Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling? From real live reindeer, to ice carving, to Christmas karaoke, Vancouver has something under the tree for everyone this year. Here’s what’s happening this holiday season:
Light up the Village at Park Royal | November 18
Kick off your Christmas shopping at the Village at Park Royal on November 18 (5:30 – 8pm) at Light Up the Village. Take in the sparkling lights, dance and sing along to live holiday entertainment, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, Lindt truffles and more festive treats. Don’t miss an exclusive sneak peak of the big man himself, when Santa arrives at 6:30pm. Learn more about Park Royal’s holiday events here.
Vancouver TheatreSports League's The Christmas Queen | November 23 – December 23
The Christmas Queen, in all her nasty glory, returns this holiday season to the Vancouver TheatreSports stage with the latest installment in the series, Christmas Queen 3 – The Bachelorette Edition. This episode of The Christmas Queen saga sees HRM (Her Royal Meanness) as the star of her own reality show. She insists that the finale be filmed and aired live on Christmas Eve and her poor, brow-beaten director Bob Matchit can’t talk her out of it. Not only will his Christmas be ruined but her plan is to ruin the Christmas of all her suitors - Elf on a Shelf, Jack Frost, Scrooge, The Grinch and even Santa himself. Catch The Christmas Queen at the Improv Centre on Granville Island, Wednesday through Saturday nights at 7:30 pm from November 23 through December 23.
Christmas at FlyOver Canada | November 24 – January 2
FlyOver Canada will transform into a magical winter wonderland this Christmas season. Guests will have fun helping Santa Claus search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across Canada and on to the North Pole. The complete experience will last between 20 – 25 minutes and include an extended holiday edition of FlyOver Canada that leads guests on to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Some may even be able to catch the scent of Mrs. Claus’ baking as they swoop over her gingerbread factory! For tickets and more information, visit www.flyovercanada.com.
The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain | November 25 – January 2
Take a journey to Vancouver’s North Pole and celebrate Grouse Mountain’s annual Peak of Christmas. Atop the Mountain, guests can enjoy a winter wonderland full of holiday activities, such as Reindeer Ranger Talks, ice skating under the stars, and the Gingerbread village full of sweet creations. Don't miss the Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake: wander amongst snow-dusted fir and spruce where light displays and lanterns twinkle overhead. Explore a mountain of magic at this year’s Peak of Christmas celebration, access included with your Season Pass or Alpine Experience ticket.
CandyTown in Yaletown | November 26
On November 26, Yaletown’s Mainland Street will transform into CandyTown for the fifth annual free Christmas festival. Local artisans and spirited street performers will flood the street and festive music will fill the air. Visit Santa and the Ice Queen, watch an ice carving demonstration, and try your hand at candy making. CandyTown runs from 12pm to 7pm.
The Vancouver Trolley Company’s Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour | December 1 – 29
Hop aboard The Vancouver Trolley Co.’s festively decorated trolleys equipped with karaoke machines and sing your heart out to classic Christmas carols as you cruise by the Bright Nights Christmas light display in Stanley Park and Van Dusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights. Trolleys depart from Canada Place at 6:30pm every evening from December 1 through 29 (except for Christmas Day). A donation to the Burn Fund is included with each ticket on the Karaoke Christmas Lights Trolley tour.
Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting at Robson Square | December 2
Back for its 10th year, the Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting takes place on December 2 at Robson Square. Watch four spectacular holiday trees – one of which is 50 feet tall – illuminate with sparkle and shine. This free family-friendly event features live entertainment, free cookies and hot chocolate, local food trucks and kid-friendly activities. Give back to the community through the Buy a Bulb program with proceeds to the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.
Goh Ballet’s Iconic The Nutcracker | December 15 - 20
One of British Columbia’s most iconic traditions graces the stage once again this holiday season as Goh Ballet’s The Nutcracker returns to The Centre in Vancouver for a limited run from December 15th to 20th, 2016. The Nutcracker will feature performances by internationally renowned principal dancers from the prestigious National Ballet of Canada, Jurgita Dronina and Guillaume Côté, performing together as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier Prince. Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra will provide live musical accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s world-renowned Nutcracker Suite.
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival | December 21
Honouring many cultural traditions, the Secret Lantern Society’s annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival illuminates the darkest night of the year with lanterns, fire, singing, drumming, music and dancing. The festival is a free community event with a glowing constellation of lanterns shining in four Vancouver neighbourhoods: Yaletown, Granville Island, Strathcona & Chinatown. The event begins at 6pm with lantern processions in each neighbourhood followed by multicultural performances and activities in a variety of indoor venues. Learn more here.
Where to Stay:
Naught & Nice Holiday Package at The Loden Hotel | December 1 – 31
With both Naughty & Nice treats, and a donation to a local charity, this seasonal package will put a smile on the face of even the crankiest Grinch. Guests enjoy a “naughty” swig of locally-made Liberty Distillery whiskey, balanced by a “nice” healthy Melu Cold Pressed Juice. Also included is an edible “Lump of Coal” made by Chocolate Arts, a selection of favourite holiday movies, and the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol for guests to take home. In the giving spirit of the holiday season, $10 from each package will be donated on the guest’s behalf to support the Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting at Robson Square. The Naughty & Nice package is available December 1-31; rates begin at $399 per night. Call 1-877-225-6336 or book online here.
Christmas Package at Wedgewood Hotel & Spa | December 24 – 26
Treat yourself to Wedgewood Hotel & Spa's luxurious Christmas Packages on either December 24 & 25 or December 25 & 26 - you deserve it! Enjoy a welcome amenity of seasonal treats and a five-course gourmet Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day, next to the roaring fireplace in Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge. Rates start at $696. Call 1-800-663-0666 or book online here.