Christmas in Vancouver

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Vancouver!

It’s that time of year again. Lights are going up, trees are being decorated and snow is in the air – well, rain, if you live in downtown Vancouver. But while the city streets may still be wet, the slopes in the mountains are perfect skiing condition.

Tis’ the season for joy, family and the holiday spirit, so here are a few local events to get you in the holiday mood:

Ice Skating at Robson Square -open until end of February 2014

What better activity says winter like lacing up some skates and enjoying a beautiful outdoor rink? With Vancouver's mild weather it is almost near impossible to find an outdoor skating rink (except in higher elevations such as on Grouse Mountain), however, over twenty-five years ago the centre of downtown was transformed with the construction of the Robson Square Ice Rink. Here, visitors were able to rent skates and enjoy the winter atmosphere. After seventeen years of providing an outdoor ice skating facility in the winter months, the rink fell into disrepair until 2009 when it was reopened for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games which were held in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.
The Robson Square Ice Rink sits underneath Robson Street between Howe Street and Hornby Street and is an open air rink with glass domes to protect the ice from melting due to rain and warmer weather. Here, visitors can skate for free (aside from skate and helmet rentals) and enjoy the fun atmosphere.
The Robson Square Ice Skating Rink brings a fun winter activity to locals and visitors who can enjoy the rink and its many nearby activities. Whether lacing up some skates (bring your own or rent them) to take to the ice or just watching people skate under the domes, the Robson Square Ice Rink is the perfect winter activity for everyone!

Check their website here


Vancouver Christmas Parade - December 1 @ 1:00pm

Since 2003, Santa has ushered in the Christmas season by making his way through downtown Vancouver along with 60 bands, floats and community groups.

About 300,000 people come out to witness the jolly man's procession through the city.

The parade lasts about an hour and a half.

The 2013 Rogers Vancouver Santa Claus parade is Sunday, December 1st at 1 pm. Eager parade watchers start staking their spots with chairs and blankets as early as 10:30 am.
Tips for Visiting the Rogers Santa Claus Parade:
• Talk to your kids about what to do if they get lost: go to a policeman on duty or have a go-to meeting spot picked out.
• Take advantage of pre-parade activities such as face painting, gingerbread making and entertainment in front of the Art Gallery and a free skate at Robson Square after the parade.
• Leave the car at home or far away from downtown.
• Check the weather forecast before you head out.
• How to Dress: Layers - fleece, waterproof jackets with hoods (umbrellas block the view)and comfortable waterproof footwear
• Handy to have: blanket or chairs to hold your spot, tissues and a thermos of hot chocolate or warm soup.
The parade starts at West Georgia Street and Broughton (at 1:00 pm), travels east along West Georgia, turns north on Burrard and finishes at Burrard and Cordova.

The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain – November 23 – December 24

Head up to Grouse Mountain for some Christmas cheer this holiday season. One ticket will gain you access to all of the Peak of Christmas events, such as the SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, Santa’s Workshop, visit with Prancer (a real reindeer straight from the North Pole), Christmas crafts, sleigh rides and outdoor skating.

Special Peak of Christmas Events includes skating with world champion ice skaters, Breakfast with Santa & Christmas Lunch. These are separate ticketed events. See their website for more details.


Stanley Park Bright Lights – December 5, 2013 – January 5, 2014 (closed December 25)

Ride the Stanley Park miniature train through the over 3 million lights that decorate the park. Watch the festive animated displays, listen to your favourite holiday tunes, dine on popcorn or roasted nuts and warm up with some hot cocoa! Let the holiday season begin!

Visit the lights for a cause: Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years. Entrance to the plaza is by donation (you don’t need to purchase train tickets to see the lights).

Click here for more details!

VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights – December 11 – January 4 (closed December 25)

The VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights is one of the biggest and most beautiful displays of holiday lights that Vancouver has to offer. The entire garden (10 acres) is decorated with thousands of sparkling lights. VanDusen transforms itself from a serene botanical oasis into a winter wonderland. Millions of colourful lights are strewn around flower beds, trees, shrubs and decorations, combining to create an awesome spectacle. The core of the Festival is the Dancing Lights display on Livingstone Lake. Every half hour thousands of lights dance across the lake to your favourite holiday tunes.

Other events at the garden include Santa and some of his elves, the Gingerbread Wood, the Community Choir, the Make-A-Wish foundation shrine, Candy Cane Lane Express model train, and more!


Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge – November 30 – January 4

The Capilano Suspension bridge is all decked out for the holiday season and has a tall order this year; laying claim to the world’s tallest living Christmas tree! Standing 46.4m (152 feet), this tree is adorned in thousands of sparkling lights. The rainforest surrounding the Bridge, as well as the Cliffwalk, have also been decorated the beautiful, festive, lights. Other festive activities include decorating gingerbread cookies, sing-a-long carols, and glass ornament blowing.

Partial proceeds go to the BC Professional Fire Fights’ Burn Fund.

Click here for more details and events at the Capilano Suspension Bridge!