Free ice skating takes place in North Vancouver’s Shipyards District in winter. In December there are also Christmas decorations and other activities.
The skating normally runs until the end of February. In 2022, however, it’s scheduled to run until March 28th (which is the last day of the school Spring Break holidays).
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 2019/20 winter season. It was closed a couple of years ago due to the pandemic but re-opened on December 2nd, 2021.
Admission is free for those who have their own skates. Skates can be rented for a reasonable price. The cost has been $7 for adults and $5 for children for the last couple of years. The rink is open to the public from 1:00 to 8:00 pm every day except for Christmas Eve (when it closes at 5:00 pm) and Christmas Day (when it’s closed entirely).
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 2021 it happened on December 4th.
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.
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 took place on December 4th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm in 2021. The date and hours in 2022 will likely be similar.
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 4:30 pm most years 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).
Pipe Shop Holiday Markets
The Pipe Shop is the site of a couple 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 had its 2021 opening on December 4th, the same day as the Spirit of the Season Celebration. It was open that day from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. The other dates for this past year were December 5th, 11th and 12th.
This market has dozens of local vendors who sell a variety of products like homemade liquors, preserves, toys, jewelry, Christmas cards, desserts and more.
Other Holiday Events and Activities
While the Shipyards Christmas Market doesn’t run every day, from December 1st, 2021 to January 3rd, 2022, you could enjoy a Taste of the North Shore. There were half a dozen huts set up along Wallace Mews providing warm apple cider and shopping throughout the holiday season.
There were other events to enjoy near the end of the month in 2021. On December 23rd 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 to 8:00 pm.
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.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Shipyards Christmas Festival
- The Shipyards Christmas Artisan Market
- Best Vancouver Christmas Activities
- Vancouver Christmas Craft Fairs