Home Vancouver Monthly Calendar DECEMBER Events in Vancouver in 2023 North Vancouver’s Shipyards Christmas Festival in Lower Lonsdale

North Vancouver’s Shipyards Christmas Festival in Lower Lonsdale

Shipyards Christmas Festival

The Shipyards Christmas Festival is a community event featuring live music and an artisan market at North Vancouver’s Shipbuilders’ Square in December.

Now called the Spirit of the Season Festival, in 2023 the event takes place on Saturday, December 2nd. After that date, and for the rest of the holiday season, there are still lots of beautiful Christmas lights to enjoy. On December 2nd though, that’s when the City of North Vancouver’s official Christmas tree gets lit up!

Below you’ll find information about what’s happening at the Spirit of the Season Festival this year.


Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market


Spirit of the Season Celebration at the Shipyards

Communities all across the Lower Mainland hold winter holiday celebrations where they light their city’s giant Christmas trees, offer family-friendly activities and enjoy live entertainment. The kickoff for the Spirit of the Season Celebration is the City of North Vancouver’s official Christmas event and it’s free!

The North Shore event usually takes place in the Shipyards District in the afternoon and evening of the Saturday of the first weekend in December (with the artisan market continuing on the Sunday too).

In 2022 the festival happens on Saturday, December 3rd, from 3:00 until 7:00 pm (or possibly until even a bit later). On the same weekend there is the Made in the 604 Market. It takes place at the Shipyards on both December 3rd and 4th and then again on December 17th and 18th. It’s a great market!


Shipbuilders' Square at Shipyards Christmas Festival
Shipyards Christmas Festival at Shipbuilders’ Square


Festival Location

The Spirit of the Season Festival takes place in and around Shipbuilders’ Square. The square is located at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver just a short walk from Lonsdale Quay and the SeaBus Terminal. The Square’s address is 15 Wallace Mews. It’s just behind the Tap and Barrel restaurant and Pinnacle Hotel.

In addition to outdoor entertainment and activities, at the event there is also an artisan market in the Pipe Shop. The  Pipe Shop is at 115 Victory Ship Way right at Shipbuilders’ Square.


Festivals Date and Schedule

A number of activities take place throughout the event, while some occur at specific times. In 2022 the festival itself runs from 3:00 until 7:00 pm. The Artisan Market, meanwhile, goes from 12:00 to 6:00 pm in the Pipe Shop and then again the following day at the same times.

In 2022 North Vancouver’s Mayor lights up the Christmas tree sometime between 4:00 and 4:30 pm on the Saturday. Some years Mr. and Mrs. Claus are there to help too.

The same as other years, entertainment at the event in 2022 includes live music and dance performances. Costumed characters walk around as well. Other activities include lantern-making, storytelling, craft activities and other fun things. There is also free hot chocolate and food trucks are on site.


Balloon-Twisting Man
Balloon animal-making at the Shipyards


Festival Costs & Activities

The Shipyards Christmas event is free to attend, although donations benefiting local charities are welcome. Most of the activities at the festival are free too.

At the event there is an artisan market along with live entertainment and other family-friendly fun. Admission to the market is also free.

In addition to the actual festival event, live entertainment usually takes place in and around Shipyard Commons during the 10 or so days leading up to Christmas Day. In 2019 there was live entertainment every day during that period from 4:00 until 7:00 pm, and visits by Santa Claus between December 20th and 22nd. 2022 details, however, are to be confirmed.


Made in the 604 Holiday Pop-Up Markets


Christmas Artisan Markets

A couple of holiday artisan markets take place at the Shipyards in December in 2022. The Made in the 604 Market is the one that happens on the day of the festival, on December 3rd in 2022. At the market there are dozens of local artisan vendors selling everything from handmade soaps to homemade sauces to Christmas cards and other products.

Last year the market during the Shipyards Christmas event was the Shipyards Christmas Market (which is unrelated to the Made in the 604 Market). It too features dozens of local artisans and in 2022 it takes place on the weekend of December 10th and 11th.

2022 dates for the artisan markets at the Pipe Shop at the Shipyards are the following:


Christmas Market at the Shipyards
Shipyards Christmas Market in the Pipe Shop


Festival Entertainment

In addition to the Made in the 604 Market and various child-friendly activities, at North Vancouver’s Shipyards Spirit of the Season Festival there is also live entertainment on the outdoor stage when possible.

The entertainment schedule for the December 3rd event in 2022 is the following.

  • 2:00 pm – Le Patin Libre Ice Skating Performance (in the Skate Plaza)
  • 2:45 pm – Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive (at Shipbuilders’ Square)
  • 3:00 pm – Indigenous Welcome Ceremony & Blessing (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 3:40 pm – Eagle Song Dancers Performance (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 4:00 pm – Mayor’s Speech & Holiday Tree Lighting (at Shipbuilders’ Stage and Foot of Lonsdale Avenue)
  • 4:35 pm – Ridgeway School Band Performance (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 5:20 pm – Perform Arts Dance Performance (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 5:40 pm – Method of Modern Movement Dance Performance (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 6:00 pm – Le Patin Libre Feature Ice Skating Show (in the Skate Plaza)
  • 6:30 pm – Carson Graham Vocal Jazz Choir (at Shipbuilders’ Stage)
  • 7:00 pm – Le Patin Libre Ice Skating Performance (in the Skate Plaza)
  • 7:30 pm – Casey Thomas-Burns Christmas Quartet Jazz Group (in the Skate Plaza)


Shipyards Christmas Festival Concert
Live Music in Shipbuilders’ Square


Other Shipyards Christmas Entertainment

In addition to the festival and markets on the first couple of weekends in December in the past, live entertainment has also taken place at Shipyard Commons (at the ice-skating area) in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Entertainment in 2019 happened daily between 4:00 and 7:00 pm from December 13th until December 24th. Live music performances included the following between 5:00 and 7:00 pm each day that year (and 2022 details are to be confirmed):

  • Friday, Dec. 13th (2019)Caminando Carolers
  • Saturday, Dec. 14th (2019)Angelus Singers
  • Sunday, Dec. 15th (2019)Caminando Carolers
  • Friday, Dec. 20th (2019)Caminando Carolers
  • Saturday, Dec. 21st (2019)Rio Samaya Band
  • Sunday, Dec. 22nd (2019)Rio Samaya Band
  • Tuesday, Dec. 24th (2019)Angelus Singers

From December 16th until the 19th, as well as on December 23rd in 2019, Jazz students from Capilano University also performed at various times.


Other Information

For further details about the Spirit of the Season Festival see the City of North Vancouver‘s website.

To learn more about the winter artisan market that takes place at the Pipe Shop in December, see our articles about the Made in the 604 Market and Shipyards Christmas Market.

For more information about the region and other things to do in the area, click North Vancouver, Lower Lonsdale, Shipyards District, North Shore or North Vancouver Christmas Events.

For ideas on other things to do over the winter holiday season, check out any of the following:


North Vancouver Christmas Activities