During the month of December, Vancouver averages just 8.5 hours of daylight per day. But don’t let the darkness get you down. One surefire way to stave off seasonal affective disorder is by visiting some of the brilliant holiday light displays around town.
1) Bright Nights in Stanley Park: An estimated two million twinkling lights are hung in Stanley Park for this kid-friendly seasonal favourite, now in its 14th year. The display is centred around the miniature train line, which chugs deep into a holiday fantasy-land, complete with carolers and animated and live action. This year, there’s also a North Pole exhibit, featuring Santa and a parade of trees. Runs through Jan. 2. Free to look; $9 adults, $6 kids to ride the train.
2) Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden: Another mega display, VanDusen‘s set-up features 1.4 million lights and takes months to prepare. The highlight, as usual, are the Dancing Lights: a choreographed Christmas light show to Christmas music staged around Livingstone Lake. Plus, don’t miss the quirky Scandinavian gnomes, Svend and Jens. Runs through Jan. 2. $13.50 adults; $10 seniors and teens; $7.50 kids 3-12.
3) Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge: The 136-meter-long (446 feet) suspension bridge is festooned with thousands and thousands of multi-coloured lights for the holidays. At dusk, with a little snow on the tree tops, it’s a sight to behold. New this year, the Cliffwalk – the park’s hair-raising cliffside walkway – will also be lit up and feature a display of dancing lights. Runs through Jan. 1. $25 adults; $5 kids.
4) Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour with Vancouver Trolley: This isn’t so much a light display as a neat way to see the great displays around town. Hop on the trolley for a three-hour tour that stops at Stanley Park’s Bright Nights and VanDusen’s Festival of Lights. Along the way, you can belt out karaoke Christmas tunes on the onboard karaoke machine. Dec. 9-Dec. 24. $38 adults; $35 seniors and students; $25 kids 4 and up (includes admission to displays).
5) Lights of Hope at St. Paul’s Hospital: This display isn’t quite as big as some of the others, but it’s moving nonetheless. The facade of the hospital has been covered with a wall of decorations that’s up to six-stories high. Around 10 kilometers of lights were used in the massive project – enough to stretch the entire length of the seawall. In the center of the display, more then 130, rainbow-coloured stars shine into the night. Runs through Jan. 9. Free.
Did I miss any other displays? What’s your personal favourite?
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