Santa workshop Peak of Vancouver Grouse

Vancouver’s 8 Best Holiday Season Events for 2021

Santa workshop Peak of Vancouver Grouse

Santa and his workshop are back as the Peak of Vancouver welcomes guests to Grouse Mountain’s version of the North Pole. (Photo courtesy of Grouse Mountain)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Vancouver. If you are a lover of all things Christmas, the west coast is a merry place to be this month. Many beloved holiday-themed events were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, but have returned this year. To keep you and your family entertained throughout the holiday season, here are activities that celebrate Christmas in Vancouver.

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

Bright Nights_Surrey Fire Display_Photo by Dave Harcus

The Bright Nights ride features holiday-themed displays. (Dave Harcus photo)

All aboard the Santa train! A larger-than-life reindeer welcomes guests as they pass through the tunnel of lights on their way to the Bright Nights Train, transporting them to a winter wonderland within the city’s iconic park and bringing holiday cheer to young and old.

When: Running until January 2
Where: Stanley Park Railway
Tickets: Must be purchased in advance online

Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon lights capilano-suspension-bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge gets a merry touch for the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Capilano Suspension Bridge)

The tradition is back with something new — illumination across the full length of the suspension bridge. The multi-colour display will change intermittently throughout the day. Named one of the nine most spectacular holiday light displays in the world in 2017 by CNN Travel, this attraction transforms the park, suspension bridge, Cliffwalk, Treetops Adventure, canyon, and rainforest into a dazzling winter scene. Along with the interactive light displays, the 250-year-old Douglas firs at Treetops Adventure light up from top to bottom, making them among the tallest Christmas trees in the world.

When: Running until January 23 (closed December 25)
Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Tickets: Purchase in advance online

VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights 2021

Festival of Lights VanDusen -SOMBILON STUDIOS

The Festival of Lights is a major attraction at VanDusen Garden each year. (Photo courtesy of VanDusen Garden)

Now in its 37th year, the Festival of Lights features more than one million lights decorating the garden. Meander along the lakeside to take in the glow of northern lights, or wander into the lush Rose Garden — reawakened and illuminated for a spectacular winter replica. There won’t be the usual carousel ride or photos with Santa because of public-health regulations, but there will be a “letters to Santa” activity for children and plenty of food.

When: Running until January 3
Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5151 Oak Street, Vancouver
Tickets: Must be purchased online in advance for a specific entry time

Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain


Among the reasons to visit the Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain is the chance to snap postcard-worthy photos in snowy enchantment. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for

So little time and so much to see! A magical story awaits as you are transported to the North Pole, complete with Santa and his reindeer, brilliant light installations, and Christmas movies in the Theatre in the Sky. Explore the enchanting Light Walk around Blue Grouse Lake or strap on your skates for a spin on the Mountaintop Skating Pond surrounded by majestic views.

When: Running until January 3
Where: Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver
Tickets: All festive Peak of Christmas activities are complimentary with an annual locals or Snow Pass, a Mountain Admission Ticket, or a special family ticket rate of $109 for 2 adults and 2 children. Proof of vaccination is required for everyone born in 2009 or earlier. You can buy tickets online.

Vancouver Christmas Market

Vancouver Christmas Market Outdoor_photocredit Lindsay Elliot

The Vancouver Christmas Market is an outdoor draw with stalls and booths set up overlooking Burrard Inlet. (Lindsay Elliot photo)

Located at Jack Poole Plaza near the Vancouver Convention Centre, this German-inspired market is an enchanting scene, awash in glittering lights, large candy canes, an oversized gingerbread house, a carousel, artisan gifts, sweet and savoury food and drink, and live music. The yuletide celebration is much more than a place to shop for those who are nice on your Christmas list, it is also a memorable place to celebrate the season with friends and family.

When: Running until December 24
Where:  Jack Poole Plaza downtown at the Olympic Cauldron
Tickets: Must be purchased online in advance for a specific entry time

Soar With Santa at FlyOver Canada


FlyOver Canada has been made over in time for Christmas at Canada Place. (Photo courtesy of FlyOver Canada)

Experience the magic of Christmas as you glide across Canada on an exhilarating multimedia trip with Santa and his elves. After returning to solid ground, guests can stop by for Christmas festivities, including listening to the Roaming Christmas Carolers, a self-directed Elf Scavenger Hunt, and Breakfast with Santa.

When: December 9 to January 3
Where: 201-999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Tickets: Buy online to save money

Lights of Hope at St. Paul’s Hospital


Lights of Hope brings joy and meaning to St. Paul’s Hospital each year. (Photo courtesy of Lights of Hope)

Bundle up for the 24th annual Lights of Hope display. The attraction will shine bright every night throughout the holiday season. Consisting of 4,000 feet of sparking lights and hundreds of stars, the display  illuminates Burrard Street. Gifts to Lights of Hope help St. Paul’s Foundation meet the greatest needs of patients and residents from across B.C.

When: Running until January 7
Where: 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver

Holiday Splash at the Vancouver Aquarium

VAQ Holiday Splash Scuba Claus 2

Scuba Claus makes a splash twice each day at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium)

As if delivering presents to all the world’s children while flying on his nine-reindeer sleigh isn’t enough, Santa is scuba diving in a tank! Catch Scuba Claus swimming alongside the sea life when you visit the aquarium in Stanley Park. With enormous floor-to-ceiling windows, the facility includes thousands of ocean species and aquatic life. Santa’s elves merrily greet children and adults, and you can marvel at the glow of an eel-powered tree, among other highlights.

When: Running until January 3 (Scuba Claus dives daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)
Where: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver (inside Stanley Park)
Tickets: Purchase in advance online