Vancouver’s Finest Holiday Lights

Luminescence  Nov. 22-Jan. 22

Vancouver Aquarium.

The aquarium outfits itself with a Jelly Swarm once more—over 100 LED-equipped and several eel-lit origami creatures at the Pacific Canada Gallery—plus the popular Scuba Claus, who will be swimming daily with live halibut, rockfish, and sturgeon. Also, make sure to hop on The Polar Express 4-D Experience—a holiday favourite you don’t want to miss!

Bright Nights  Nov. 30-Jan. 2

Stanley Park.

A full two million lights are strung in the woods surrounding Stanley Park’s miniature train tracks. Visitors ride a trundling string of cars (with piped-in carols) past performers and elaborate holiday displays. Highly popular:
tickets should be purchased in advance. Proceeds support the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Canyon Lights  Dec. 1-Jan. 5

Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The entirety of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is decorated (on the ground and in the treetops) with electric light. Visitors cross the light-spangled (and 70 metres high) bridge or brave the gravity-defying CliffWalk, which is cantilevered off the side of the mountain’s face. Less adventurous fare includes: glass ornament blowing demonstrations, a holiday band, and gingerbread decorating.

Carol Ships Parade of Lights Dec. 1-Dec. 23

Various locations.

More than 50 boats, sporting heavy holiday illumination, cruise by shoreside communities and broadcast carols throughout the month. Check website for sailing schedules.

Festival of Lights  Dec. 7-Jan. 1

VanDusen Botanical Garden.

The city’s most popular garden is transformed with hundreds of thousands of lights, allowing nostalgia-tinged strolls down Candy Cane Lane and through Gingerbread Wood. Dancing lights on Livingstone Lake move to the sound of carols. Closed Christmas Day.

Karaoke Christmas Lights Dec. 7-Dec. 30

Want to see it all at once? Get a ticket for this three-hour trolley ride on a karaoke-equipped vehicle that takes you (singing all the way) from the Vancouver Christmas Market to Bright Nights at Stanley Park and VanDusen Garden’s Festival of Lights. A donation to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund is included in each ticket.

Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Dec. 21

Various locations.

Honour the longest night of the year—and the return of the sun—with lantern-making, drumming, fire dancing, and large processions across the city. Participating neighbourhoods: Commercial Drive, Yaletown, Granville Island, Southeast False Creek, and Chinatown. Events are free, but the festival runs on donations.