Christmas Events in Vancouver 2011

Vancouver's Rogers Santa Claus Parade is just one of the top Christmas events in Vancouver.

Incredible holiday light displays, Vancouver’s own 50-foot Christmas Tree, free outdoor ice skating, sleigh rides on Grouse Mountain, and the ancient tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice are just a few of the amazing events happening this December. Use this Top 15 list to find the perfect way to celebrate Christmas and the winter holidays in Vancouver. (And yes, many of these events are free!)

Top 15 Christmas & Holiday Events in Vancouver 2011

1. Vancouver Christmas & Holiday Craft MarketsNovember 24 – December 24, 2011
Shop for unique holiday gifts at Vancouver’s winter craft markets, including the German-style outdoor Vancouver Christmas Market.

2. Christmas at the Vancouver AquariumNovember 24, 2011 – January 2, 2012
The Vancouver Aquarium’s winter exhibit, Luminescence, examines how sea creatures create light, while the Aquarium’s traditional holiday attractions include Scuba Claus and a Christmas Tree switched on by two electric eels!

3. The Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain November 26 – December 24, 2011
Grouse Mountain takes advantage of its natural winter bounties to become the ideal holiday spot, complete with outdoor ice-skating, sleigh rides, real reindeer, live choral music, Santa, and more.

4. Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village MuseumNovember 26, 2011 – January 1, 2012 (closed December 24 & 25)
Enjoy a 1900’s-style Christmas at Burnaby’s adorable outdoor Village Museum, complete with festive decor, children’s theatre, and visits with Father Christmas.

5. Free Ice Skating at Robson SquareDecember 1, 2011 – February 29, 2012FREE
Skate for free in the heart of downtown Vancouver at Vancouver’s only outdoor ice rink. Skate rentals are $4; helmets and ice cleats are $2.

6. Christmas at Canada Place: Woodward’s WindowsDecember 1, 2011 – January 4, 2012FREE
Downtown Vancouver’s iconic Canada Place celebrates the holidays with the free-to-see Woodward’s Window Christmas displays.

7. Bright Nights in Stanley ParkDecember 2, 2011 – January 2, 2012 (closed December 25)
Kids and families will love riding Stanley Park’s Miniature Train through a winter wonderland of lights and holiday tableaux. Also includes live music and a visit to the “North Pole” featuring Santa and a parade of trees.

8. Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension BridgeDecember 2, 2011 – January 1, 2012
Vancouver’s iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge and its eponymous Park transform for the season with over 250,000 sparkling holiday lights.

9. Carol Ships Parade of LightsDecember 2 – 23, 2011
One of Vancouver’s most unique holiday attractions, the Carol Ships are brightly decorated boats that cruise Vancouver’s coastlines in a “Parade of Light.” Dine, dance and carol on board, or enjoy the beautiful Parade shoreside for free.

10. Christmas in KerrisdaleSaturdays, December 3 – 31, 2011FREE
Vancouver’s charming Kerrisdale neighbourhood village celebrates the season with free horse-and-carriage rides, photos with Santa, and roving string quartets.

11. Rogers Santa Claus ParadeSunday, December 4, 2011FREE
The 8th annual Santa Clause Parade is one of Vancouver’s top Christmas events, attracting over 300,000 spectators. The Parade through downtown Vancouver includes Santa, marching bands and festive floats. Parade route details here.

12. Vancouver Tree LightingDecember 9, 2011FREE
The 5th annual Vancouver Tree Lighting–a free party to light a 50-foot, Rockerfeller-style Christmas tree–has a new location for 2011: the Jack Poole Plaza at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The 2011 tree-lighting ceremony includes live performances by the Vancouver’s Children’s Choir and special guest appearances by the BC Lions, the Felines and Bro Jake from Rock 101.

13. Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical GardenDecember 9, 2011 – January 2, 2012 (closed December 25)
One of Vancouver’s most popular holiday attractions, the magical Festival of Light covers VanDusen Botanical Garden in twinkling holiday light displays that are definitely a sight to behold! Also includes Santa’s Workshop for kids.

14. Winter Solstice Lantern FestivalDecember 21, 2011FREE
Celebrate one of the world’s oldest traditions by welcoming back the light after the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. This free festival includes events in Chinatown, Yaletown, the Downtown East Side, Granville Island, and S.E. False Creek.

15. Holiday Theatre, Musicals & MusicVarious Dates, December 2011

16. O Christmas Tree Light Up CeremonyDecember 9, 2011 5:30 pm to 7:00 pmFREE
This free, family-friendly event will celebrate this year’s holidays – and the strong community spirit of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood – with a Christmas tree light up, free hot chocolate and candy canes courtesy of the Mount Pleasant BIA, a magical visit from Santa, and awesome entertainment by Kids Sing Chorus and J.J. Sunshine. Go to the south-west corner of Kingsway and Broadway – across the street from Kingsgate Mall.

17. Tree Chipping for Charity at Kingsgate MallJanuary 8, 2012 10:00 am – 4:00 pmBY DONATION
This anticipated, family-friendly event will celebrate this year’s holidays – and the strong community spirit of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood – with tree chipping by donation, and free cookies and hot chocolate courtesy of the Mount Pleasant BIA. Bring your beloved Christmas tree to this Mount Pleasant BIA community event and have it chipped up and safely disposed of while helping the children at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

Have a favourite Christmas event in Vancouver? Or want to add an event I’ve missed? Please share in the comments!

Tagged: , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

7 Responses to Christmas Events in Vancouver 2011

  1. We’re hosting a fabulous designer pop-up shop for your holiday shopping at 235B Cambie Street (at Cordova), featuring local-E designed fashion, leatherwork & jewelry.

    Please check out the website and see if you’d like to list us. We’d love you to :)

    Some of the designers involved are: Daub + Design, Mortar & Pestle, Dahlia Drive, Shibang Designs, Mara Gottler and Superfly Lullabies.

    Thanks! Have a great day!

  2. Pingback: Christmas Events in Vancouver 2011 | Inside Vancouver Blog | Portland Window Cleaning Professionals

  3. Pingback: Holidays getaways in Portland, Vancouver, Seattle

  4. It’s your last chance this year for artisanal baked goods…..Bring your re-useable containers to fill’er up on handmade Xmas baked goodies at the Baker’s Market in South Vancouver, this Sat. Dec. 10 from 11-3 pm at 60th & Fraser’s Moberly Centre for more info

    Free Parking, Free admission and Free tasting samples.

  5. Hi Dana, This is a helpful list. Thanks for mentioning Christmas at Canada Place and the Woodward’s Windows! We are arranging special photo tours with bloggers and inviting the public to tweet their photos to @canadaplace or #woodwardswindows so we can see people’s perspectives on this Vancouver tradition. Let us know if you are interested.

  6. Karen

    Bloedel Conservatory is holding its ‘Jewel Box of Lights’ for details.

  7. Pingback: Holidays getaways in Portland, Vancouver, Seattle | Northwest TripFinder