12 Festive Light Displays for the 2018 Holiday Season

With less than a month until Christmas, Metro Vancouver is ablaze with lights as people and places put up light displays all around. Some of the brightest and most festive displays are now open or opening soon to the public, here’s a list of light displays to enjoy the twinkle of the Holiday Season:

Aurora Winter Festival

Aurora Winter Festival – downtown Vancouver’s newest addition to the Holidays, guests can explore the beautifully illuminated mystical worlds of Aurora Festival, at Concord Pacific Place until December 30th, 2018, 4-10pm. Once you’ve explored the mystical worlds’ lights, hit the Tube Park, strap on your ice skates to glide along the Frozen River, ride the Ferris Wheel, listen to Stories with Santa, shop the market, eat and drink in the Entertainment Tent. Admission (online): Adult $19.99, Family: $59.99 (2 adult/3 children)

Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– Millions of lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train. Ride the train, watch the dozens of festive displays as you stroll around the plaza sipping a hot cocoa, from November 29, 2018 to January 5, 2019 opening hours vary for Matinee and Night Trains. – Matinee Train tickets are $6 for all ages, Night Train tickets are $12(Adults) or $8(Children/Seniors). Admission to Bright Nights Train Plaza only, is by donation (proceeds to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund)

Canyon Lights

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park runs until January 27th, 2019 (closed Christmas Day) 11am-9pm. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $46.95, or $14.95 children, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment begin at 4pm each day.

Chanukah in the City – Join the Jewish Community and celebrate the 8 Days of the Chanukah Festival Of Lights with music, latkes, hot cocoa, doughnuts and entertainment as the Silber Family Agam Menorah, Canada’s tallest, lights up the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza  on December 6th, 2018 at 5pm

Christmas at Canada Place – Port Metro Vancouver presents the annual Christmas at Canada Place holiday event, from December 7th, 2018 to January 3rd, 2019. Make your way along The Canadian Trail (west promenade) to see the Canada’s North light display at the North Point of Canada Place, keep your eye out for the historic Woodward’s department store holiday windows, take in the Christmas fun at Fly Over Canada and don’t forget to look up to the Canada Place Sails of Lights. – Free Admission

Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden run December 1st, 2018 to January 6th, 2019 gates open at 4:30pm. Over a million lights turn the botanical gardens into twinkling winter wonderland.  Carolers, dancing gnomes and the popular Dancing Lights show (on the half hour) make this one of the city’s most popular Christmas Light displays – Adult Admission $18.50 (in advance) or $20(at gate)

Glow Langley brings the warmth of the season indoors to Milner Village Garden Centre in Langley, until January 19, 2019, from 4-10pm daily. Themed “Glow Around the World” explore the Christmas Light Gardens, find Food Trucks & Bars, shop the Craft Market and more, November 23rd to December 30th, 2017 – Admission online – Adults: $22.99, Family: $69.99 (2 adults/3children)

Seven Swans at Burnaby Village Heritage Christmas

Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum – Celebrate a Heritage Christmas with the Holiday traditions of a century ago at Burnaby Village. Explore the illuminated Village looking for clues on the 12 Days of Christmas scavenger hunt, November 25th 2017 until January 4th, 2019 – Free Admission / Carousel Rides $2.65

Lights at Lafarge – Until January 20, 2019, Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival brings back Metro Vancouver’s largest free Christmas light display, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies, a Holiday Market and of course Santa are all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station – Free Admission

Lights of Hope

Lights of Hope at St Paul’s Hospital – 100,000 bulbs illuminate St Paul’s Lights of Hope, on Burrard Street, in the West End helping to raise much needed funds for the hospital. The 2018 Lights Of Hope support the St Paul’s Hospital Foundation and the thousands of British Columbians who make use of the hospital throughout the year. Stroll past, admire the lights, look for the sponsor’s stars, and, perhaps, make a donation of your own – Free Admission

Lights on the Lake brings the waterfront of Harrison Hot Springs Village alive with a Sasquatch-Themed light display, until January 13th 2019.  See what the Saquatch gets up to in the winter.  Check out the “Whoville” style Christmas trees and light displays will adorn the village, stay for storytelling time, or other entertainment. Visitors can also follow the Christmas Tree Trail to find other Christmas displays and have a Happy Harrison Holiday

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting – the 12th Annual Christmas Tree lighting takes place Friday November 30th at Robson Square. Four Christmas Trees up to a grand 76 feet tall will be shining over the centre of Vancouver throughout the Holidays.  Guests at the tree-lighting event can enjoy live entertainment and music from Side One and the Soul Gospel Choir plus free cookies and hot chocolate.

10 Halloween Frights for Vancouver Families

Halloween is just around the corner; leaves crunching underfoot, jack o’lanterns are carved, costumes are being prepared, candy is being stockpiled in anticipation of trick or treating.

