Vancouver’s Floating Christmas Party Parade is Back – Carol Ships Start Dec. 4

Photo credit: Vince Alongi | Flickr

Photo credit: Vince Alongi | Flickr

It’s a holiday parade at sea … and you can climb aboard.

The Carol Ships Parade of Lights, a unique Vancouver tradition that sees decorated party boats take to the waters around the city, returns starting Dec. 4.

The event began innocently enough more than 50 years ago with a single boat decorated with a few lights. Today, more than 30,000 passengers take to the high seas each year in a stunning visual spectacle that features more than 50 vessels decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights.   Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Floating Christmas Party Parade is Back – Carol Ships Start Dec. 4

Vancouver’s Weirdest Holiday Theatre Tradition Returns: Christmas Queen 2

Image from Vancouver TheatreSports League

Image from Vancouver TheatreSports League

Ho ho … ha? A new improv comedy show in Vancouver is promising to put an off-beat, off-kilter and laugh-out-loud funny spin on holiday theatre this Christmas season.

From the creative minds at Vancouver TheatreSports League comes Christmas Queen 2 – You Better Watch Out, on through Dec. 20 at the Improv Centre on Granville Island. This is the second incarnation of the Christmas Queen saga and has to rank among the weirdest, edgiest and most heartwarming holiday fare on offer in Vancouver this year.

The show is inspired by the venerable tradition of British pantomime or panto. This uniquely irreverent form of theatre is typically performed during the holidays and features plenty of characters in drag, lots of physical humour, plenty of ribald jokes and innuendo, some singing and, of course, a healthy dose of audience participation.   Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Weirdest Holiday Theatre Tradition Returns: Christmas Queen 2

Top Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver, 2015 Edition

Photo credit: janheuninck | Flickr

Photo credit: janheuninck | Flickr

There’s snow on the mountains, Christmas music is blaring in every mall and Starbucks has brought out its bright red cups: It’s officially holiday season in Vancouver.

That also means that the city’s streets, trees, parks and buildings are once again aglow with millions of twinkling Christmas lights. Here’s a peek at the can’t-miss holiday light displays in Vancouver this season.

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden: Vancouver’s 55-acre botanical garden is the setting for this elegant display, with millions of twinkling lights strung on trees above a central reflecting pond. Also enjoy gnome performances, photos with Santa and more. Dec. 1-Dec. 31; adults $16, youth 13-18 $12, kids 3-12 $9. Note: Tickets include free admission to Enchanted Nights at the nearby Bloedel Conservatory.  Continue reading:
Top Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver, 2015 Edition

Dramatic Redesign Proposed for Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza

An artist's rendering of the proposal

An artist’s rendering of the proposal

The plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery has always been a popular gathering place in Vancouver … but never an especially convenient one.

For starters, there’s a big fountain in the middle of it that eats up lots of the available space. Scraggly trees offer some leaf cover but create a claustrophobic feeling. And then there’s all that bark mulch on the ground, which no one has ever liked.

These shortcomings and more are addressed in a new plaza redesign proposal currently being considered by the city. The plan, submitted by Nick Milkovitch Architects, calls for completely opening up the plaza and creating an airy, European-style public setting. It’s minimal, straightforward and quite possibly exactly what the site needs.  Continue reading:
Dramatic Redesign Proposed for Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza

Free Ice Skating in Downtown Vancouver: Robson Square Rink Opens Dec 1

Photo credit: JWPhotowerks | Flickr

Photo credit: JWPhotowerks | Flickr

Time to lace up those skates. The Robson Square Ice Rink reopens for its 2015-2016 season on Dec. 1. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the rink offers covered ice skating, complete with holiday music and a concession stand with hot chocolate and other warm drinks.

The best part: It’s free if you bring your own skates. Skate rentals will set you back just $4. How’s that for a holiday entertainment deal.

Just how much of a bargain is that? Consider that rates at New York’s famous Rockefeller Plaza ice rink start at $25 a person, plus another $12 for skate rentals.  Continue reading:
Free Ice Skating in Downtown Vancouver: Robson Square Rink Opens Dec 1

Real reindeer, 8000-sq-ft skating pond and special sliding zone: Peak of Christmas returning to Vancouver

Photo sourced from grousemountain.com

Photo sourced from grousemountain.com

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at least on Grouse Mountain.

Frosted white with a fresh dump of snow, Grouse is set to launch its annual Peak of Christmas festivities, Nov. 27. Each year, the ski mountain is transformed into a scene straight from the North Pole, where you can rub noses with real reindeer, stroll through an alpine forest bedecked with lights, and even get some face time with the big man in red himself.

The mile-long ascent aboard Grouse’s Skyride aerial tram brings guests to the base, more than 300 metres above the city of Vancouver. Along the way, the scenery changes from Pacific rainforest to winter wonderland, as you skim over the tops of spruce and fir heavy with snow. Continue reading:
Real reindeer, 8000-sq-ft skating pond and special sliding zone: Peak of Christmas returning to Vancouver

Section of Stanley Park Seawall Closed for Repairs from Storm Damage

22674460238_51cd8a2cba_kStanley Park seawall lovers may need to find an alternate walking and biking route … at least for the next few weeks.

A stretch of Vancouver’s popular 9-kilometre seawall will be closed for repairs after crews discovered a partial collapse of a small section this week. The closure will affect the area extending from Lions Gate Bridge to Third Beach.

A flurry of recent storms – with high wind and strong waves – is being blamed for the damage. The area affected is exposed directly to the open ocean and suffers the brunt of abuse during surges.

This isn’t the first seawall closure in recent years. Last November, a large section of the Stanley Park seawall between English Bay and Lumbermen’s Arch was also closed because of damage from waves and logs.

Part of the challenge is that construction on the seawall began all the way back in 1917. Continue reading:
Section of Stanley Park Seawall Closed for Repairs from Storm Damage