Communities across Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland host family-friendly Santa Claus parades close to Christmas time to celebrate the holiday season.
CHRISTMAS AND COVID-19
Because of COVID-19, except for a drive-thru parade in Mission, and possibly an event in Maple Ridge, to our knowledge, no live in-person Christmas parades are taking place in the Lower Mainland this year. Hopefully they can happen again in 2021!
Santa Claus Parades Around The Lower Mainland
Santa Claus parades are a great way to experience family-friendly fun and get into the holiday spirit. A number of Christmas parades take place in communities across the region. All of them are free to attend and most accept donations for worthy charitable causes.
Due to COVID-19, almost all Lower Mainland Christmas parades have been cancelled in 2020. For the most up-to-date information, it is best to refer to each parade’s official website.
Check out our list of parades below to learn more about each and to find one in or near your community.
2020’s Drive-Thru Christmas Events
A Christmas parade that might still happen in 2020 is the following one in Mission. As of mid-November the parade in Maple Ridge also hasn’t yet been cancelled. In both cases though, exact details are to be confirmed.
Mission Candlelight Parade
In years without a pandemic, the parade takes place along First Avenue and Lougheed Highway in downtown Mission. In 2019, the procession went west from around Horne Street along Lougheed Highway to Park Street. It started at about 7:30 pm and the festivities finished by 10 o’clock. Dozens of local retailers were open late that night and various restaurants in town gave out free hot drinks as well in 2019.
The revised event in 2020 is taking place on both December 4th and 5th, in a “Reverse Parade” format at Mission Raceway Park.
Click Mission Candlelight Parade for additional information.
Maple Ridge Christmas Festival
A free community Christmas event and evening parade usually takes place at the Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge. In 2019, the festival happened prior to the parade, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, and it featured crafts, photos with Santa and other family-friendly activities. The parade then took place at 6:00 pm and featured a few floats, a marching band, people on horses, a fire truck and Santa.
In 2020 the event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 5th. Whether it does or not, however, is to be determined.
For more information click Maple Ridge Christmas Festival.
Christmas Parades Happening in Typical Years
Winter holiday parades that typically take place in years when there isn’t a pandemic are listed below. Details provided are from last year. 2021 details will hopefully be similar).
Aldergrove Christmas Light Up Parade
A community Santa Claus parade in Aldergrove that began at 6:00 pm on Sunday, December 14th in 2019. There were large trucks with lights, tractors and floats participating in the parade. After the parade there was an after-party hosted at Elks Hall at 27309 Fraser Highway that featured music, crafts and other family-friendly activities.
Read our Aldergrove Christmas Light Up Parade article for more information.
Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade
A Christmas parade that happened on Saturday, December 7th, in 2019. It began at 5:30 pm and looped through downtown Chilliwack starting and finishing at Spadina Avenue. Free transit was available all day on the day of the parade so there was no need to worry about parking or traffic. The event was free and family-friendly.
Visit the Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade website for more information.
Langley Magic of Christmas
The full day event was held on Saturday, December 7th, in 2019 in Langley City. The Magic of Christmas event featured several family-friendly activities at various times throughout the day.
Breakfast with Santa last year ran from 9:00 to 11:00 am and there was live entertainment and crafts from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The Santa Claus parade took place from 6:00 to 7:00 pm and the day concluded with a tree lighting ceremony from 7:00 to 7:30 pm.
For the most up-to-date information, click Langley Magic of Christmas.
Light Up Bowen Lantern Festival
The Christmas-themed community event on Bowen Island ran from 5:30 until about 8:00 pm on Saturday, November 30th in 2019. It included a small parade from the Village Square down to the Union Steamship Marina. At the festival there were also lantern decorations, carol singing, a Nativity play and various other family-friendly activities. Santa Claus arrived at the event by boat.
Click Light Up Bowen Lantern Festival for more information.
New Westminster Santa Claus Parade
The parade along Columbia Street ran between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm from start to finish, on Sunday, December 15th in 2019. It featured marching bands, politicians waving from cars, decorated floats and Santa Claus. The parade ran for only a few blocks, from around Fourth Street until Eighth, and lasted for about 45 minutes or so.
This event doesn’t appear to be happening in 2021. Hopefully it can again in 2022.
For more information, check out our New Westminster Santa Claus Parade page.
Richmond Santa Claus Parade
The Christmas parade in Richmond took place on Christmas Eve of 2019 in Steveston Village from 6:00 until about 8:00 pm. The procession started at the corner of Regent Street and 6th Avenue. It was a free event although donations of cash and non-perishable food to the Richmond Food Bank were greatly appreciated.
Squamish Santa Claus Parade
The Christmas parade that was on Saturday, November 30th in 2019, featured close to four dozen floats and other entries along Cleveland Avenue from 5:00 pm onwards in Squamish.
This family-friendly event featured carolers and floats decorated by local people and businesses. Folk also visited the Ledge Community Coffee House at 38055 Cleveland Avenue where they took photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoyed live music.
This event doesn’t appear to be happening in 2021. Hopefully it can return in 2022.
For more information click Squamish Santa Claus Parade.
Surrey Santa Parade of Lights
The Christmas parade happened in Cloverdale on the night of Sunday, December 1st in 2019. The parade was inspired by a soft drink commercial from 1997 and featured a variety of lit-up trucks, cars and other vehicles. Food and other items were available for purchase along the route and all proceeds benefited the Surrey Food Bank and Christmas Bureau.
In 2019 the parade started at 5:00 pm and it was free to attend (but donations were encouraged).
The parade was cancelled in 2021, but hopes to run again in 2022.
Read our Surrey Santa Parade of Lights article for details.
Vancouver Santa Claus Parade
The parade in downtown Vancouver is an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of people in years with good weather.
In 2019 the parade took place on Sunday, December 1st. Pre-parade activities happened in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery from 10:00 am until noon. The parade itself started at around 12:00 pm and went along Georgia Street and Howe Street. Folk were invited to bring a donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, but the event itself was free.
For more information, check out our Vancouver Santa Claus Parade article.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s December Calendar
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Free December Events
- Best Vancouver Christmas Activities
- Top Things to do at Christmas
- Vancouver Christmas Craft Fairs
- Vancouver Christmas Concerts
- Christmas Theatre in December