Get a chill when you take on these frightening (and mostly family friendly) Halloween in Vancouver.

  1. Fright Nights at Playland: Vancouver’s favourite fear fest, is on until October 31st, the annual Playland event is loaded with haunted houses and thrilling rides, but not for the younger members of the family. 
  2. Halloween at Fly Over Canada: Join Broomelda as she welcomes you to her Witch Academy before swooping across the country with her at Fly Over Canada until October 31st.
  3. Haunted Halloween Vancouver Trolley Tour: Spend 2.5 hours exploring the stories behind the city’s most haunted spots; Shaughnessy mansions, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver Police Museum morgue are just some of the ghost tales you’ll hear on the nightly Trolley Tours, until Halloween Night.
  4. Glow In The Garden: VanDusen Garden invites guests to wander through a whimsical garden with curious twists and magical moments from the classic tale Hänsel and Gretel, until October 31st.
  5. Stanley Park Ghost Train: Join Jack O’Lanterns journey through the dark forest and experience a Celtic Halloween, at the Stanley Park Ghost Train, book tickets until October 31st
  6. Haunted Village at Burnaby Village Museum:  Visit Burnaby Village under cover of night from October 26 to 29, 2018. Wear your costumes, and blend in with the witches, ghosts and other characters as you trick or treat through the village
  7. Harvest Glow: Until November 5th, Milner Gardens in Langley has become the ultimate family harvest festival; pumpkin patch, corn maze, pumpkin carving, Harvest Market with 20+ merchants.
  8. Lost Souls of Gastown: Join Forbidden Vancouver on a historic and theatrical walk through the dark side of Vancouver’s early days, nightly until Halloween.
  9. Spooktober: Vancouver Theatresports League has a spooktacular line-up of Halloween themed shows throughout the month; Monster Mashes, Cult Fiction, Scared Witless, WFT-What the Fright.
  10. Parade of Lost Souls: The east side tradition returns on October 27th, starting with the Parade of Little Souls at 7pm, followed by the Parade of Lost Souls at 8pm. Keep watching for the parade route to be announced at midnight prior to the parade.

Picks of the Week – October 17, 2018

Even though the weather doesn’t feel like it,  Halloween is just around the corner and we’re well into the Autumn entertainment season.

Kicks: Whitecaps FC play their second to last home match of the regular season tonight at BC Place

Beer:  It’s your last weekend to experience #DasOriginal Oktoberfest at Vancouver Alpen Club this Friday and Saturday night.

Twisted: At The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, find out what happens when an imaginary friend overstays his welcome, in Mustard, playing until October 20th

Read: The 31st Vancouver International Writers Festival celebrates the written word and the authors who write them, around Granville Island until October 21st.

Improv: Grab your ghoulfriends and enjoy a month of eerie laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Spooktober; a selection of themed shows throughout the month

Diwali: A Vancouver Guldasta peaks inside the home of the Dhaliwals —a Punjabi family in Vancouver as they deal with events at home and abroad in Punjab, in the early 1980s. Presented with Diwali in BC at The Cultch Culture Lab until October 21th.

Lights: In addition to Vancouver Guldasta, check out the other events included in Diwali in BC

Comedy: Catch Chris Griffin for a live taping comedy special at Biltmore Cabaret for two shows on Thursday

Fright: Experience the thrills and chills of the haunted houses, rides and ghouls of Fright Nights at Playland throughout the month.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks host Boston Bruin on Saturday night at Rogers Arena


Beckett: Seven Tyrants Theatre brings Samuel Beckett’s absurdist one-man masterpiece: Krapp’s Last Tape, to Tyrant Studio until October 26th

Rock: The Hard Rock Casino brings American rockers, Third Eye Blind to the Molson Canadian Theatre stage on Friday night


Glow: Opening Friday, Van Dusen Garden invites the whole family to Glow In The Garden. Like Hansel and Gretel follow the breadcrumbs to find Halloween fun for all ages all around the garden.

HumansA Brief History of Human Extinction runs October 10 – 20 at The Cultch Historic Theatre, taking a look as the last couple, plus otter, on earth prepare to take off on a space arc to save humanity

Jazz: The Vogue Theatre brings jazz great Pat Metheny to the stage on Saturday night.

World: Sunday night, Balkan virtuoso Goran Bregovi? and his Wedding and Funeral Band makes his debut at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC, bringing a unique blend of Bulgarian, Georgian, Corsican and Romani music.



