The first day of winter is right around the corner and holiday cheer is on the agenda! Celebrate the Christmas season with festive and fun, cold-weather activities that only Vancouver’s North Shore offers. Now is the time to visit this West Coast wonderland.
One of the most magical holiday experiences in the world, Canyon Lights is a must-see! No matter how old you are, this is one Christmas activity you won’t ever forget. Embark on Instagram-worthy adventures within Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s lush rainforest, including the mesmerizing “Arc de Lumina” light tunnel, light displays along the suspension bridge, Cliffwalk, plus the eighth tallest Christmas tree in the world will be illuminated. The entire park will transform into a Santa-approved destination complete with holiday carolers and hot coco.
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Experience a beachy, beautiful Christmas at the Dundarave Festival of Lights; with up to 130 uniquely decorated trees sponsored by local businesses lit up just steps from the ocean all December. There also be special events on the following Saturdays with live music and hot chocolate: December 4th, 11th and 18th. On December 4th, see Squamish Elder Wendy Charbonneau blessing the Medicine Wheel Advent Wreath of Reconciliation.
Image credit: Coast Mountain Photography
With the snow and rain beginning to fall, a visit to a local gallery is a great way to come in from the cold and see incredible exhibits from Canadian artists. The Polygon Gallery and Inuit Gallery within The Shipyards District offer captivating cultural experiences through ongoing exhibitions. You will also find the renowned Gordon Smith Gallery and CityScape Community ArtSpace, the Seymour Art Gallery, the newly opened MONOVA (Museum of North Vancouver), and more. Plus, enjoy holiday shopping as most of these galleries offer Christmas pop-up markets.
Make it a Christmas tradition! Ice skating at The Shipyards is the perfect way to have some family fun and get into the holiday spirit. Located in the heart of The Shipyards District and surrounded by local shops and restaurants, the rink has a beautiful ocean view and offers kids and adult ice skating rentals. Plus, multiple festive events are happening at the plaza this December–check them out here.
Image credit: @lornagemstonejewelry
In this spirit of shopping small and supporting local businesses, Christmas markets are a favoured tradition! Shop the best of artisans, and unique handmade gift items at The Shipyards Artisan Christmas Market, Polygon Gallery Annual Holiday Market and Lonsdale Quay Market (to name a few). Check out all the festive events here.
The elves have been working away, getting ready for Santa’s arrival at Grouse Mountain’s ‘The Peak of Christmas’ and the time has come! Take the whole family for a winter wonderland adventure as you experience the captivating ‘Light Walk’ and outdoor Christmas movies at the ‘Theatre in the Sky’. Book a breakfast with Santa, share special Christmas wishes and take a photo by donation with proceeds benefiting BC Children’s Hospital. There is also an 8,000 square ft Mountain Top Skating pond surrounded by majestic views.
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Offering some of the best terrains in Canada, our local mountains are a skier and snowboarder’s paradise; great for both beginners and expert riders. From the largest mountain in Vancouver–Cypress Mountain, to the impressive views of Grouse Mountain and the features of Seymour Mountain, there’s a destination for everyone. With the season beginning in late November, December is usually the perfect time to experience epic powder and unmatchable runs.
If staying on two feet is more your thing – two of the top 10 snowshoe resorts in North America can be found on Vancouver’s North Shore. Mt. Seymour was rated #1 and Grouse Mountain was rated #9 snowshoe resort in North America by Snowshoe Magazine. Get bundled up, tour through snow-capped trees and finish it off with a hot apple cider. To make it an even more festive experience visit Lights to the Lodge at Cypress Mountain. It’s a self-guided snowshoe trail through an enchanting LED-lit forest through the forest boughs of ancient Cedar, Fir and Hemlock trees.
During December, don’t miss out on live music from accomplished local musicians celebrating with seasonal performances. This year, Vancouver’s Symphony Orchestra, Lion’s Gate Sinfonia and other renowned ensembles will perform Christmas classics at local theatres – the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!
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An activity in itself, the holidays are a wonderful time to support your local community retailers while shopping for both the naughty and nice on your list. From the charming shops of Edgemont Village and Dundarave to the boutiques on Lonsdale Ave, there are many unique local retailers with clothing, housewares, toys, collectables and more. Park Royal and Capilano Mall also offer many specialty items and best-in-class stores.
The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at Mt. Seymour’s Enquist Lodge, where you can create lifelong family memories. Set in the snowy North Shore mountains, you will find Santa’s yurt where kids can share their wishlist and photos with Saint Nick himself. Harold’s Cafe offers a festive selection of treats (such as Liège Belgian Waffles and Beignets) as well as warm holiday beverages. Shop the Christmas store offering tree decorations, cabin decor, Mt. Seymour merchandise and an array of Christmas gifts.
Extend your stay with special deals and unique accommodation packages from North Vancouver hotels.