Looking for holiday events in Metro Vancouver? Every year, the Metro Vancouver area hosts SO many amazing holiday events for families! This year is a bit different but there are still amazing attractions that have put strict protocols in place to allow families to create holiday memories and stay safe. We have rounded up some of our favourites for this most unusual of years and look forward to maintaining some annual family traditions in modified form! Our Holiday Events Guide, presented by Whole Foods Market, is out early to give you lots of time to consider your options. And to kick off some holiday cheer in November, you’re invited to our online Holiday Facebook Party on November 19th at 8:00 pm PST!
At this year’s Holiday Facebook Party (open only to BC residents), we’re giving away over $3,000 in prizes from the businesses featured in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide, plus passes from select holiday attractions featured in this Holiday Events Guide, and gift cards for holiday meals to go and gourmet gift baskets from Whole Foods Market! To RSVP for the party, just visit our HOLIDAY FACEBOOK PARTY event page and click “GOING”. Then join us online on that Facebook Event page on November 19th at 8 pm PST for your chance to win.
FAMILY HOLIDAY EVENTS
IN METRO VANCOUVER
LIGHTS TO THE LODGE
AT CYPRESS MOUNTAIN
We love spending time in a snowy forest on a winter evening! And this is certainly the year to take your holiday activities outside as much as possible. Lights to the Lodge at Cypress Mountain Nordic Area is a safe and family-friendly one-kilometre snowshoe trek to Hollyburn Lodge along a self-guided trail through the enchanting Old Growth Forest. The magical trail is lit with LED lights strung sustainably through the ancient Cedar, Fir and Hemlock forest. Hollyburn Lodge is nestled at the historic First Lake site and has been serving delicious food and drink for almost 100 years. After enjoying the warmth of the Lodge, you can snowshoe back to the base area along a return trail also with feature lighting. Snowshoe rentals are available for all sizes.
Are you suddenly in charge of cooking the turkey and not quite sure what to do? Or maybe you are looking to make a major change this year to drastically reduce your stress over the holidays. Make your Magic. This year we’re all about taking the stress off during the holidays so that we can focus on making magical memories with family. For us, this means choosing meal-to-go options from Whole Foods Market so that everyone, including “The Cook” has a relaxed and enjoyable day with the chance to really engage with loved ones. From holiday appetizers and entrees to sides & desserts, they have everything we need to make our holiday a memorable one. Can’t wait to reserve our holiday meal from Whole Foods Market online starting December 1st!
Fly like Santa this Christmas on a magical flight across Canada! After meeting some of Santa’s elves, Chestnut and Pinecone, you’ll join them as they take flight across Canada looking for their fellow elves. You may even get a sneak peek of Santa’s Workshop as you soar over the North Pole. The complete FlyOver Canada Christmas experience includes a Winter Wonderland themed pre-show, FlyOver Canada – a thrilling 8-minute flight ride experience across Canada, and an extended, animated final scene over Santa’s magical North Pole. This ride is a wonderful experience throughout the year but is extra magical at Christmas. Children must be at least 40″ tall to ride! Please note that masks are mandatory and distancing measures mean that space is limited. FlyOver Canada Christmas has become an annual family tradition in our home, and our kids can’t wait to keep that tradition alive this year!
Named one of the most spectacular holiday lights displays in the world, Canyon Lights is set to dazzle and amaze, high above the forest floor. The suspension bridge, rainforest and Capilano River are ablaze with lights, Treetops Adventure (the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world) is lit from top to bottom, the “Arc de Lumina” light tunnel mesmerizes on Cliffwalk, while the Snowy Owl Prowl scavenger hunt entertains the whole family. A tradition for many Metro Vancouver families, Canyon Lights looks forward to welcoming back guests with a few operational changes to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff in a COVID world. Tickets and annual passes will only be available for pre-purchase online for a specific date and time to limit contact upon entry and reduce capacity. BC Annual Pass holders will also be required to reserve their time online prior to visiting. The first phase of tickets and timed entry bookings go on sale November 3rd. Note that masks are mandatory in the park.
IN STANLEY PARK
Shhh! Did you hear that? It sounds like a train whistle… Must be because #BrightNightsYVR is on its way back to the Stanley Park Railway in Vancouver! While things will be a little scaled back this year, they’re working hard to make this family holiday tradition happen in the safest way possible. We couldn’t be more thrilled, as this has certainly become one of our most memorable annual family traditions in Vancouver, and we’re excited to keep that tradition alive! More details to come, but you can count on the train to arrive on November 26, running until January 1. The Bright Nights team can’t wait to welcome you!
