In 2021 the event happened on Friday, November 26th, beginning at 6:00 pm. In 2022 it happens on Friday, December 2nd.
This is one of many free Christmas-themed events that happen in the Lower Mainland. Others include Bright Nights at Stanley Park, Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam, and the Dundarave Festival of Lights in West Vancouver.
Other fabulous Christmas attractions in the City of Vancouver include the Vancouver Christmas Market and PNE Winter Fair. There is also usually the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Garden and the Soar with Santa film at FlyOver Canada. On the North Shore there is Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Vancouver
The City of Vancouver’s official Christmas tree lighting event usually happens between around 6:00 and 7:00 pm near Robson Square. Sometimes though, including more recently, it happens in the North Plaza on the other side of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In 2022 the festivities take place on December 2nd starting at 6:00 pm. This year, the event is held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting is a free family-friendly event with live entertainment and hot chocolate.
About the Event
The Vancouver Christmas Tree Lighting event celebrates its 16th year in 2022. In past years it has taken place in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia Street between Howe and Hornby. This is where it takes place in 2022. In 2018, however, it happened on the other side of the Gallery, beside Robson Square, in the 800 block of Robson Street.
At the event there is a giant Christmas tree over 70 feet tall that gets lit up. There is also a stage for the live performances and a station for hot chocolate.
In addition to being a free, fun and family-friendly community event, the occasion is also sometimes 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 in past years, attendees are often encouraged to “buy” Christmas light bulbs to help light up the trees. They cost about $5 for 5 bulbs or $10 for 15 a couple of years ago. 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.
As of early November, the entertainment lineup for 2022 is to be confirmed.
2019 entertainment was similar to that of the previous year. Bands performing at the event in 2018 were Side One and the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir. Side One was back again in 2019.
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!
Other Christmas Tree Lighting Events
The Vancouver Art Gallery party isn’t the only Christmas tree lighting event in the Lower Mainland. Surrey has an even bigger event on a Saturday in late November. It includes a full afternoon and evening of performances and family-friendly activities.
The City of North Vancouver also has its official tree lighting event on a Saturday at either the end of November or beginning of December.
For lists of other events usually taking place this time of year check out the following:
- December Calendar of Events
- Best Christmas Activities
- Top Things to do at Christmas in Vancouver
- Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- Vancouver Christmas Concerts