How to have a fun and inexpensive Christmas in Vancouver? We have gathered a list of top free, cause worthy and inexpensive events to relish this holiday season.
Vancouver has had its share of dreary weather with record breaking rainfall in the past two months. The first snow yesterday signals Christmas is just around the corner. Gorgeous decorations and dazzling light displays radiate brilliant artistry, salute time-honoured traditions and infuse the city with a spirit of hope, and festivities.
Here are some places you can enjoy festive decorations and lights, pageants, music and activities for free or no more than $8 in the Greater Vancouver area.
Festive Decorations and Lights
St. Paul Hospital Lights of Hope
The massive and beautiful light display is set up in front of St. Paul Hospital. The Light of Hope is a St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation campaign that raises fund for ongoing patient care and fund research initiatives.
When: November 24, 2016. End date: TBA
Where: St. Paul Hospital, 1081 Burrard St., Vancouver
Carol Ships Parade of Lights
Bundle up for a fun family night or romantic evening to watch decorated vessels parade along Vancouver’s waterfront. Initiated by the Carol Ships ‘Parade of Lights’ Society over 50 years ago, the parade showcases over 50 decorated boats plying different routes.
When: December 07 – 17, 2016
Where: Click here
29th Annual Christmas at Canada Place
Head off to the Canadian Trail for a fun-filled day. Peek through the Woodward’s Windows, a treasured Vancouver heritage. Originally showcased in the iconic Woodward’s department store, the windows featured classic holiday scenes with animated characters and elaborate decor. Handcrafted in the 1960s, the displays included The Candlestick Factory, Santa’s Workshop and The Lamplighter.
Capture your Christmas memories in a 15 ft snow globe. All proceeds from the festive photos go to support Strathcona Community Centre’s Food Security for Children program. Stop by at Rudolph’s Theatre for a glimpse of classic Christmas movies or stroll the beautiful avenue of Christmas trees. There is also an area for children arts and crafts.
When: December 16 – 30, 2016 (12 noon – 6 p.m. daily. Closed on Dec 24 & 25) | December 16 – 30, 2016 (9 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. (For Woodward’s Windows)
Where: Canada Place on The Canadian Trail (west promenade), Vancouver
28th Annual Hi-Light Festival
This month-long celebration features a brilliant light display, live entertainment, and festive activities for the entire family. Proceeds go to support the North Vancouver firefighters, and various appointed charities. Schedule
When: November 25 – Opening Day; | Family Nights – December 02, 09, 16, 23.
Where: Park & Tilford, 333 Brooksbank Ave., North Vancouver
Relive childhood memories with a visit to the 26th annual Gingerbread Lane. Indulge in sweet visual cravings of more than 30 gingerbread creations crafted by secondary schools, professionals and amateur culinary artists. The event supports the Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon charity.
When: December 02 – 28, 2016
Where: Hyatt Regency Vancouver lobby, 655 Burrard St., Vancouver
Festival of Trees
The festival celebrates its 30th anniversary with an enchanted forest of decorated trees to raise funds for urgent needs at BC Children’s Hospital.
When: November 25, 2016 to January 02, 2017
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (791 W. Georgia St.) and Level M2 of CF Pacific Centre Mall (650 W. Georgia St.), Vancouver
Vancouver Menorah Lighting
Celebrate the joy of Canukah at the lighting of Canada’s tallest Menorah, with live music by international musician and songwriter Anders Nerman. Originally from Vancouver, Nerman performs and writes music in various musical genres including Jewish Music, Folk, Rock and Reggae. Hot cocoa, latkes (pan-fried Jewish potato pancakes) and donuts will be served.
When: Sunday, December 25, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m.
Where: Vancouver Central Library, 350 West Georgia St., Vancouver
Old-Fashioned Fun and Sparkling Light Displays
Looking to experience old-fashioned fun with holiday sing-along? Join the heritage Christmas celebration at the Burnaby Village Museum. Amble along village streets and explore yuletide scenes. Stop by the Orientation Plaza and the Orchard for a show of white lights, umbrellas and elegant eco-sculpture ladies.
Create your own magical show with lights that change colours to sound at the village bandstand. There is craft for children, baking in the Farmhouse, visits with Father Christmas and more.
When: November 19 – December 09, 2016 (Monday-Friday:1:00 p.m. -5:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) | December 10, 2016 – January 02, 2017 (Daily: 1:00 p.m. – 9 p.m., Closed December 24 & 25)
Where: Burnaby Village Museum, 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
Christmas in the Village of Fort Langley
This special 3-day event is themed after Charles Dickens book, A Christmas Carol. Bring the family along and get the chance to win a Christmas Farmer’s Basket, featuring a Turkey and all the trimmings for a family Christmas Dinner.
When: December 16, 17 & 18 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Where: Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road, Langley
Home for Christmas
A Coastal church production, the story tells of what Christmas is really all about from a bold, fresh perspective. It features powerful music, humour and an inspiring Christmas message.
When: Saturday, December 17 @ 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 18 @ 10:30 p.m.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 649 Cambie St., Vancouver
Love Has Come
A Christmas musical for the whole family, filled with music, drama, dance and laughter. The story features Christmas in Vancouver’s Gastown district, circa 1926.
When: December 15 & 16 @ 7:00 p.m. | December 17 & 18 @ 3:00 p.m. | 7:00 p.m. | December 19 @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Wellingdon Church, 4812 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, FREE PARKING at BCIT
12 Nights of Christmas at Robson Square
Kick your holiday spirit into gear with musical performances by local bands and artists. Don’t miss the 50-foot Vancouver Christmas tree on your way to the stage.
When: December 13 – 24, 2016
Where: 800 Robson St., Vancouver
Gifts of Light: Songs in the Night
Produced by Tenth Church, it’s a performance of art and song, combining pop and classical styles – with a sprinkle of dance, comedy, and feeling.
When: December 09 – 11, 2016
Where: Tenth Church, 11 W 10th Ave., Vancouver
Community Choir Christmas Concert
Celebrate the holiday spirit choral presentations by the Vancouver’s Italian community.
When: December 13, 2016 @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan St., Vancouver
Enjoy a fun and magical season with friends, family and loved ones with free skating at Robson Square. Bring your own skates or rent for $4.00.
When: December 01, 2016 – February 14, 2017 (Sunday – Thursday : 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Fri – Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
Where: 800 Robson St., Vancouver
Christmas in Kerrisdale
The roster of events include free horse and carriage rides (December 03, 10, 17 & 23: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), Visits from gift-bearing Santa & His Elf, live entertainment and free skating on December 18 (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.)at the Kerrisdale Arena. Detailed schedule.
When: December 03 – 23, 2016
Where: Kerrisdale village ( W. 39th & 42nd block, between West Blvd. & Yew St.), Vancouver
EVENTS $8 AND UNDER
Festival of Lights
Experience this magical winter wonderland in its natural splendor – a perfect getaway with friends and family. Stroll through interactive themed zones. Watch the famous Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake. Lookout for roving Scandinavian gnomes and reindeer in the garden, light a candle at the Make-A-Wish candle grotto, pose with Santa, and much more!
Admission Fee: Starting from $3.25 to $7.25. Fee includes a free carousel ride.
When: December 01, 2016 to January 02, 2017
Where: Van Dusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak St, Vancouver
Take a ride on the ferris wheel. Delight in the colourful lights, festive music and warmth of the season inside the Conservatory.
Admission Fee: starting $3.25 to $6.75. FREE for children under age 4. Fee includes a ferris wheel ride, holiday activities, and parking.
When: December 09, 2016 – January 02, 2017. Opening daily: 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Bloedel Conservatory, Queen Elizabeth Park, off 33rd Ave. between Cambie and Main Streets, Vancouver
This street market tradition goes back to the late middle ages in German-speaking Europe. The market sells food, drink, and artisan crafts from open-air stalls, accompanied by daily live entertainment.
Admission Fee: $4 to $8, FREE for Children below age 7.
When: November 26 – December 31, 2016: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Closed: December 24 & 25)
Where: Jack Poole Plaza (at the Olympic Cauldron), downtown Vancouver