Some of Metro Vancouver’s best Christmas attractions are on the North Shore including at Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park and Tilford.
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, there are also great Christmas things to see and do in the Lower Lonsdale area of North Vancouver and at Dundarave in West Vancouver. For people who like shopping, there are also a number of excellent Christmas artisan markets in both November and December.
In 2020, because of COVID-19, Christmas will be different from usual. Some Christmas-themed events will likely still happen, but not all of them. Exact details are to be confirmed.
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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.
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 possibly 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 (at least in years when there’s good snow).
In 2020 the Peak of Christmas starts on Friday, November 20, and continue until January 3, 2021.
Click Peak of Christmas for more information.
CHRISTMAS ATTRACTIONS IN VANCOUVER
Some of the region’s top Christmas attractions take place within the City of Vancouver, so on the other side of the water from the North Shore. These include Bright Nights in Stanley Park, PNE WinterLights in the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition, and the multi-sensory film Soar Over Canada at FlyOver Canada at Canada Place. The free Christmas illuminations at Granville Island are also well worth checking out.
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.
This year Canyon Lights runs from December 1, 2020, until January 3, 2021, every day except for Christmas Day. Because of COVID-19 the event runs for about 4 weeks less than it has in past recent years.
Admission to this attraction in 2020 costs $54.95 for adults when purchased online. Click Canyon Lights for further details.
Holiday Hi-Light Festival
In the Gardens at Park and Tilford Mall there is usually the free Holiday Hi-Light Festival with Christmas decorations and thousands of lights, plus family nights every Friday in December prior to the 25th.
Admission is by donation with proceeds benefiting the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
Note: This event has been CANCELLED for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
Last year it was on Saturday, November 30th. In 2020 the live in-person festival has been cancelled. Something might still be happening, however, but if so then only online.
Dundarave Festival of Lights
West Vancouver celebrates the Christmas season with its Festival of Lights event at Dundarave Beach. Area businesses and community organizations decorate Christmas trees which are then on display for the month of December. They 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 special Saturday events took place on November 30th and December 7, 14 & 21. In 2020 the festival just features the Forest of Miracles Christmas tree displays. No live events are happening because of COVID-19.
Click Dundarave Festival of Lights 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.
We don’t expect the event to be happening in 2020. Exact details, however, are to be confirmed.
North Shore Christmas Craft Markets
November and December are usually “Christmas craft fair season” in the Lower Mainland and 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 took place on the North Shore in 2019 included the following (none of which are happening in 2020, but hopefully will again in 2021):
Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 – 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 $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 has been CANCELLED in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully it can happen again in 2021.
For more information click STA Christmas Craft Fair.
November 23rd & 24th, 2019 – the NV Holiday Bazaar
Celebrating its 7th anniversary in 2019, this is a medium-sized Christmas craft market that takes place at the West Vancouver Community Centre at 2121 Marine Drive from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event featured around 50 or so artisan vendors and admission is free.
This event likely isn’t happening in 2020. Whether it ever happens again is also to be determined.
Click NV Holiday Bazaar for more information.
November 30th & December 1st, 2019 – 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 30th, 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).
To our knowledge, neither the festival nor the artisan market are happening in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
December 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th, 2019 – the 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 last year. 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.
To our knowledge, this event is not happening in 2020. Hopefully it will again though another year in the future.
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