities. There are over 2,500 such markets across Germany, and the best features of these — including carolers, gingerbread, mulled wine and tasty treats — have been brought to our shores for the Vancouver Christmas Market, held at the Plaza at QE Theatre from 11 a.m. daily until December 24. Admission starts at $3 per person.

Credit: Flickr / kardboard604

Festival of Trees – Until January 2

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Then you must be at the 27th annual Festival of Trees, a feel-good fundraiser for BC Children’s Hospital, now taking place in downtown Vancouver. No need to brave winter winds to enjoy this copse of Christmas trees ‘cause they’re set in the luxe lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel and the upper level of Pacific Centre Mall. But don’t rush: You’ve got till January 2 to check out these fine firs and to cast a ballot for the People’s Choice Award. 

Carol Ship Dinner & Dance Cruise – Until December 23

There’s only one seasonal excursion guaranteed to float your boat, and that’s the Carol Ship Dinner & Dance Cruise. After stepping aboard a boat festooned in twinkling lights, you’ll sit down for a multi-course festive feast followed by communal caroling and dancing, all while surrounded by the stunning sights of Vancouver’s cityscape. Check out this and other seasonal cruises on select nights until December 23. 

Credit: Flickr / improvboston

Christmas Queen: An Improv Comedy Fairytale – Until December 22

Vancouver TheatreSports League can always be counted on to deliver a top-notch seasonal show, and this year it’s Christmas Queen: An Improv Comedy Fairytale. Watch as talented improvisors weave a magical Christmas story that takes a different turn every night, as you, the audience, helps to save Christmas. Will the evil villain ruin the holiday season for the townsfolk? Will the reluctant hero return to save the day? Will the Christmas Queen awaken the spirit of Christmas in all of us? See for yourself until December 22 at the Improv Centre on Granville Island.

Santa on Skis – December 14

Santa is everywhere this season, and no more so than at Whistler-Blackcomb, where alpine enthusiasts will be surrounded by dozens of ’em on December 14. Why, you ask? Because if you dress up as Mr. or Mrs. Claus — and are one of the first 75 people to show up at the Garibaldi Lift Company at the base of Whistler Mountain — you’ll score a free ski pass for the day. Another reason to go: the powder is said to be perfect! Go online for all the details.