Shipyards Skating Rink

Free ice skating takes place in North Vancouver’s Shipyards District in winter. In December there are also Christmas decorations and other activities.

The Shipyards District’s Skate Plaza operates from December 1st until late March during the 2023/2024 season.


Christmas and Ice Skating at the Shipyards

North Vancouver‘s Shipyards and Lower Lonsdale District is where you’ll find holiday lights and decorations during the Christmas season. It’s also where you can go ice skating for free at Shipyard Commons between December and February each year.


Shipyards Skate Plaza

The Shipyards is home to the biggest outdoor skating rink in the region. At around 12,000 square feet it’s twice the size of the Robson Square skating rink in downtown Vancouver. Both venues are free to enjoy for all. Skates though cost extra to rent.

The Skate Plaza is part of Shipyard Commons which is by the waterfront in the Lower Lonsdale District of North Vancouver. It opened to the public for the first time in the 2019/2020 winter season. It was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, but started back up again in December 2021.

The Skate Plaza opened for the 2023/2024 season on Friday, December 1st. It’s scheduled to remain open until late March, weather permitting.

Admission is normally free for those who have their own skates. For those who don’t have skates, these can be rented for a reasonable price. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children. The rink is open to the public from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm most days. The Plaza closes for about 30 minutes every day at 3:00 pm and again at 5:30 pm for cleaning.


North Vancouver Shipyards in Snow
The Shipyards in Snow


The Shipyards’ Celebrate the Season in North Vancouver

Part of the Lower Lonsdale district, the Shipyards is home to a number of events throughout the year. In December, it becomes a centre for the city of North Vancouver’s Christmas holiday celebrations.

The area’s biggest event during the winter holidays is the Spirit of the Season Celebration which takes place in early December. In 2023 it happens on Saturday, December 2nd.

There are also other events to check out in December like holiday markets. And for the whole holiday season there are plenty of beautiful lights to see. The area is always quite festive! Further below is a video from a previous year to give you an idea of what you can expect at the Shipyards in December.


North Vancouver's Lower Lonsdale Christmas Tree
Christmas in North Vancouver


Spirit of the Season Celebration

This event serves as the opening to the City of North Vancouver’s holiday celebrations. It’s free to attend and in 2023 happens on December 2nd from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The Spirit of the Season Celebration includes live dance, music and other entertainment. There are arts and crafts activities, caroling, food and drinks, and more. At around 4:15 pm, the mayor of North Vancouver teams up with Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the big Lonsdale Christmas tree.

While the festival is free, donations are encouraged with proceeds going to different local charities.

For more information about this event, check out our Spirit of the Season Celebration article.


Spirit of the Season Video

Below you’ll find a video of the Shipyards area in December of 2020 (so in a year when there wasn’t a festival, but the place was still all lit up and looking festive). There were extra lights and decorations that year. The place is still pretty at night, but not to the same degree as it was during the height of the COVID era.



Pipe Shop Holiday Markets

The Pipe Shop is the site for a couple of different markets during the Christmas holiday season. The building is located near the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue at 115 Victory Ship Way in Shipbuilders’ Square.

The Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market runs on Saturday, December 16th and Sunday, December 17th in 2023. Admission is free.

This market has dozens of local vendors who sell a variety of products like homemade liquors, preserves, toys, jewellery, Christmas cards, desserts and more.


Christmas Market at the Pipe Shop
Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market


Other Holiday Events and Activities

There are usually other events to enjoy near the end of the month. For example, on December 23rd in 2021, there was a performance from the Artssa Skating Academy at the Skate Plaza at 6:00 pm. On Christmas Eve there was a Christmas carol singalong and story time in Shipbuilders’ Square at 4:30 pm. Then on the 31st there was a special New Years’ Eve Skate from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

For the full entertainment schedule at the Spirit of the Season Festival at the Shipyards starting on December 2nd, 2023, visit the City of North Vancouver website.

As mentioned above there are holiday lights on display the entire month of December and into January. The place is well lit at night and is a good spot to walk around and enjoy.


Outside the Pipe Shop at Christmas
Outside the Pipe Shop at Christmas


Other Information

For more information about the area in December visit the City of North Vancouver website. To learn more about the ice skating activities, click North Van Skating.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following: