The Holiday Hi-Light Festival at North Vancouver’s Park and Tilford Garden is the Lower Mainland’s best outdoor shopping mall display of Christmas lights.
In 2023 the Hi-Light Festival takes place on Friday, December 1st, and the lights stay up for the rest of the month.
North Van Christmas Lights at Park & Tilford
Not many malls have their own gardens, but Park and Tilford in North Vancouver does and its holiday Christmas light displays are actually quite impressive. If you’re heading to or from the North Shore, then definitely check out the garden’s lights during the Christmas season.
Holiday Hi-Light Festival Details
The Park and Tilford’s Holiday Hi-Light Festival takes place in early December. The opening event usually runs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and features giveaways, hot chocolate, treats, carolling and more. The lights remain up in the garden until the end of the year.
Located at 333 Brooksbank Avenue in North Vancouver, admission to the Holiday Hi-Light Festival is usually free or by donation. Funds raised go to the City and District of North Vancouver Fire Fighter Societies, which are excellent charitable causes. During the 2022 festival folks dropped off gifts or food donations for the Kids Helping Kids Toy Drive.
In previous years, the best times to visit (but also the most crowded) were Friday evenings during Family Nights. Those nights featured live entertainment, hot chocolate and appearances by Santa Claus. In past years, Family Nights took place on the four Friday evenings before Christmas Day. Although there were no Family Nights in 2021 and 2022, there was a fire truck on site on Saturdays in December 2022. Details about Family Nights in 2023 are to be confirmed.
The Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park and Tilford doesn’t win top prize for lights in the Lower Mainland, but considering they are almost free and the crowds aren’t bad, they are pretty impressive. On regular nights, plan to stay for about 20 minutes, and then go for hot chocolate, some Chinese food or grocery shopping at the strip mall afterwards.
Special entertainment took place on the Family Nights in previous years. Entertainment details for 2023 are to be confirmed.
Opening Night Activities in Late November
Opening Night activities usually run from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and include hot chocolate and live entertainment. Performing at the event a few years ago were the following entertainers:
- Scruffles the Elf Balloons
- Sea Star Face Painting
- Light Angel
Family Nights in December
Family Nights in December usually run from around 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm with entertainment beginning between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm. In the past some of the entertainment activities included the following:
- SeaStar Face Painting
- Light Angel
- Scruffles the Elf (Balloons)
- The Grinch
- Santa Claus (from late afternoon to around 8:30 pm)
Kids Saturday Night Fire Engine Rides
The Fire Engine Rides for Kids was a new activity introduced in 2019 and it ran on select Saturdays. The activity ran again in 2022. During this event kids can ride a fire engine for a donation of $5 or more. 2023 details are to be confirmed.
About the Park and Tilford Gardens
The Park and Tilford Gardens were built in the late 1960s when the property was owned by a distillery. They are three acres in size and include eight different themed gardens. Over the Christmas season the venue is decorated with over 50,000 sparkling lights, which makes it especially pretty at night.
Up until the mid-1980s the distillery set up Christmas light displays in the gardens in December every year. When the distillery closed in 1984, however, that tradition ended. It wasn’t until over a dozen years later that Park and Tilford Mall started the decorations back up again and began what is known today as the Holiday Hi-Light Festival.
The Park and Tilford Gardens are pretty anytime, but usually become an attraction really worth visiting on December evenings.
For more details on the Holiday Hi-Light Festival, check out the Park and Tilford website.
For more ideas on 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:
- North Shore Christmas Events
- Canyon Lights at Capilano Bridge
- Dundarave Festival of Lights
- Vancouver’s December Calendar