Editor’s note: We’ve got a new updated Santa photo list for 2015!
A week and a half ago we asked you to tell us your favourite Santa photo spot in Vancouver. You came through on Facebook and Twitter. We compiled the results, did a little digging of our own, and today we’re happy to share our picks with you. So round up the kids, and get ready for the perfect holiday snapshot.
Best of Vancouver: Where to get your Santa Photo
- Oakridge Centre – Based on what people on our Facebook page had to say, Santa at Oakridge is the clear winner. Reports are that he’s very realistic-looking, and good with kids. He’s there daily until December 24 to pose with your little one. With almost any Santa photo, though, the rule is that the earlier you go in the season, the shorter the lineup, so it may be a good idea to get cracking.
- Lougheed Town Centre – Heading out to Burnaby, people also have great things to say about Santa at Lougheed Mall. The best part for little kids is the train that runs around Santa. We heard many, many stories about how much kids love that train! Santa will be at the mall daily until December 24, but once again, earlier is probably better if you don’t like lineups.
- Burnaby Village Museum – If you’d like an alternative to the mall Santa photo, check out Burnaby Village Museum’s Heritage Christmas. Admission is free for this, their anniversary year, and photos with their Father Christmas are free, too – but you need to bring your own camera. For a little bit extra, you can also take a whirl on their carousel. Check out their entertainment schedule to see when Father Christmas will be in attendance.
- Denman Place Mall – In downtown Vancouver, the West End Business Improvement Association is bringing Santa to Denman Place Mall on December 10 and 17 from 11:00am – 6:00pm. He’ll arrive in a sleigh, and there will also be toys, crafters, and antiques there. Plus, as an added bonus, you can bring your furry friend – kids and pets are welcome to visit with Santa.
- Royal City Farmers Market – If you’re in or around New Westminster on December 3, and you’d like to pick up some local food and handcrafts while you’re having your Santa photo taken, stop by Royal City Farmers Market from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Father Christmas will be on hand all day (outside of a quick break for lunch). A watermarked digital download of your shot is free, or you can buy a clean print that will be mailed to you in lots of time for the holidays.
- Van Dusen Gardens – If you want a uniquely Vancouver holiday experience with your Santa photo, check out the Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Gardens, which opens at 4:30pm daily. Santa makes appearances in his living room daily until December 24. There’s a massive light display throughout the gardens, a dancing light show every evening, as well as a whole lot more entertainment, food and more. It’s worth a visit whether you see Santa or not.
- Lansdowne Centre – If you’re in Richmond, you should check out Santa at Lansdowne Centre. There are things for kids to do while waiting in line, to make the time pass faster. They also have a holiday train and winter carousel. The big guy in red will be around daily until December 24, but get your Santa photo early and avoid the rush.
- Brentwood Town Centre – We’re heading back to Burnaby for the last time to give a shout-out to the Santa at Brentwood Mall. The line-up is usually manageable, and the Santa setup is great. Santa arrives on November 26 and will be on hand daily for your photos until December 24.
- Grouse Mountain – As you know, we don’t often get snow at Christmas in Vancouver. If you want the full holiday experience, though, you may want to get your photo at Grouse Mountain’s Peak of Christmas event. You can meet Santa in his workshop, learn about reindeer, take a sleigh ride and even go ice-skating outdoors. It’s pricy but festive, and it’s a totally unique event in Metro Vancouver.
- Valley Fair Mall – If you find yourself out in the Eastern ‘burbs (because, you know, you live there), we’ve heard fabulous things about Santa at Valley Fair Mall in Maple Ridge. Apparently, he knows the names of every child and what they’ve been doing to prepare for Christmas. He also knows their best friends and any pets they may have. He’s one smart Santa, and he’ll be holding court from November 26 – December 24.
No matter where you go for your Santa photo, we wish you short line-ups, cooperative kids and no red eye. Happy holidays!
We’re sure we’ve missed some fabulous Santa photo ops in Metro Vancouver. Where do you take your kids for the perfect holiday picture? We’d love to hear.
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.