Yule Duel is a festive Christmas event in Vancouver where dozens of area choirs sing carols in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in December.
In past years it has taken place in historic Gastown. In 2019 though the event had a new location, outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, in the North Plaza by Howe Street and Georgia.
The event didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. As far as we can tell, as of the last time we checked, it doesn’t look like it’s happening in 2022 either. Hopefully it’ll be back again in 2023 (although exact details are to be determined).
Vancouver’s Christmas Yule Duel
In normal years, Yule Duel: Caroling for a Cause happens on the first Thursday of December. In 2019 it was on December 5th and it ran from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. In 2020 the event was cancelled and it looks like this was the case again in 2021.
The past couple of years have featured special guest performers like The Carnival Band and Marcus Mosley. They both performed in 2018, as did Grammy award-winner Dutch Robinson. Dozens of local choirs usually participate too.
If you like choirs and Christmas carols, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.
What Happens at Yule Duel
Yule Duel is typically a two-and-a-half-hour event where twenty or so different choirs of varying sizes and experience perform in the streets (of Gastown in the past and just outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2019).
In past years, on the night, you could expect Gastown to be decorated in sparkling Christmas lights, to see lots of people and to be entertained by beautiful festive seasonal music. 2019 was the same, but at its new venue.
At the event people wander around the street listening to the various choirs and then vote for their favourites.
Yule Duel Cost & Fundraising
Yule Duel is a fundraising event where money raised usually goes to support May’s Place, a non-profit hospice that serves vulnerable and marginalized people in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
Yule Duel is a free event that is open to the public. Being a fundraiser though, people are strongly encouraged to donate and pay around $5 for a button.
Buttons are typically available at the voting booth on the event day on Water Street and they allow people to vote for their favourite choirs. Votes are cast before 7:00 pm and then at 7:30 the top competitors do their duelling!
Where and When
Yule Duel in past years has taken place along Water Street which is the main road running through Gastown and conveniently located just a few blocks east of Waterfront Station.
In 2019 the event occurred in the evening of Thursday, December 5th, from 6:00 until 9:00 pm. Dozens of choirs sang in the north plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery which is located at 750 Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver (across the street from the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel).
Yule Duel Schedule
Below is a sample schedule for Yule Duel from 2019. Future schedules will likely be similar.
- 5:30 pm – Opening Act
- 6:00 pm – Event Kicks Off
- 6:00 pm – Choir Carolling
- 7:00 pm – Main Stage program commences
- 7:30 pm – Sing-offs followed by presentations of awards.
- 8:30 pm – Yule Duel Closing
2019 Yule Duel Choirs
Choirs that participated in the Yule Duel: Caroling for a Cause event in 2019 include the following:
- KPMG – The Caroling Crew (participants since at least 2016)
- Los Parranderos de Vancouver (participants since at least 2017)
- Notre Dame Iron Men (participants since at least 2017)
- Notre Dame Platinum Girls (participants since at least 2017)
- Choralation A Cappella (participants since at least 2017)
- Mulgrave School Senior Choir (participants since at least 2017)
- St. George’s Junior School Choir
- The Northwest Collective
- Carbonated Pop
- The Hot Toddies
Other choirs that participated in the Yule Duel: Caroling for a Cause event two years ago included:
- Little Flower Academy Senior Choir
- Spiritus Liturgy Choir
- Vancouver Bach Choir’s Sarabande Choir
- Collingwood School Warblers (since 2017)
- Vancouver Pops Choir (since 2017)
- St. James Music Academy (also at the event in 2016)
- Zing! Children’s Choir (also at the event in 2016)
Some of the two dozen or so choirs that participate each year are prominent and well-established Vancouver musical groups, like Sweet Scarlet. Others are choirs from area private schools and music schools, and some are simply groups of friends or co-workers coming together specifically for the Yule Duel event.
For more information on this great event, see the Yule Duel: Caroling for a Cause Facebook page.
For other Vancouver events and festive activities, check out any of the following:
- Vancouver’s November Calendar
- Vancouver’s December Calendar
- Christmas Craft Fairs
- Top Christmas Activities
- Vancouver Festivals & Events