Aurora Winter Festival via Facebook

9 Christmas Events in Vancouver & Area to Get You in the Festive Mood – Part 1

By Mary Ann Bell

The countdown to Christmas and the holidays is officially on and with only a month left before the big day, we thought we’d share some of the festive activities and events taking place in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region! From light festivals and magical winter wonderlands to old-fashioned celebrations and traditional markets, there’s sure to be an event to suit everyone! More events will be published December 13.

Aurora Winter Festival via Facebook

Aurora Winter Festival. Photo: Aurora Winter Festival Facebook

Aurora Winter Festival – Vancouver

Visit Santa’s Workshop, lace up your skates on a frozen river, slide down a tube park and marvel at captivating light displays, all in downtown Vancouver. Visitors can expect a magical North Pole winter experience at the all-new Aurora Winter Festival while they enjoy the market huts, food gardens, amusement rides, and live entertainment. The Aurora Winter Festival takes place at Concord Pacific Place until December 30. More information.

Spirit of Christmas – Squamish

Celebrate the Spirit of Christmas this year at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Experience the beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and explore the pristine outdoors by taking a walk or a snowshoe on illuminated trails, enjoy cocoa by the fire overlooking Howe Sound and a visit with Santa at the summit. Inside, enjoy the festivities at the decorated Summit Lodge where scheduled holiday performances and special seasonal events will take place from December 1 to January 6. More information.

VanDusen Gardens. Photo: Viv Lynch via Flickr

Van Dusen Gardens. Photo: Viv Lynch via Flickr

VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights – Vancouver

Experience the Festival of Lights, a magical winter wonderland with over one million lights decorating VanDusen Garden open from December 1 to January 6. Stroll with friends and family through interactive themed areas and enjoy the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, the illuminated carousel and the Make-A-Wish Candle Grotto. Have photos taken with Santa, savour holiday treats, and delight in much more! More information.

Fort Langley Christmas

Fort Langley Christmas. Photo: Fort Langley National Historic Site

Christmas at Fort Langley

Make memories with family in the traditional holiday atmosphere of Fort Langley National Historic Site. On December 15 join in a magical evening of carols, musical performances and a Dickens reading inside Fort Langley’s historic walls. The Christmas tree will be up and costumed interpreters will be giving guided, holiday-themed tours. And then, from December 21 to 23 and December 27 to 30, visit the Fort and roast chestnuts over an open fire while swapping stories with costumed guides before you take a guided tour. And be sure to bring your camera to snap family photos around the site. More information.

Vancouver Christmas Market. Photo: greenguavas via Flickr

Vancouver Christmas Market. Photo: greenguavas via Flickr

Vancouver Christmas Market

Experience the charm of an outdoor German Christmas festival in the heart of the city. Open now to December 24, rows of wooden huts decorated with pine branches and sparkling white lights set the scene for this festive market and welcoming vendors tempt with offers of traditional German Christmas decorations, handmade gifts and seasonal snacks. New for 2018 includes the Lovers Light Lane, a 20-foot tunnel adorned with 10,000 lights, and the Kinder Kraft Igloo with a market-wide Christmas scavenger hunt and free arts and crafts. More information.

White Rock Christmas Sailpast

The International Yacht Club is pleased to announce that the annual Christmas Light Parade and Sail Past will take place on Saturday, December 1! The boats will turn on their lights at 5:30pm in front of the White Rock pier. They’ll make 2 passes and will perform pirouettes (360 degree turns) for a spectacular show! The best viewing is at the end of the pier, so grab a hot chocolate and get there early to watch this festive nautical parade. More information.

Carol Ships. Photo: Delta Optimist

Carol Ships. Photo: Delta Optimist

Carol Ships Parade of Lights

For the past 50 years; Carol Ships have been a Vancouver holiday tradition. Almost every night between December 1 and December 23 a flotilla of brightly lit boats will cruise the Metro Vancouver coastline much to the delight of shore side onlookers. The best opportunities for watching from shore are on designated parade nights – Dec 7 & 8, and Dec 14 & 15 – and many communities will put on shore side celebrations at key locations on the route. More information.

Heritage Christmas at Stewart Farm – Surrey

Start a family tradition this year with a visit to an old-fashioned Christmas at the historic Stewart Farm in Surrey. Sing along with classic carols played on the piano; indulge in sweet Victorian treats baked in the woodstove, and craft old-time Christmas décor for your tree. Heritage Christmas runs from December 1 – 30. More information.

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

Photo: Telus Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

Kick off the holiday season on December 2, with return of the 2018 Telus Vancouver Santa Claus Parade. The parade takes place in downtown Vancouver and the streets will be lined with almost 300,000 people waiting to get a glimpse of the man in red! The parade includes marching bands, dance troupes, festive floats and community groups. The parade is a free event, although spectators are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food or money donation benefiting the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Starting at 10am (the parade starts at noon) head to the Christmas Square in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery for family-friendly entertainment. More information.

Watch for Christmas Events Round Up Part 2 December 13.

Share your BC travel, events and activity photos using hashtag #travelinbc

Published: November 27, 2018

Mary Ann Bell

About the Author

As a tourism marketer and community manager for some of British Columbia’s most spectacular destinations, Mary Ann Bell spends her days writing, tweeting and posting! When she’s not online, Mary Ann can be found exploring Vancouver’s North Shore trails with her family and her camera, and trying new restaurants in the hunt for the best taco in Metro Vancouver.

1 thought on “9 Christmas Events in Vancouver & Area to Get You in the Festive Mood – Part 1”

  1. Douglas Buchanan says:

    Hi Mary Ann
    Only a short ferry ride & a 15 drive brings you to my hometown where tonight it is Ladysmith festival of lights . We normally have over 20,000 spectators to our little town of 5,000. People come from far away as Calgary & Edmonton to see it….Quite spectacular Thanks

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