Family First Night is an annual New Year’s Eve event at North Vancouver‘s Mt. Seymour ski resort that includes fireworks, sledding and entertainment.
It’s a fabulous family-friendly event and highly recommended.
NOTE: The event was cancelled in 2019 due to heavy rain. The 2020 event was also cancelled, but this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event didn’t take place in 2021 for the same reason. It doesn’t appear to be happening in 2022 either.
For information about December 31st events that take place elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, see our articles about Vancouver New Year’s Celebrations or New Year’s Eve Events for Adults.
Below you’ll find information about the following topics:
Admission | First Night Activities | Entertainment | Tobogganing, Tubing and Snowshoeing | Food | Other Activities | Fireworks | Tips & Advice | Other Information
Click on any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading for full details.
Family First Night at Mt. Seymour
Mt. Seymour’s Family First Night use to be the longest running annual family-friendly New Year’s Eve event on Vancouver’s North Shore. 2000 tickets were available and most years the event sold out.
Family First Night used to run on December 31st most years from 5:30 until 8:30 pm, which was great as it was early enough for young families with early bedtimes, but also for older folk wanting to stay up late and see the New Year elsewhere later in the evening.
Because of rising cases of COVID-19, Mt. Seymour’s annual New Year’s Eve event didn’t happen in 2021. It doesn’t appear to be taking place in 2022 either. Whether it happens again in 2023 is to be determined. Maybe it will, but maybe it won’t.
First Night Admission
Tickets for Family First Night at Mt. Seymour in 2019 cost around $30 (plus taxes) per person ages 3 and older. This compares to $25 in previous years. Future details are to be determined.
Admission in the past included laser tobogganing, snowshoeing, s’mores, a scavenger hunt activity, face painting, crafts, family-friendly entertainment and the end-of-evening fireworks. Also included in the ticket price was free shuttle service to and from Parkgate Village at the bottom of the hill in North Vancouver.
Not included in the price of admission was an hour of tubing at Mt. Seymour’s Snow Tubing Park which could be purchased last time for around $15 (but was limited to just 390 participants). Also, tobogganing was free most years, but the toboggans weren’t – you needed to bring your own or buy a sliding carpet at the event.
First Night Activities
The celebrations at Family First Night used to include live entertainment, laser tobogganing, snacks, fire juggling performers and fireworks. There were clowns and a magician to watch, s’mores to cook, fires to keep warm at, slopes to slide down and lantern-lit snowshoe trails to explore.
At the New Year’s Eve event there were also food vendors to buy food from and complimentary party favours.
One thing that was really nice about the December 31st event at Mt. Seymour was the fact that there were so many different things to do. The tobogganing and snowshoeing were ongoing and there was some kind of live entertainment happening pretty much all evening.
New Year’s Entertainment
At Family First Night there were a couple of entertainment venues. The last time we went there was a covered area featuring live music as well as an open outdoor stage where magicians performed and fire shows took place. On the outdoor stage performances ran for 15 or 20 minutes or so, there was a short break, and then the next act came on.
TIP #1: The magic and fire shows are popular. If you find you can’t see very well, wait for the next show. At the end of a performance most of the crowd leaves and then returns a few minutes later when the next show starts up. Arrive a few minutes after a show, but at least 5 minutes before the next, and you’ll have a good chance of getting a front-row position (which is especially important for little people).
TIP #2: Especially for the magic shows (which can be harder to see), but also for the fire shows, the best place to watch from is close to the stage at the front.
Tobogganing, Tubing & Sledding
The tobogganing and snowshoeing at the Family First Night event was free, but you had to provide your own sled or buy one at the venue. Tubing cost extra and had to be booked in advance. Snowshoe equipment was provided for free. All three activities were a blast!
When we went a couple of years ago the line-ups for the tobogganing and tubing were both quite reasonable. In fact, whereas the queues to get free s’mores and to buy hot dogs were pretty long, the wait times for sliding were surprisingly minimal.
In past years there were a couple of food trucks you could buy food from at Family First Night, like hot dogs and drinks. Free chocolate, marshmallows and graham cracker ingredients were also given out all evening for making s’mores by the fire pits.
TIP: The lineups for food, especially the free s’mores, can get pretty long. If hungry, arrive at the start and head to the food stations early, or eat beforehand. And if you really don’t want to wait in a long line to get a free marshmallow and a bit of chocolate, but you know your kids really will, take a chocolate bar or something else that you can bribe them with or console them with if you find the lineup just isn’t worth the effort.
At Family First Night there was also a face-painting station, arts and crafts opportunities and a couple of clowns that wander around. It was a very family-friendly event and great for young children. Don’t forget your camera for photos with the clowns!
The fireworks at Mt. Seymour on New Year’s Eve were pretty good. They weren’t huge, and they only lasted about 4 minutes, but they were a perfect way to end the year and the night.
The fireworks blasted off from the far side of the tubing park, a fair distance away from the crowds. People started to gather 15 minutes or so before 9 o’clock. Positions right up close to the barrier ropes were a good place to see from, but so too was much further back. The fireworks shot pretty high into the sky, so unless you were short and right behind a crowd, you had a fine chance of getting a good view.
Tips & Advice
Below are some suggestions and tips to help you make the most out of your experience at Mt. Seymour’s First Night New Year’s Eve event if and when it happens again in the future.
TIP #1: If driving up the hill, make sure your vehicle has good winter tires. Winter tires are mandatory on the road up – if you don’t have them you may get turned back. Also if driving, head up early to beat the crowds and traffic.
TIP #2: Instead of driving up, take advantage of the free shuttle service. You can leave your car in the overflow parking lot just north of Parkgate Village in North Vancouver on Mt. Seymour Road. This way you don’t have to worry about the roads (which a couple of years ago were especially bad).
TIP #3: The complimentary shuttle buses usually leave the Parkgate Community Centre starting at around 5 pm. Get there earlier than that though if you want to be on the first one or two buses.
TIP #4: Buy your tickets well in advance – many years the event sells out!
TIP #5: Don’t forget to bring your own toboggan. Bring your own snowshoes too if you have them, although complimentary snowshoe equipment is available. Note though that inflatable and custom-made toboggans as well as sleds with steering devices are not permitted.
TIP #6: Don’t forget to take your camera, snow boots and extra warm clothing.
To buy tickets or for further details about Family First Night see the Mt. Seymour website.
For more information about the ski hill in general, click Mt. Seymour.
For other things to do on December 31st, click Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebrations or New Year’s Eve Fireworks.
For a list of things to do in the New Year, see Vancouver’s January Calendar of Events.