There are also great holiday activities and festive displays at Park and Tilford in North Vancouver and at Dundarave in West Vancouver. A number of great Christmas-themed markets also happen this time of year on the North Shore.
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Christmas Attractions in North and West Vancouver
In years when there isn’t a pandemic there are some amazing Christmas attractions over the holiday season in the Lower Mainland. See below for some of the best.
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge
At the Capilano Suspension Bridge there is Canyon Lights which features amazing Christmas decorations and illuminations, as well as lit up bridges above the canyon and through the trees. It’s one of Vancouver’s top attractions and especially amazing during the winter holiday season.
This year Canyon Lights runs from November 20, 2021, until January 23, 2022. It’s open every day except for Christmas Day.
Canyon Lights Video
The following video is of the Cliff Walk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge attraction during the Canyon Lights Christmas season. The Cliff Walk is just one of many areas lit up at night between late November and January each year.
To learn about all the other things to see and do at the attraction during the winter holiday season, see our article about Canyon Lights. In that article is a video showing all the many other beautiful Christmas-y scenes.
Holiday Hi-Light Festival
In the Gardens at Park and Tilford Mall there is usually the free Holiday Hi-Light Festival with holiday decorations and thousands of lights, plus family nights every Friday in December prior to the Christmas Day.
Admission is by donation with proceeds benefiting the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
Note: This event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The entire garden was closed for a number of months this past year, but it reopened towards the end of the summer. The Christmas lights and decorations will be up in 2021, but there won’t be any live entertainment or family-friendly activities.
Click Holiday Hi-Light Festival for more information.
Christmas in Lower Lonsdale
North Vancouver’s Lower Lonsdale neighbourhood usually celebrates the holiday season with the Shipyards Christmas Festival which is a wonderful family-friendly (and free) event.
A couple of years ago it was on Saturday, November 30. Last year the live in-person festival was cancelled due to COVID, although the area was still wonderfully decorated and great to explore.
The Shipyards and Lower Lonsdale District will be lit up with Christmas lights again in 2021. The Shipyards Festival will also likely be happening, but with dates and other details to be confirmed.
See our article about the Shipyards Christmas Festival to learn more.
Dundarave Festival of Lights
West Vancouver celebrates the Christmas season with its Festival of Lights event at Dundarave Beach.
During the event area businesses and community organizations decorate Christmas trees which are then on display for the month of December. The decorations are pretty to see at night, and on the four Saturdays leading up to Christmas there is usually live entertainment and other family-friendly activities at the beach (although not in 2020).
Last year the festival just featured the Forest of Miracles Christmas tree displays. No live events took place because of COVID-19.
Hopefully the four days of live performances can happen in 2021. If they do they’ll likely be on the Saturdays of November 20 and December 4, 11 and 18. Exact details, however, are to be confirmed.
Click Dundarave Festival of Lights for more information.
Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain
At Grouse Mountain there is the Peak of Christmas which includes outdoor skating and more. Most years there are also sleigh rides, gingerbread house displays and holiday movies (although not in 2020 due to COVID-19). And that’s not including all the great skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing that take place up on Grouse Mountain all winter long.
Last year the Peak of Christmas started on Friday, November 20th, and continued until January 3rd, 2021. Dates for the 2021/22 season are November 25th until January 3rd.
Click Peak of Christmas for more information.
Carol Ships Shoreline Celebration
The Carol Ships Shoreline Celebration usually takes place on a Saturday evening in mid-December. It’s a free event that features a massive bonfire, live music, kid-friendly activities and a procession of boats decorated with Christmas lights at Panorama Park in Deep Cove.
The event didn’t happen in 2020. Details for 2021 are to be confirmed.
North Shore Christmas Craft Markets
November and December are usually “Christmas craft fair season” in the Lower Mainland. The North Shore offers some of the best places to find products made by both local and international artisans.
Christmas craft markets feature all kinds of handmade products. They are fabulous places to buy unique and quality gifts. Products that you’ll typically find at a holiday market include fancy candles, handmade jewellery, exotic soaps, knitted products, greeting cards, homemade preserves, glass work and a wide range of other products that make ideal gifts.
Some of the best craft markets that take place on the North Shore are below.
Ambleside Holiday Market
The Ambleside Holiday Market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays between early November and the weekend before Christmas. During its last four weeks it’s part of the Dundarave Festival of Lights.
This market takes place at 1355 Bellevue Avenue in West Vancouver between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. It’s an outdoor event, but in a covered plaza.
To learn more click Ambleside Holiday Market.
The Shipyards Christmas Festival
North Vancouver’s main winter holiday event where the city’s Christmas tree gets officially lit up took place at the Shipyards in Lower Lonsdale on Saturday, November 30 in 2019. At the event there is usually an artisan market in the Pipe Shop (which is a heritage building at Shipbuilders’ Square right in the heart of the festival).
The Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market is a great market that features dozens of local artisan vendors. In 2019 the market was open from 1:00 until 9:00 pm on the Saturday (so the same day as the Shipyards Christmas Festival). It was also open the following day, so on Sunday, December 1st, from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
In years when it does take place, admission to the market is free on both days. They gratefully accept donations at the door, however, and give whatever they collect to the North Shore Neighbourhood House (which is a very worthwhile cause).
Neither the festival nor the artisan market happened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021 the market takes place on the weekends of December 4th & 5th and 11th & 12th. Details about the festival, however, are to be confirmed.
Shipyards Christmas Market
Put on by the same folk behind the above-mentioned artisan market at North Vancouver’s Shipyards Christmas Festival, 50 or so vendors participated in this craft fair last year which again happened at the Pipe Shop at Shipbuilders’ Square. The address of the venue is 115 Victory Ship Way.
The Shipyards Christmas Market happened on the first two weekends in December a couple of years ago. On both Saturdays it ran from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm and on the Sundays between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. Admission was free, although donations benefiting the North Shore Neighbourhood House were greatly appreciated.
The event didn’t happen last year, but will in 2021. The market’s dates this year are the Saturdays and Sundays of December 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th.
The St. Thomas Aquinas Christmas Craft Fair
This large and very popular market features around 130 artisan vendors and takes place at Saint Thomas Aquinas Secondary School at 541 West Keith Road in North Vancouver. It usually happens on the first Saturday in November between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Admission to the fair costs about $5 for adults and $2 for seniors. Admission for both elementary and high school students is free. It’s a great event that’s well-known for the quality of its products.
This event was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully it can happen again in 2021. If not, then maybe in 2022.
For more information click STA Christmas Craft Fair.
All of the above attractions are among the Lower Mainland’s best places to see Christmas Lights and enjoy the festive holiday season.
For more ideas on other great places to see Christmas lights in the Lower Mainland, check out Top Things to do at Christmas.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s November and December Calendars of Events
- Lower Mainland Christmas Craft Fairs
- Vancouver’s Best Christmas Activities
- Vancouver Theatre in December
- Vancouver Christmas Concerts
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills