The VanMag Guide to the Holidays
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening… And while there may not be much snow yet, you can still enjoy the holiday atmosphere by embracing the festive spirit at these winter wonderlands throughout the Lower Mainland.
December 10, 2018
Don’t let the Lower Mainland’s reputation for cold and rainy Decembers stop you from getting your Christmas on. Billed as the largest indoor Christmas event in Greater Vancouver, Glow is a warm alternative to outdoor markets and will be igniting Langley’s Milner Village Garden Centre with more than 500,000 lights. Wander through the interactive light trails and tunnels, take selfies at the illuminated sculptures and find last-minute gifts at the Christmas market. Or if you’d prefer to just relax, kickback at the licensed bar and enjoy live music whilst the kids play among the lights.
Heritage Christmas, Burnaby Village Museum
Experience a 1920s-style Christmas at the historic Burnaby Village Museum,where throughout December you can take a stroll through the village streets to admire vintage-themed decorations and light displays. Join in family-friendly activities such as baking in the Farmhouse and enjoy festive entertainment including theatre performances, period-clad townsfolk and community choirs.
Lights at Lafarge, Coquitlam
December’s short days can only mean one thing—more time to enjoy Christmas lights. And at Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, you can bask in the Lower Mainland’s largest free outdoor light display. Hundreds of thousands twinkling lights illuminate the Lake in Town Centre Park, and will lead visitors on a 1.2 kilometer loop through more than 10 themed zones. From dusk to 11 p.m., the display runs nightly until January 20, 2019.
Santa Claus Parade, New Westminster
Santa Claus comes to town on Sunday, December 16 for the annual Santa Parade in New Westminster. From 11 a.m., a procession of holiday floats and cast of characters (including the big guy himself) will proceed down Columbia Street. Arrive early and dress warmly for this popular outdoor event.
Aurora Winter Festival, Vancouver
From giant sculptures and light displays to rides, a tube park and Santa’s workshop, there’s a lot to take in at the extensive Aurora Winter Festival. Transformed into the North Pole with four elaborately designed regions to explore, Concord Pacific Place is temporarily home to a Disco Den, Arctic Retreat, Luminous Gardens and a Whimsical Forest. Each area includes displays, sculptures, and characters to bring your otherworldly experience to life. For a more low-key excursion, go for an outdoor skate on the frozen river, explore the market and warm up with mulled wine while watching performances under the heated big top. The festival will be running until December 30.
The VanDusen Gardens Festival of Lights, Vancouver
It’s hard to imagine just how long it takes to hang more than 1 million lights, but it’s clearly worth it as the festive display at VanDusen Botanical Gardens always make an impact. Wander through the impressive dancing lights and lantern alley displays, or stop for a carousel ride and snack-break at the licensed Fireside Lounge. There’s plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained too, with recycled instruments, a sing-a-long garden and photo ops with Santa.
Holiday Hi-Lite Festival, North Vancouver
Enjoy the holiday spirit whilst raising money for a worthy cause at the 30th annual Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park & Tilford Gardens. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. until December 31, visitors can explore three acres of holiday lights with proceeds going to support the North Vancouver firefighters and their appointed charities.
Christmas Holiday Skating
If you’ve ever wanted to skate with Santa, now is your chance. Rumour has it that St Nick himself will make an appearance at the Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex to finalize his naughty and nice list. While in Burnaby, he’ll join in on the fun for the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Skate at the Bill Copeman Sports Centre.
Bright Nights in Stanley Park, Vancouver
The seasons magic is on full display at the annual Bright Nights festival in Stanley Park. Transforming the heart of the city into Santa’s workshop, the dark forest makes for the perfect backdrop to more than three million lights. After being dazzled by light displays, don’t miss the ever-popular train ride departing every half hour. The whole family are guaranteed to enjoy this one, and with entry by donation it’s an affordable way to explore one of the most popular Christmas displays in the city.