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Free (Or Cheap) Holiday Events in Vancouver

Free (Or Cheap) Holiday Events in Vancouver

A man and kids skating

The Greater Vancouver area has so many amazing holiday events and activities to choose from in December. The great news is, you can enjoy many of them for free! To keep you in the know about all the Christmas, Chanukah and holiday fun happening in the Greater Vancouver area this year, we’ve created a helpful list of free (or super cheap) holiday events. These are outings for you and your family to enjoy-without breaking the bank.

Keep coming back for more as we update this list through the month of December.

St. Paul’s Lights of Hope

Starts November 18th, 2021

Photo Credit: Lights Of Hope Website.

We love when the beautiful towering wall of lights at St. Paul’s Hospital are lit. This spectacular eye-catching scene never disappoints. There’s no fee (except for optional donations you can give to support the hospital) and it’s on all season long.

>> St. Paul’s Lights of Hope

Bright Nights at Stanley Park

November 26th, 2021 – January 2nd, 2022

Photo Credit: Burn Fund Website.

The Bright Nights Christmas Train at Stanley park is a well loved Vancouver family tradition. Watch your children’s eyes light up as they take in the sparkle of three million twinkling lights. Kids of all ages will be singing along to their favourite carols as they take in the beautiful displays along their ride. This year Santa is still on hiatus, but the plaza will feature selected iconic light elements, and the train ride will once again shine bright as in years past.

Admission: $7.50 – $15.30

>> Bright Nights

Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

November 27th, 2021 to January 3rd, 2022

Photo Credit: Burnaby Village Museum Website.

Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum is one of our all-time favourite holiday experiences. If you’ve never been, it’s one you don’t want to miss this season. Christmas at the village runs all month with lots of sparkling light displays, décor, sing-a-longs, crafts, and a scavenger hunt. There’s also special event performances scheduled throughout the season. Believe us when we say you’ll feel like you’re walking through a Hallmark movie.

Admission is free at the gate, with a $2.65 fee for carousel rides. If you’ve never taken a ride on it this particular carousel-hold on to your hats- it’s one of the fastest in North America.

>> Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

Lights at Lafarge

November 27th, 2021 – January 31st 2022.

Photo Credit: CBC’s Website.

If you’re looking for a fun holiday excursion, Coquitlam’s Lafarge Lake transforms into a magical outdoor holiday wonderland every December, and it’s all free! With 100,000 twinkling lights, Lights at Lafarge is one of the largest free holiday lights displays in the Lower Mainland. Take the Evergreen extension and get off at the last stop: Lafarge Lake-Douglas. There will be no kick-off event this year, but there is lots of time to get outside and walk among the lights throughout December and January! The light display is out until January 31st.

>> Lights at Lake Lafarge

Ice Skating at Robson Square

Opening December 2nd, 2021 at 12:00 noon

Photo Credit: Global News Website.

This is a favourite Vancouver holiday tradition and it’s free(with a $5 fee for skate rentals if you need them)! This is a fantastic and magical place to enjoy with the family. Skating in the square surrounded by lights and in the heart of downtown.

>> Robson Square Ice Rink

Christmas at Canada Place

December 3rd, 2021 to January 2, 2022

Photo Credit: Canada Place Website.

This family-friendly, outdoor experience features the historic Woodward’s Windows on display, an Avenue of Christmas trees, a special holiday-themed Sails of Light display, Canada’s North light display and more! So grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll, you won’t regret it.

>> Christmas at Canada Place

CBC Food Bank Day Virtual Open House

December 3rd, 2021

Photo Credit: Global News Website

A global pandemic isn’t stopping this popular event that has been part of our city for 34 years. Join CBC for their ‘virtual edition’ of CBC’s Food Bank Day on December 3rd! Register to meet and greet online with local celebs, and enjoy free live entertainment all for a good cause: raising money for BC food banks.

>> CBC Food Bank Day and Open House

5th Annual Chanukah Menorah Parade

December 4th, 2021 – Parade starts at 6pm

Share the light and join in the celebrating the 7th night of Chanukah! Pre-register or show up at the Jewish Community Center (JCC – 950 W 41st, Vancouver) to participate in the 5th Annual Menorah Parade that will make its way through downtown. Or, show up at the Vancouver Art Gallery to enjoy Chanukah festivities including lighting the Silber Family Agam Menorah, gelt and donuts for the kids, gift bags and amazing fire show. Did you know the Silber Family Agam Menorah is the tallest in Canada? All welcome to this festive occasion.

Parade starts at 6:00pm from the JCC. Register by email in order to secure your spot. Car menorahs available on first come, first served basis.

Menorah Lighting & festivities at the Vancouver Art Gallery (no registration required)- 6:40pm approximate. Kids packages available while quantity lasts.

>> Chabad Lubavitch Menorah Parade & Menorah Lighting

The Dundarave Festival

December 4th until December 30th, 2021,

Photo Credit: The Dundarave Festival Website

If you’ve never been to the Dundarave Festival in West Van, it’s definitely worth a visit. This year their four Saturdays of ‘fabulously festive and absolutely free concerts’ are back. Catch the lighting of the forest of miracles on December 4th. The festival will kick off with a blessing from Squamish Elder Wendy Charbonneau, with the Dundarave Nativity and Paddle Songs taking place from noon until dusk. Followed by the lighting of The Forest of Miracles at dusk.

Admission is free and the lights will be displayed 24/7 in December.

>> Dundarave Festival

Shipyards Christmas Artisans Market

Weekends of December 4th & 5th and 11th & 12th, 2021

For two weekends in December, The North Van Shipyards transforms into a winter wonderland filled with music and twinkling lights. You and your family can Enjoy ornament & lantern making, story time, gingerbread decorating, balloon creations and face painting.

See Also
Easter Seals

*Admission to the winter holiday artisan markets is free, but donations benefiting the North Shore Women’s Centre are greatly appreciated.

>> Christmas in the Shipyards District

Christmas in Kerrisdale

December 4,th 11th, 18th & 23rd, 2021

Photo Credit: Inside Vancouver’s Website

Enjoy the charm of Kerrisdale this December with strolling bands, Christmas quartets, a holiday horse and carriage rides! Keep an eye out for the Santa himself, wandering along the streets and wishing everyone he spots a very Merry Christmas.

>> Christmas in Kerrisdale

A global pandemic isn’t stopping this popular event that has been part of our city for 34 years. Join CBC for their ‘virtual edition’ of CBC’s Food Bank Day on December 3rd! Register to meet and greet online with local celebs, and enjoy free live entertainment all for a good cause: raising money for BC food banks.

>> CBC Food Bank Day and Open House

Virtual CP Holiday Train

The concert will be streamed on FacebookYouTube and this webpage on Saturday, Dec. 18th, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific Railway Website.

Watch the train’s big arrival at 5:20 pm and then get ready to sing along with Terri Clark at 5:45 pm. Decked out in thousands of lights, this train travels across Canada during the holiday season to raise food and cash donations for local food banks. Join the kids activities until 8 pm!

PS: The train heads to Port Coquitlam for 7 pm.

>> The CP Holiday Train

Solstice Lantern Festival

December 21st, 2021

Photo Credit: Secret LanternSociety Website.

This year, celebrate the winter solstice in style. The Secret Lantern Society is hosting their 28th Winter Solstice Lantern Festival both virtually and in person at scaled-down neighbourhood events in Yaletown, Granville Island, and Strathcona. If you’ve never been, it really is a beautiful event!

The livestream will be on Tuesday, Dec 21st, 6-10pm PST, 2021

Stay tuned for more details here: Secret Lantern Society

Original post written by Harriet Fancott.

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