Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver for 2012

Photo credit: Capilano Suspension Bridge

Now that we’ve made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s nothing left to do but admit it: Holiday season is officially here.

Over the next month, expect to see the streets, parks and even ships of Vancouver come alive with millions of multicoloured lights in celebration of the season.  Here are the top five holiday light displays around town:

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical GardenEvery year, the stately botanical garden in the heart of Vancouver is decorated with thousands of strings of coloured lights.  The centrepiece is a “dancing lights” display over Livingstone Lake, a choreographed light dance set to seasonal music that illuminates every half hour.  Also on hand are roving elves and food vendors serving holiday treats.  Dec. 7 – Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Closed Christmas.  Adult $14.25; Senior and Youth $10.50; Child $7.75.  

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension BridgeThe iconic, 137-metre suspension bridge is decked out with  lights every December – forming a glittering string of pearls over the Capilano River.  Walk across and step into an enchanted rainforest, bedazzled with hundreds of thousands of lights.  There’s also a scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, glass blowing demos and sing-along carols.  Dec. 1 – Jan. 5, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Closed Christmas.  Adult $31.95; Child $12; $65 per family (2 adults and 2 kids).   Continue reading:
Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver for 2012

Free Christmas Fun: Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration, Nov. 29

Photo: Flickr | nadeel2011

One of the top free Christmas events in Vancouver is the annual lighting of the 50-ft.-tall, Rockefeller-style Christmas tree in Jack Poole Plaza at the harbourfront Vancouver Convention Centre.

“How often has the Christmas tree afforded me the greatest glee?” asks the classic holiday carol O Christmas Tree (known in Deutsch as O Tannenbaum). I’d have to concur on the topic of all those “lovely branches.” Seeing a soaring evergreen tower illuminated with tiny, twinkly lights is heart-melting holiday goodness right up there with watching Home Alone as an adult.

The annual tree lighting ceremony takes place Nov. 29, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This is the sixth year Amacon real estate developers have sponsored the event. At this point, it’s safe to say this is a special Vancouver holiday tradition. Continue reading:
Free Christmas Fun: Vancouver Tree Lighting Celebration, Nov. 29

Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour with Vancouver Trolley Company

It may not be a one-horse open sleigh, but for a seasonal tour of some of Vancouver’s top holiday light displays that also lets you jingle all the way, you can’t beat the Vancouver Trolley Company’s Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour.

Every December, the Vancouver Trolley Company decks the halls of its old-fashioned wooden trolleys and outfits them with karaoke Christmas carol machines, turning a three-hour Vancouver tour into fun-filled entertainment for all ages.  The tour starts at the Vancouver Christmas Market—so you can hop on after an afternoon of gift shopping—and proceeds through downtown Vancouver to its first holiday stop: Stanley Park’s Bright Nights light display.

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Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour with Vancouver Trolley Company

Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver

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. 

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Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver

Vancouver Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 9, 2011

Vancouver's 50-foot Christmas Tree moves to the Jack Poole Plaza for 2011. Photo: Amacon

One of the top Christmas Events in Vancouver—and one of the best free Vancouver Christmas events—is the relatively new (2011 is its fifth year) tradition of lighting a huge, 50-foot-tall, Rockefeller-style Christmas tree in the heart of downtown Vancouver. For the last four years, the tree was in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery; this year, it will be at the Jack Poole Plaza at the Vancouver Convention Centre (where the Olympic Cauldron is).

Called the Vancouver Tree Lighting, the ceremony and free party to light the huge Christmas tree has fun for all ages, with live performances from the acapella group Aliqua, the Vancouver’s Children’s Choir, and Christmas soloists, plus special guest appearances by the BC Lions, the Felions and Bro Jake from Rock 101, and, of course, Santa Claus.

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Vancouver Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 9, 2011