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.
The Christmas lights at Park and Tilford did not happen in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the gardens themselves were even closed to the public.
In 2021 the garden was open and the lights were up throughout the month of December. There weren’t firefighters at the entrance though, or entertainment and family-friendly activities on Friday evenings. For 2021 there was just all the pretty lights.
North Van Christmas Lights
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.
Holiday Hi-Light Festival Details
In 2019 Park and Tilford‘s Holiday Hi-Light Festival was open nightly from November 29th until December 31st. In 2021 the lights were up between December 1st and December 31st.
Located at 333 Brooksbank Avenue in North Vancouver, admission to the Holiday Hi-Light Festival is usually by donation with funds going to the City and District of North Vancouver Fire Fighter Societies, which are excellent charitable causes.
In years without pandemics, the best times to visit (but also the most crowded) are on Friday evenings during Family Nights. Those nights typically feature live entertainment, hot chocolate and appearances by Santa Claus. In past years, Family Nights has taken place on the four Friday evenings that lead up to Christmas Day.
In 2019 Family Nights at the Holiday Hi-Light Festival ran from 5:30 to 9:00 pm on November 29, December 6, 13 and 20. There was also live entertainment on the festival’s opening night from 7 to 10 pm. In 2021 there were no Family Nights. Hopefully they can happen again in 2022.
The Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park & 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 non-Family Night evenings 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 of November 29th and December 6th, 13th and 20th in 2019. 2022 dates and details are to be confirmed.
Friday, November 29, 2019
Opening Night activities ran from 7:00 until 10:00 pm and included hot chocolate and the following entertainers:
- Scruffles the Elf Balloons
- Sea Star Face Painting
- Light Angel
Friday, December 6, 13 & 20, 2019
Family Nights on December 6th, 13th and 20th ran from 5:00 until 9:00 pm with entertainment beginning between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Folk saw the following in 2019:
- SeaStar Face Painting
- Light Angel
- Scruffles the Elf (Balloons)
- The Grinch (December 6 and 13)
- Santa Claus (from 5:30 until 8:30 pm)
Kids Saturday Night Fire Engine Rides
New for 2019 were Fire Engine Rides for Kids on the Saturdays of November 30th, December 7th, 14th and 21st. Kids could ride the fire engine for a donation of $5 or more. In addition, Santa Claus was available on the above nights for photos. Hopefully future years will be the same!
About the Park & Tilford Gardens
The Park & Tilford Gardens were built in the late 1960s when the property was owned by a distillery. They are 3-acres in size and include eight different themed gardens. Over the Christmas season the venue is decorated with over 150,000 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 & 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 in the evenings from the end of November until the end of December.
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