Best Kissing Spots at Festival of Lights: Romance at VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Flickr - Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

VanDusen Flickr – Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

The first time my boyfriend (“S”) and I kissed was after watching an episode of Game of Thrones in my apartment about two months after our initial date (it was a long wait since he was living in Fort McMurray at the time). Call me old fashioned, but in this age of hyper-speed Tindering and hooking-up, I still believe in the romance of the first kiss.

During a recent visit with S to the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden, as we wandered together around the many pathways, I got to thinking about first kisses and Christmas lights. Why are first kisses so important? And why do we love things that sparkle so much?

Of course, I turned to Google for the answers. Apparently, in a research study published last year, we are drawn to shiny things because they remind us of water, a fundamental precious resource (we really are that primitive). First kisses trigger a release of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and good ol’ adrenaline. Plus, we get close enough to smell and taste the other person in order to determine if they’re just right for us. In short, we as humans are wondrously drawn to – even physically respond to – what’s rare and precious.

And so, put over a million sparkly lights in one garden, plus the person you’re attracted to, and voilà, instant, proven romance. I can attest to this since I felt more googly-eyed for S after our VanDusen adventure. For those of you who still haven’t found the courage to go for that first kiss (or if you’re gearing for your fifth or ten thousandth kiss), I highly recommend a visit to the Festival of Lights. Here are just some of the many spots where that initial smooch could happen:

1. Lover’s Lookout

VanDusen Flickr - Photo Credit: Raymond Chan

VanDusen Flickr – Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

One of my favourite spots is in the gazebo overlooking Heather pond. In a past visit a few years ago, I actually witnessed a touching wedding proposal at this romantic location. It was made on bended knee, and a mitten had to be removed for the ring. If you manage to steal a quiet moment here, that first kiss might just materialize.

2. Make-A-Wish Candle Grotto

VanDusen Flickr - Photo Credit: Raymond Chan

VanDusen Flickr – Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

This lovely spot raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which transforms the dreams of children with life-threatening medical conditions, into reality. Not only is it a very worthy cause, but there’s also something incredibly magical to the grotto as well. You give your donation and then get to light a candle (making a wish as you do so) and have it placed in a special spot in the grotto. You and your date can seal your candle lighting with a sweet kiss.

3. Jardins de Paris

Provided by VanDusen Botanical Garden

Sourced from VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen has transported a bit of the romance of Paris to Vancouver with their Jardins de Paris exhibit in the Formal Rose Garden. Just think: your first kiss could happen in front of a mini Eiffel Tower. If you’re feeling brave, take a selfie of your smooch (maybe not the first one) and share it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtag #JardinsdeParis. You and your new honey could win two tickets to Paris, courtesy of YVR and Air France.

4. Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake

VanDusen Flickr - Photo Credit: Raymond Chan

VanDusen Flickr – Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

Every 20 minutes, starting at 4:40pm, there’s a five-minute light show, choreographed to festive music. Since you’ll be pausing for a bit in the chill, it’s the perfect opportunity to cuddle up together and enjoy the twinkly spectacle. Everyone else will be so wrapped up in the flashing lights that they won’t notice a peck (or two).

5. Basically, everywhere.

VanDusen Flickr - Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

VanDusen Flickr – Photo Credit: Raymond Chan, Photomedia

There really isn’t a spot at the Festival of Lights that isn’t ideal for a first kiss. The whole place shimmers, you have to hold hands and lean into each other to stay warm, and there are so many bonding activities to do (eg the new interactive Light Wave display; visiting the electric toy train; the Scandinavian gnome show; frames, sets, and selfie spots #VanDusenFOL).

The best first kisses occur spontaneously when you’re both caught up in the moment. And if that moment just happens to be in a sparkly winter wonderland, all the better. At least you won’t have to say your first kiss happened after an episode of Game of Thrones.

Schedule & Tickets

The Festival of Lights runs from now until December 31, 2015, except December 25th when the Garden is closed. You can buy tickets in advance on-line at Tickets Tonight or at the VanDusen Visitor Centre from 10am to 3pm. Tickets are also available at the gate. Adults (19-64) are $16; 
seniors (65+) and youth (13-18) are $12; children (3-12) are $9
; children 2 years and under are free
; families (2 adults + 2 children age 18 and under) are $36.

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