9 enchanting light festivals to enjoy this holiday season in Metro Vancouver
Ready to experience the magic and wonder of the most festive time of the year?
Across Metro Vancouver, holiday light festivals will light up the season, bringing smiles to faces – and plenty of photo opportunities.
After a 2020 holiday season where most events have darkened due to the pandemic, 2021 is expected to end with dazzling light displays. From enchanting tree-top walks to breathtakingly lit tunnel walks, several major holiday light festivals are taking place this winter in Metro Vancouver. They are among the best and – dare we say it – the brightest.
VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden dazzles guests of all ages with its over a million sparkling lights, exhibits and themed areas, and holiday music. Now in its 37th year, the event will once again light up the hearts and eyes of many visitors to the beautiful park. To keep things COVID-safe, the event will replace some previous activities and features, like the carousel and photos with Santa Claus, in favor of new experiences, like an illuminated rose garden, a “letters to Santa Claus” activity. “for children, and lots of food.
- When: 26 Nov 2021-Jan. 3, 2022
- Or: VanDusen Botanical Garden – 5151 Oak St, Vancouver
- Tickets: Must be purchased in line in advance for a specific entry time
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
that of North Vancouver Canyon lights features thousands of twinkling lights adorning the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge, as well as the thrilling Treetops Adventure ride and its 250-year-old Douglas fir trees. The park is home to the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world, which will sparkle with a thousand lights to celebrate the season. Guests can also stroll through the illuminated “Arc of Lumina” tunnel on the park’s thrilling Cliffwalk. New for this season, the world-famous suspension bridge will be illuminated from end to end by a changing multi-color display.
- When: Nov 20, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022 (closed December 25)
- Or: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
- Tickets: Purchase in advance in line
Coquitlam’s popular free outdoor illuminated sign returns to Downtown park end of November and runs until the end of January. Modified with current provincial health ordinances and public safety in mind, this year’s Lights at Lafarge winter light exhibit has been dispersed to offer two walking loops in the downtown park. Organizers urge visitors to schedule tours during off-peak hours.
- When: Nov. 27, 2021-Jan. 31, 2022
- Or: Downtown Park – 1299, chemin Pinetree, Coquitlam
- Tickets: N / A
Another enchanting festival brings festive joy to the Lower Mainland this winter with a magical light walk. In Lumagica, guests take a light 1 km walk through diverse lands to soak up the holiday spirit. After that, they are transported through a light tunnel to Gingerbread Lane, leading to the magical village of the North Pole. Here they can enjoy the festive atmosphere with interactive exhibits, entertainment, photo opportunities and lots of surprises for all ages.
- When: From December 3 to 30 except December 25. Open every evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Or: Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey
- Tickets: To buy in line
SOPs WinterLights, which debuted last year, will once again offer ticket holders a dazzling drive-through experience on the historic fair grounds. WinterLights will feature two light-up tunnels, nine themed “countries” filled with live characters and performers – like a snow globe village full of dancers, seasonal food offerings and tons of family fun. The whole event is experienced from the inside in the comfort and safety of your vehicle. As you navigate your way, tune the car stereo to listen to a special radio show featuring the soundtrack of WinterLights.
- When: Dec 3-5, 9-12, 16-23, 26-31 from 4.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
- Or: Pacific National Exhibition – 2901 E Hastings St, Vancouver
- Cost: $ 37 to $ 42 plus ticket fees per full wagon Buy tickets in line.
Christmas Train Bright Nights Stanley Park
This is one of Vancouver’s most magical vacation mini-adventures, as the Christmas train of bright nights stroll happily in Stanley Park; the train and plaza will sparkle with millions of lights, offering an immersive illuminated experience unlike any other. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
- When: 26 Nov 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
- Or: Stanley Park Railway, Vancouver
- Tickets: Must be purchased in advance in line; no ticket sales on site
This year’s annual drive-thru at Langley is called Glow, a fairytale Christmas, described as “a magical world surrounded by our beloved fairy tale characters”. The event has been changed for 2020 and will feature a similar one this year. Visitors will drive through the sprawling wonderland and enjoy towering gardens of light in a variety of themes. In the past, some of the highlights were the glittering glacial focus, where it always snows, as well as the lively 100-foot light tunnel. Each ticket includes popcorn and mini donuts, and the experience lasts approximately 20 minutes.
- When: Nov 2021 to Jan 1, 2022
- Or: Milner Village Garden Center – 6690 216 St, Langley City
- Tickets: Purchase in advance in line
Now in its 24th year, the Lights of Hope exhibit at St. Paul’s Hospital will shine nightly during the holiday season. Marking the return of the annual fundraising campaign, 4,000 feet of twinkling lights and hundreds of shining stars acknowledging the support of generous donors, will light up Burrard Street nightly until early January of next year.
- When: Nov. 18, 2021-Jan. 7, 2022
- Or: St. Paul’s Hospital – Burrard Street side, Vancouver
- Tickets: N / A
Enjoy the special atmosphere of festive lights and traditional decorations at this free family event. Stroll through the village and attend all the entertainment, demonstrations and seasonal activities.
- When: Nov. 27, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022 (closed December 24 and 25)
- Or: Burnaby Village Museum – 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
- Tickets: Entrance at the door is free
With files from Elana Shepert