The Shipyards Christmas Festival is a community event featuring live music and an artisan market at North Vancouver’s Shipbuilders’ Square in December.
Below you’ll find information about the festival in years when it does take place.
In 2021 the festival takes place on Saturday, December 4th. After that date, and for the rest of the holiday season, there are still lots of beautiful Christmas lights to enjoy.
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 late afternoon and evening of the Saturday of the first weekend in December (with the artisan market continuing on the Sunday too).
In 2021 the event happens on Saturday, December 4th, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. The Shipyards Christmas Market, meanwhile, runs from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm (but possibly later) on the Saturday and then again on the Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The market then happens again the following weekend, on December 11th & 12th.
The Shipyards Christmas Festival usually 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 most years. The Pipe Shop is at 115 Victory Ship Way right at Shipbuilders’ Square.
MONOVA MUSEUM GRAND OPENING!
The Museum of North Vancouver, or MONOVA, opens its doors for the first time on Saturday, December 4th, in 2021 (so on the same day as the Kickoff Day for the Spirit of the Season Celebration). On the day admission to the museum is free!
Festivals Date and Schedule
A number of activities take place throughout the evening, while some occur at specific times. In 2021 the festival itself runs from 4:00 until 7:00 pm. The Artisan Market, meanwhile, goes from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in the Pipe Shop. The market continues on the Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
In 2021 North Vancouver’s Mayor, along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, light up the Christmas tree at 4:30 pm on the Saturday.
Entertainment at the event in 2021 includes live music and dance performances. Costumed characters will be walking around as well. Other activities include lantern-making, storytelling, an ornament-making workshop, Christmas bike carolling, fun with snowball catapults and more.
At the 2019 event free hot chocolate, coffee and tea were also available for everyone, as were kettle corn and popcorn. Whether or not this is the case again in 2021 is to be confirmed, but expect to see some food trucks at the event.
Festival Costs & Activities
The Shipyards Christmas Festival is a free event, although donations benefiting local charities are welcome. Most of the activities at the festival are free too.
At the event most years, there is an artisan market, along with live entertainment and other family-friendly fun.
In addition to the actual festival event, live entertainment also 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 until 7 pm, and visits by Santa Claus between December 20th and 22nd. It’s unclear whether all that will happen in 2021 as of late November.
Live music at the Shipyards between December 13th and 24th in 2019 included performances by the Caminando Carolers, Rio Samaya Band, Angelus Singers and CapU Jazz Students (with most on stage between around 5 and 7 pm).
Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market
In 2019 the Shipyards Christmas Market took place indoors at the Pipe Shop by Shipbuilders’ Square on Saturday, November 30th, from around 1:00 until 9:00 pm. At the market each year there are dozens of local artisan vendors selling everything from handmade soaps to homemade sauces to Christmas cards and other products.
The market was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The market returns though in 2021 (on the first two weekends of December)!
When the market does happen, it usually features dozens of vendors. Admission is free, which is awesome, but they also collect donations benefiting the North Shore Neighbourhood House which is a very worthwhile charity.
2021 dates for the Shipyard Christmas Market are the following:
- Saturday, December 4th – from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
- Sunday, December 5th – from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm
- Saturday, December 11th – from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
- Sunday, December 12th – from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm
In addition to the Artisan Market and various child-friendly activities, at North Vancouver’s Shipyards Christmas Festival there is also live entertainment on the outdoor stage when possible.
The entertainment schedule for 2019 was the following. There is not a set live entertainment schedule for 2021 as of late November, but if there is to be one it will likely be comparable.
- 3:20 pm – Lynnmour Elementary School Choir
- 4:00 pm – Sue Breton (a kid-friendly entertainer)
- 5:15 pm – the CapU Jazz Holiday Trio
- 6:00 pm – Seymour Dance School (performing a Nutcracker dance)
Other Shipyards Christmas Entertainment
In addition to the festival on November 30th in 2019, and the Shipyard Christmas Markets on the first couple of weekends in December, live entertainment also took place at Shipyard Commons (at the ice skating area) between December 13th and Christmas Eve.
Entertainment in 2019 happened daily between 4:00 and 7:00 pm from Friday, December 13th, until Tuesday, December 24th. Live music performances included the following between 5:00 and 7:00 pm each day (and 2021 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. 2021 details are to be confirmed.
For further details about the Shipyards Christmas Festival see the City of North Vancouver‘s website.
To learn more about the winter artisan market at the event that occurs in years without a pandemic, visit the North Vancouver Shipyards District website or check out our article about the Shipyards Christmas Market.
For ideas on other things to do over the winter holiday season, check out any of the following:
- Best Christmas Activities
- Vancouver’s December Calendar of Events
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- Vancouver Winter Activities