8 ways to celebrate the festive season in Vancouver

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November 18 Canyon-Lights-on-Bridge-with-Silhouettes-Christmas-featured

From sparkling light displays to Santa sleighs and gingerbread laneways, Vancouver is sure to put you in the festive mood. Dive into Christmas in British Columbia with our eight picks for celebrating the season.

Feel festive at Vancouver’s Christmas Markets

Image courtesy of Vancouver Christmas Market

From 21 November to 24 December 2015, the popular Vancouver Christmas Market will be back at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza, delighting visitors with food, drink, gifts, entertainment and bags of festive cheer. With 55 European-style vendors taking part, there will be plenty of bratwursts and brews for the adults, while children can delight in a number of activities including Vancouver’s only Christmas carousel ride. There is nothing quite like strolling round the stalls with a hot mug of glühwein in hand to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Light up the season


The 22nd annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival takes place on 21 December 2015, illuminating the longest night of the year with a beautiful medley of glowing lanterns and fires. Taking place across four Vancouver neighbourhoods including Chinatown, Strathcona, Yaletown and Granville Island, this inspirational celebration is a warm and friendly event, with live music and magical displays that are sure to make you feel merry.

Visit a winter wonderland in Whistler


An hour and a half from Vancouver, a winter wonderland awaits in Whistler. Indulge your inner child and embrace the magic of Christmas as you hit the slopes for a spot of skiing, snowboarding or sledding, before retreating to a prime position in front of a roaring fireplace. There are plenty of festive activities for all the family both on and off the slopes, and with twinkling lights, snow-capped mountains and mulled wine aplenty, this will be one festive foray you will not forget.

Stay in the heart of the holiday atmosphere at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre Hotel, perfectly positioned for effortless access to Whistler’s best activities.

See the world’s tallest Christmas tree

Image courtesy of Capilano Canyon Lights

Get giddy about Christmas at Capilano Canyon Lights between 27 November 2015 and 3 January 2016, where adventure attractions aplenty will be adorned by hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights. Walk the suspension bridge, try the Treetops Adventure, brave the Cliffwalk or discover the twinkling rainforest as you throw yourself into a world of enchantment. If that is not enough to make you dizzy, cast your eyes skywards to take in the spectacle of the world’s tallest living Christmas tree. At 153 feet tall, you might have to squint to see the star on top.

Image courtesy of Capilano Canyon Lights

Tick off the to-do list

Combine Christmas shopping with festive fun with the Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park and Tilford Garden in North Vancouver. Not only is this a shopping mall with its own garden, at Christmas it transforms into a twinkling holiday wonderland, with decorations and lights adorning its trees, bridges, walkways and frozen fish pond. Friday nights feature live entertainment and visits from Santa Claus, making it a fun – and practical – evening for the family.

Relax and unwind for the holiday season


Ease the stress of Christmas shopping with the Nordstrom Vancouver Shopping and Spa Package at Pan Pacific Vancouver. Valid until 30 December 2015, this special package includes a CAD $250 Nordstrom gift card as well as a $250 Spa Utopia gift card for you to use on customised therapies and treatments in the largest spa in British Columbia. Top it all off with one night’s luxury accommodation in a Bayview suite with spectacular harbour and mountain views, a delicious buffet breakfast for two and overnight parking, and you will be ready for whatever Christmas throws at you.

Whet your appetite in Gingerbread Lane


Indulge your sweet tooth at Gingerbread Lane in downtown Vancouver, a collection of more than 30 Gingerbread creations, meticulously crafted by amateur and professional culinary artists. Now in its 25th year, this year’s charity event is set to be the biggest yet, featuring a giant gingerbread house centrepiece from Executive Chef Jeff Szombaty. If 400 pounds of sugar, 500 pounds of gingerbread dough and 1,400 egg whites sounds like your idea of a festive feast, this is a spectacle not to be missed. See it from 4 to 27 December 2015.

Explore the Botanics after-hours

Image courtesy of VanDusen Botanical Garden

See the VanDusen Botanical Garden after the sun goes down during the Festival of Lights, running from 1 to 31 December 2015. Mesmerising displays of dancing lights, interactive themed areas and seasonal treats are sure to warm even the frostiest of humbugs, while gnome performances and festive storytellers from Vancouver Public Library make this a memorable event for younger visitors too.

Immerse yourself in the best of the city’s Christmas celebrations and treat yourself to a magical festive retreat when you stay at Pan Pacific Vancouver this holiday season.

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