Festive Friday Find: Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour

FestofLight_IMG_5622Vancouver is has many festival light displays to thrill the young and old, the distance between them and waiting in line makes them difficult to see simply.  Putting them all in one easy package and wrapping them with a song it the Vancouver Trolley Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour.
At Canada Place, hop on one of Vancouver Trolley’s classic trolley’s, decorated for the season, and set off on a jolly good time. Along the way, the Trolley Host will build your Christmas Spirit by leading the riders on a rousing Karaoke rendition of your favourite Carols. Stops on the Tour are Bright Nights in Stanley Park, where there’s time to wander the Bright Nights plaza but not enough time to wait for a Christmas Train ride.

Bright Nights
Bright Nights at Stanley Bridge

Over the course of the 3 hour tour, the Trolley will roam through the city, blasting out Carol singing, and passing iconic illuminations in the West End, Canuck Place & Hycroft before hitting the second stop of the night.  Festival Of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens is one of the city’s most popular Holiday displays. The Garden is often lined up with quite a wait, but riders on the Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour gain express access to the Garden.  After meanering the Festival of Lights, hop back on the trolley and see and sing some more on your way back to Canada Place to wrap up the tour.
CanyonLights_2015-11-26, 17 12 50Add on a Trolley visit to Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and you’ll experience a terrific trio of Holiday Lights.

Vancouver Trolley Karaoke Christmas Lights Tour is booking until December 31st (no tour on December 25)
Call 604.801.5515 for tour and add-on rates and to reserve your Karaoke Christmas Tour.

Festive Friday Finds: Van Dusen Festival of Lights

Once again, the Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Botanical Garden has lit up the nights.  The botanical gardens have been illuminated by a million plus lights and the sounds of the holidays.

This year 5 acres have been added to the Festival of Lights adding more themed and interactive areas, the Sound House is sure to keep the kids entertained and watch for the ‘voicebergs’ in the water, listen for Holiday entertainment and find tastes and treats of the Season throughout the Garden.

Always a highlight, watch and listen to the Dancing Lights on Livingston Lake featured front and centre as you enter the garden. No matter which way you look, you’ll find lavish splashes of lights and magic as well as simple and refined decorations.  The Rose Garden has been turned into a special feature Jadins de Paris, be sure to stop and take a photo to enter yourself to win a trip, supported by YVR and Air France.

Young or old, families or singles, everyone will find some Holiday spirit at Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. Festival of Lights runs until December 31st (Closed December 25th), open 4:30 pm until 9pm nightly with an extra opening hour, December 18-23, closing at 10pm

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2015

2014-03-25 07.33.43While this spring seems to have come and gone already, there are still plenty of blossoms around the city to be tickled pink during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.  The month-long Festival kicks off tomorrow, April 2nd with the free lunch time Cherry Jam concert at Burrard Station. Throughout the festival look for free community events, neighbourhood tree talks & walks and special Sakura menus in restaurants around town.   Coinciding with Sakura Days Japan Fair, April 11-12 at Van Dusen Garden which fills the garden with entertainment and activities.

Everyone can participate in the Festival with the BC Blossom Watch Photo Contest by submitting photos, of blossoms or people enjoying the blossom festival, online, via email, on Twitter or on Instagram with hashtag #VCBF2015 & #AllNipponAirways for a chances to win a roundtrip for two to Japan from All Nippon Airways.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs all over the city from April 2nd to 29th, visit the websites for the full line-up of activities during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and Sakura Days Japan Fair.  Follow the Festival on Twitter @OfficiaVCBF or Facebook.com/VancouverCherryBlossomFestival

The Garden Party – Croquet Classic

garden34Bright summer skies, high tea, champagne flutes, the thwack of a croquet mallet accenting the peace of neatly trimmed gardens.  Does this sound like a refined day out at an English Country House, yes but you can find it right here in Vancouver.  Next week, August 23rd, Van Dusen Gardens is the place to be for the first annual Garden Party & Croquet Classic, presented by Cocktails & Canapes and Max Cunningham the afternoon event will benefit Backpack Buddies.

Kicking off at noon with a creative variation on High Tea, from Cocktails & Canapes owner Chef Brett Turner, featuring traditional tea time favourites alongside creative hors d’oeuvres and champagne.  Absolut Vodka cocktails by Jacob Sweetapple as well as Stella Artois beer and Perrier Jouet Champagne will make sure your thirst is quenched all afternoon.

To build up an appetite, gather your foursome and register your team for the Croquet Classic, a staple of a traditional Garden Party.  Swing your mallet and whack your opponents balls while looking your best so you could win for your game, looks or team spirit. From my croquet experience, spirit definitely gets into full swing once the spirits take hold!

Shop online for your tickets to The Garden Party, on sale now starting at $55.00

The First Annual Garden Party & Croquet Classic takes place August 23, noon until 7pm at Van Dusen Gardens at 5251 Oak Street (at 37th Ave)

The Garden Party from Garden Party Vancouver on Vimeo.