VanDusen Festival of Lights
VanDusen Festival of Lights is a magical winter wonderland with more than one million lights decorating 10 acres of VanDusen Botanical Gardens. Reimagined for 2020, visitors will have the opportunity to take in the festival and experience the wonder of the winter season in a magical outdoor garden setting with themed areas, unique light features, and holiday music. A new one-way path will take visitors through a memorable holiday experience with ample outdoor space for attendees to physically distance from others. VanDusen Botanical Garden staff have worked closely with Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Officer to ensure the event can be experienced safely.
Lumiere is where light, art and community connect. Lumiere 2020 will focus on beautiful light art pieces that can be enjoyed safely at a distance via a self-guided experience. In order to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, the duration of the event has been extended over the month of November and will be in multiple outdoor locations in Vancouver’s West End. This year’s event will showcase seven stunning art installations in two iconic sites: English Bay and Jim Deva Plaza + Bute. To maintain safety procedures and ensure physical distancing, there will not be any street performers & musicians or other programming as in previous years. This offers a relaxed & festive family outing to get you in the holiday spirit during the month of November!
Buckle up for this safe, holiday experience that you can enjoy with your family from the warmth of your car along a 2-km route. You will be transported through nine enchanted lands filled with glowing lights in your mission to discover Santa, with special characters and festive performers to help you along your way. The Merry & Bright Forest will be lit up in dazzling colours with the musical sounds of your favourite Christmas songs so you can join in on the CAROL-oke. In Polar North, you’ll feel the chill of the iceberg cave, igloos, polar bears, seals, and penguins. The Teddy Bear Brigade will bring Dreamland to life along with a magical Pegasus and Unicorn. The 50-foot purple Christmas tree will show you the way to Santa and his dancing elves in Candy Cane Lane.
Glow Maple Ridge
The City of Maple Ridge is hosting Glow Maple Ridge, an annual holiday event that celebrates the season by lighting up the downtown core and turning Maple Ridge into a winter wonderland. Memorial Peace Park will be decked out with illuminated trees, a light tunnel, giant light ornaments, a glowing bandstand and much more. Participating downtown businesses will also be lighting up and decorating their storefronts in the “Old Fashioned Christmas village” theme to help add to the Glow Maple Ridge experience. So head on down, take in some holiday magic, experience some great entertainment, take a selfie in front of one of our amazing light displays, and be sure to tag it with #glowmapleridge
GLOW GARDENS DRIVE-THRU
COVID-19 may keep us socially-distanced, but Christmas Glow is determined to bring the community together and light up the Fraser Valley for the holiday season! The Glow Elves have created a brand new, COVID-friendly experience in Langley, back at the original home of Glow! Their drive-through, touchless light journey will take you through dazzling landscapes created by nearly a million lights. Take a leisurely 15-minute cruise into an illuminated wonderland that brings Christmas dreams to life. Note: The Glow event at the GVZoo has been cancelled, and all guests who purchased tickets will receive an automatic 100% refund.
SOCIAL DISTANCE WITH SANTA
BRITANNIA MINE MUSEUM
Cue the holiday magic! Make memories along the Sea-to-Sky this holiday season with Britannia Mine Museum. Join Santa as he waits inside his workshop for an intimate, yet safe, experience. Every family will receive a picture with Santa, and bookings include a hot chocolate and a gingerbread cookie, to keep everyone warm and happy. The Museum has worked hard to create an event that adheres to COVID safety procedures, but still gives kids the chance to let Santa know what’s on their Christmas list. Santa will be masked, and there will be plexiglass separating him from guests. Santa’s Mailbox will also be on-site, and children are invited to bring in their letters addressed to Santa, and we will make sure they make it to the North Pole. Please note that strict timing and site capacity limits mean that bookings are essential. $25 for up to 5 people, and $5 per additional person. Tickets go on sale on November 20th!
Dates: Dec 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020
Connect: Facebook; Instagram
Vallea Lumina is a multimedia experience that takes place in the forest at the base of Cougar Mountain, a 10-minute drive north of Whistler Village. Between the trees, in the shadow of mountains, legends say there’s a hidden valley where stardust falls from the sky, filling all living things with its pure light. It’s a place that’s filled with unexpected enchantment. There’s a way to get there, but few know how to find it. Join an evening excursion and follow cryptic radio transmissions and the lingering traces of two long-ago hikers to find the scenic trailhead where the real journey begins…This pathway leads toward a place filled with beauty, and proof that the legends of Whistler are true. We’ve experienced their summertime adventure as adults and can’t wait to visit with our kids this holiday season!
Born & raised in Vancouver, and co-founder of Healthy Family Media and the Healthy Family Expo, Angela is a reformed divorce lawyer turned healthy family champion! By day, she thrives on connecting conscious brands with busy Vancouver families. By night, you’ll find her wrangling two feisty daughters, choosing between instant pot or healthy freezer meals for dinner, and singing with MomChoir. She especially loves sharing her favourite family-friendly finds with other Lower Mainland parents!