I’m starting up a new monthly blog feature: a short roundup of things to do in Vancouver every month, highlighting some of my favourite events and activities in the Vancouver region that I feel are worthy of putting on your radar. Yes, January might be a crappy month for its rain, cold, and darkness, but if […]
In no particular order, I have set out five Christmas (aka Holiday) attractions if you’re visiting British Columbia this festive season.
This is a very popular attraction in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Enjoy the train ride through the forest decorated with two million twinkling lights, and see the animated displays, listen to holiday sounds as you enjoy hot chocolate, fresh popcorn and roasted chestnuts.
Meeting Santa on top of Grouse Mountain is a highlight of many a kids Christmas. Add the chance to ice skate and meet Santa’s reindeer and you have a wonderful experience.
These beautiful gardens are transformed with thousands of lights and Christmas displays. The outdoor skating rink is another attraction at this time of year.
Van Dusen Festival of Lights
One of Vancouver’s best gardens hosts this festival of lights. Santa is there, of course, but also the elves and a ginger bread walk. Lots to eat and enjoy.
An outdoor market, with a traditional German theme. Wander around and enjoy the displays of lights, ornaments, gifts and food.
I have not mentioned all the great outdoor activities that continue throughout the winter. Whistler, Big White, Mount Washington, and all our other ski resorts are great ways to spend the holiday season. Many people love to go skiing on Christmas Day!
West Vancouver prides itself on it’s Arts and last weekend was the start of it’s annual Harmony Arts festival. This is one of those events that really show the community at it’s best.
Firstly this was an event driven by local artists. The stalls set out along the edge of John Lawson park in Ambleside featured the work of painters, jewellery makers, potters, knitters, cooks and sculptors. Not all of them came from West Vancouver itself, but they were locals.
The people coming to admire, shop and chat were locals and visitors alike. It was an amiable amble in the hot sunshine.
West Vancouver has deliberately tried to open up the water for community events and this is just the sort of event that proves they were right to do this. What better way to listen to the concerts than by the water, looking out toward the Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park.
Last weekend Vancouver had a birthday celebration in Stanley Park. Well a major milestone like your city reaching the ripe old age of 125 needs to be marked.
Vancouver put on three days of family oriented events, featuring a lot of local musicians. This is one of those events that Vancouver does so well.
Stanley Park is a perfect location too. You can look across the water at the glass towers of Vancouver’s skyline and the sails of Canada Place, while sitting on the grass and listening to the music.
Some elements were typical of Vancouver. We were encouraged to use public transit, or bikes. There was a free shuttle bus from Canada Place to and from Stanley Park. The wait for this was quite long, so many people ended up walking or getting a cab. Those who did drive were rewarded by spending a lot of time in the resulting traffic jams.
Another Vancouver element was the recycling bins set up all around the stages. These were there to encourage, and educate you, into sorting your recycling appropriately. There were volunteers on hand to help you dispose of your trash in the right bin. They were needed as it was pretty confusing!
The food concessions and giveaways were there to make sure that there was a lot of material available for later disposal in the recycling centres. We ate at the mexican concession, drawn to it by its popularity as much as anything.
There were beer gardens set up. These are fenced off and patrolled by security guards. You needed two pieces of ID to get in and were only permitted two drinks each. Vancouver obviously wanted to ensure drinking was done responsibly.
The overall feel of the event, from our visit on the Friday evening, was of a summer festival. People were chatting, listening to the music, checking out the concession stands and scoring as much free stuff as they could.
Walking back to the Seabus along the seawall, we were reminded of how easy life is in this beautiful city.