Van Dusen Festival of Lights
by JamesZ Flickr
Christmas time is here, and as with every year, Vancouver offers a myriad of events for you and your family. Take your children to visit Santa, see beautiful Christmas lights, and enjoy various cultural events — either in theatre or ballet. These are the most interesting events and venues to visit during this lovely period of the year in Vancouver.
Festival of Lights in VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDunsen Botanical garden’s (Map) tradition of twinkling holiday lights is a must-see for every family and couples in love. One of the most romantic sights in Christmas Vancouver, it is definitely one to behold!
The event holds from 4:30 to 9 pm every night, from December 9th, 2011 through January 2th, 2012, except December 25th when the Garden is closed. In case of extraordinary weather conditions, check with the Garden shop (604.257.8665) to confirm that the Festival of Lights hasn’t been closed for that particular day.
This event is ideal for children as well. Santa’s Living Room will be there for them from December 9th to 24th, with Santa appearances at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 P.M. each day, and Christmas Elves Sven and Jens appear nightly in the Centre Court. Your smallest ones might enjoy the Candy Cane Express as well.
If you’re interested in dancing, you should definitely check out Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake shows. Two shows repeat in sequence throughout the whole evening, starting at 4:30 P.M. But the cultural program doesn’t stop here. You’ll also be able to enjoy performances by Community Choirs.
This classic Christmas tale will have sugarplum fairies dancing around an opulent set depicting 20th Century Imperial Russia. Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable musical score will be played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. This ballet is simply a necessary part of a proper Christmas. Vancouverites enjoy it very much. This is quite apparent from the sold out signs hanging in front of every theatre, ballet, and opera house playing the piece on Christmas. You’ll be able to see The Nutcracker from December 15th to December 18th 2011 at The Centre In Vancouver For Performing Arts, performed by Goh Ballet, and from December 28th to December 31st at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, performed by Ballet BC.
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Celebrate one of the world’s oldest traditions by welcoming back the light after the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, on December 21th, for the 18th time in Vancouver. This free festival hosted by the Secret Lantern Society includes events in Chinatown, Yaletown, Granville Island, the Downtown East Side, and S.E. False Creek, full of lanterns, fire, singing, drumming, music, and dancing!
One part of this chain of events you mustn’t miss is called Labyrinth of Light. It has always been used to help people meditate all around the globe. The Labyrinth will consist of more than 700 pure beeswax candles. You’ll be able to visit it at the Britannia Community Centre (East Side) from 6:00 to 11:00 P.M. and at Creekside Community Centre (South East False Creek) from 6:00 to 11:00 P.M.
A Traditional Christmas by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
If you’re a fan of Christmas carols and music, tickets to this event are a must-have for you. This annual tradition is sold out every single year. This year’s evening will be hosted by Christopher Haze and conducted by the inimitable Pierre Simard. The UBC Opera Ensemble will perform along with the EnChor Choir. To place your order for a subscription package, visit Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s webpage or call VSO Customer Service at 604.876.3434.
Peak of Christmas — Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain is an ideal destination to get your family into the Christmas mood. You’ll find it not far North of Vancouver. It’s an ideal one-day trip, especially during the weekend.
- Reindeer Interpretive Sessions at the Habitat (2:00 & 4:00 P.M.): Visit a real reindeer and learn reindeer facts from the Wildlife Rangers.
- Live Entertainment (Weekdays 6:00-8:00 P.M./Weekends 1:00-3:00 P.M.): Listen to carollers and choirs celebrating the season.
- SOS Children’s Village Parade of Trees (December 2-24, 9:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.): Witness the breathtaking (especially in the evening) display of lights and decor. Vote for your favourite to win prizes.
- Mountaintop Sleigh Rides (9:00 A.M.-9:00 P.M., weather permitting): Huddle together under gently falling snow as you tour our mountain trails.
- Santa’s Workshop (12:00-8:00 P.M.): Meet Santa in person to share those holiday wishes.
- Christmas Favourites (9:30 A.M.-9:00 P.M., every half hour): Watch fun family Christmas movies on the big screen in our mountaintop theatre.
- Skate with Champions (December 3, 10, 17; 1:00-2:00 P.M. & 4:00-5:00 P.M.): Learn to skate with world champion Karen Magnussen and friends. Photos and autographs are available.
- Ice Show with Karen and Friends (December 17, 5:30-6:15 P.M.): Be wowed by Karen Magnussen and other top local and international skaters as they show off their skills.
- Outdoor Ice Skating (9:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.): Enjoy the crisp mountain air as you glide atop the magical, 8,000-square-foot skating pond.