Contributed by Monica Alves & Gabriela Torres, Communications Interns
It’s that time of year again! Trees and houses lined with twinkling lights, festive tunes on the radio, and holiday sweets and treats you just can’t seem to ignore. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important. Try to remember that the holidays are really a time for you to spend with your loved ones. Slow down and enjoy all the simple pleasures! Do you need a little help getting into the holiday spirit? We’ve got you covered with our top 10 must-do accessible winter activities in the Greater Vancouver and surrounding area.
1. Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village | On now until January 4th
Travel back in time when you check out Burnaby’s free annual Heritage Christmas attraction. Strolling through the village streets is bound to get you thinking about the good ol’ days. Encounter street performers, hear beautiful carols from community choirs and musicians, and partake in family-favourite activities like crafts, baking, and visits with Santa. In addition to all of the holiday magic, you can tour the entire site when you take on a FREE scavenger hunt. To participate, all you need to do is grab scavenger hunt cards at the gates or at the village ice cream parlour. Visit the Burnaby Village Museum website for details.
2. Lights at Lafarge | On now until January 20th
Visit Lafarge Lake park this holiday season and take in the sights of twinkling lights that encircle 1.2 kilometres of the Lafarge Lake loop. The loop is divided into over ten zones including a winter lights entry gate, fantasy forest, woodland creatures, illuminated flowers, mushrooms, and Canadian symbols. Each night, the lights will turn on at approximately 4:30 pm, transforming Lafarge into the perfect spot to grab some fresh air and cozy up with friends, your significant other, or simply spend quality time with family! Be sure to watch out for new surprises and additions to the light displays this year. This amazing spectacle is free.
3. Christmas at Canada Place | On now until January 3rd
Enter an enchanted wonderland when you visit Canada Place. All are welcome to enjoy a magical walkway filled with Christmas lights, trees, and elaborate window displays of Christmas scenes with animatronic characters and holiday decor. Not only this but the Canadian trail will feature lights, Christmas trees, and a 15-foot tall illuminated moose named “Christmoose.” Every weekend until 2:00 pm, visitors will also be able to enjoy Christmas music sung by live performers. Please note that they will be closing early at 6:00 pm on Monday, December 31 for New Year’s Eve. Check out their website for details.
4. Christmas in the Village of Fort Langley | December 14th – December 16th
This 3-day Christmas Farmer’s Market will feature live music and caroling, Santa and his elves, and the chance to win a turkey dinner prize basket from JD Farms! This year, the town will be themed after Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”. Shop for festive goodies and indulge in baked goods, craft beer, and wine from local vendors. While you’re there, pop into Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe, just across from the historic train station. The shop’s charming, quaint, and colourful personality will surely get you into the holiday spirit. Try their signature sticky cinnamon buns and warm up with a gingerbread latte to make your sweet festive memories come alive.
5. Vancouver Christmas Market | On now until December 23rd
This year’s Vancouver Christmas Market is bigger, better, and brighter than ever! The annual event features over 80 huts full of authentic German sweets, treats, and treasures along with exciting Christmas attractions! Newly added to the 2018 market are Instagrammable spots like a Lovers’ Lane which consists of a Love Lock Installation, a sleek new WunderBAR, and a Winterdeck with stunning views of Vancouver’s North Shore. There is also live entertainment from a flying stage 10 feet above the market. It’s the perfect event to bring your friends, family, and significant other to! Are you a caregiver interested in attending with someone you support? Show your registered caregiver card to staff at the beginning of the transaction for free admission. Jack Poole Plaza is a fully accessible venue, and additional measures are implemented through the market for accessibility. There are also wheelchair accessible toilets on site. Adult entry is $12, senior entry is $11, and youth 7-12 can enter for $5. Head over to their website for $2 off your ticket!
6. Christmas Glow | On now until January 19th
Winter weather getting you down? Visit Langley’s Milner Village Garden Centre and cozy on up at the biggest indoor Christmas festival in Greater Vancouver! This year, Glow will be even brighter with their new theme, “The Warmth of the Season”. Explore “Glow Around the World” light gardens, shop for unique trinkets in their market, or take a ride on Glen the Glow-comotive. With food trucks, bars, and live entertainment, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to tell Santa your Christmas wish list! Online admission prices range from $16.99 for seniors and children 4 and up, to $22.99 for adults. Free entry into Glow is offered for caregivers accompanying the people they support. Simply show proper identification to receive this special deal. ID such as an Access2 card are valid. More information can be found here.
7. Bright Nights at Stanley Park | On now until January 5th
The Bright Nights Christmas Train is twinkling with over 3 million lights for its 21st year this season. Hop on board this festive train and wind through Stanley Park’s iconic sparkling forest. Experience the lights, dazzling displays, and live performers along the route.
Artists from our very own Alternative Creations Studio have continuously lent a hand in creating some of the Bright Nights displays. Check out their amazing work from last year’s Frosty the Snowman theme! What have they been working hard at this year? Stay tuned to find out! Partial proceeds from your ticket sales and all donations ($5 suggested) go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. Over $1.4 million has been raised to help burn survivors and their families since 1998. Tickets range from $10-$15 depending on the time. Click here to purchase.
8. VanDusen Festival of Lights | On now until January 6th
Feel the enchantment of the holiday season when you lay your eyes on over one million dazzling lights covering 15 acres of the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. This year’s Festival of Lights returns just in time to transform the scenic gardens into a magical winter wonderland! Most paths are paved and fully accessible for wheelchairs. However, it’s important to note that the Heather Garden, Black Garden, and Gingko Garden are not fully accessible. With interactive themed areas, dancing light shows, candles, and Kris Kringle himself, there won’t be a dull moment in sight! There will also be savoury and tasty treats from local food trucks and vendors to keep you warm and toasty throughout the night. Admission price is $18.50 for adults, $14.25 for seniors and youth age 13-18, and $11 for children. All tickets include a free ride on the Christmas carousel. Buy yours here.
9. Lights on the Lake at Harrison Hot Springs | On now until January 28th
Add this brand new free attraction your list of holiday traditions! Harrison Hot Springs is hosting their first ever Lights on the Lake event. Saunter through the Christmas Tree Trail and keep your eyes peeled for Harry the Sasquatch, the mythical creature known to roam the forest. This event even inspired a local resident to write a children’s story on Sasquatch Harry’s cousin Hugh and his adventure to save Christmas with his new found friend, Tara Lynn! Be sure to check out the lights and decor at the Plaza too. You may feel as though you’ve stepped into the whimsical town of Whoville! Visit Tourism Harrison to learn more.
10. King Arthur’s Court – Annual Christmas Pantomime (Relaxed Performance) | December 22th
What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a little live theatre! Follow the story of Arthur as he grows from boy to king and partake in his adventures with Merlin, Guinevere, and Knights of the Round Table. Metro Theatre offers a relaxed performance to audiences with sensory processing and communication disorders, individuals who identify on the Autism spectrum, and other learning disabilities and sensitivities. Audience members are free to make noise and come and go throughout the show. Light and audio levels will also be adjusted. Purchase your tickets here to experience this whimsical tale.