Home Vancouver Monthly Calendar Festivals and Events in Vancouver 2018 Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting

2018 Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting

Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting

The Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting event takes place outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in Robson Square in late November or early December each year.

In 2018 it was on Friday, November 30th.

Christmas Tree Lighting at Robson Square in Downtown Vancouver

The City of Vancouver’s official Christmas tree lighting event usually happens between around 6:00 and 7:00 pm in Robson Square. It’s a free family-friendly event and features live entertainment, cookies and hot chocolate.

Vancouver Christmas Concerts

About the Event

The Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting event celebrates its 13th year in 2019. In past years it has taken place in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia Street between Howe and Hornby. In 2018 however, it took place on the other side of the Gallery, in Robson Square, in the 800 block of Robson Street.

At the event in 2018 there were four Christmas trees being lit up, with one of them being 76 feet tall. There was also a stage for the live performances and stations for the free cookies and hot chocolate.

In addition to being a free, fun and family-friendly community event, the occasion is also a fundraiser for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Donations collected both before and during the event benefit the work they do, which includes putting on a festival for kids on Granville Island in late May and early June.

As part of the fundraising event, attendees are encouraged to “buy” Christmas light bulbs to help light up the trees. They cost about $5 for 5 bulbs or $10 for 15 (or more if you want to be extra generous). You don’t actually get light bulbs to take home with you – they are just a symbolic way for people to donate to the charitable cause.

Christmas Tree Lighting Characters

2018 Event Entertainment

Bands performing at the event in 2018 were Side One and the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir.

Side One is an event band with different performers based in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Seattle. Their repertoire ranges from Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, the Beatles, Queen and everything in between.

The VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir is a dynamic Vancouver-based chorale group led by the charismatic Checo Tohomaso. They are lots of fun and will get your feet tapping!

Christmas Tree Lighting Crowds in Robson Square


Loden HotelThe Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting event is sponsored by a number of organizations including the Loden Hotel which offers luxury boutique accommodations at 1177 Melville Street. For details about this and other downtown Vancouver hotels see our article about StayVancouverHotels.com (which offers great deals).


Other Christmas Tree Lighting Events

The Robson Square party isn’t the only Christmas tree lighting event in the Lower Mainland. Surrey has an even bigger event on the last Saturday in November most years. It includes a full afternoon and evening of performances and family-friendly activities. The City of North Vancouver, meanwhile, usually has its official tree lighting event on the first Saturday in December.

For information about these two other events check out the Surrey Christmas Tree Lighting Festival or Shipyards Christmas Festival. For other similar events in other communities see our December Calendar.

Best Christmas Activities

Other Information

For more information about the tree lighting event in downtown Vancouver and its charitable beneficiary, see the Vancouver Children’s Festival website.

Other Christmas-y events taking place downtown that you might also want to check out, either on the same evening or another day, include Christmas at FlyOver Canada, the Vancouver Christmas Market and Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt on Burrard. Bright Nights at Stanley Park is also running as of the end of November.

For lists of other events taking place this time of year check out the following: