With Christmas less than a month away, Vancouver and the local areas surrounding it, are full of exciting activities open to the whole family. Curated by the Kodiak Times writers, here are the top five activities during December:
1) Lights at Lafarge Winter Lights Display
Right beside the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Skytrain Station, Lafarge Lake boasts a large amount of recreational amenities that are open year-round such as numerous playgrounds, tennis and volleyball courts as well as a bike trail. However, in winter it is one of the most popular local parks during December. The popularity of the park can be attributed to the efforts of the City of Coquitlam. The city decorates the pathway around the lake with various arches, displays, and decorations that light up after the sun sets. The attraction is free and opens on November 30th. It’s a great opportunity for locals to get together and enjoy the lights as it’s close to our school and can be easily accessed by bus or transit.
2) Port Coquitlam Heritage Christmas Tree Festival
This year, the City of Port Coquitlam is holding their 7th annual Christmas Tree Festival with participants including various businesses and charities throughout the city. Every year, the trees are in different locations scattered throughout PoCo, with the website of the festival featuring a scavenger hunt sheet which can be filled in and submitted for a chance to win prizes. You can also vote for your favourite tree on the website. The event continues until December 31st and is completely free.
3) Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
Every year, the Canadian Pacific Railway sends out a train decorated with holiday lights to entertain thousands of Canadians across the country with live music and a visit from Santa Claus. The train enters Port Moody at 5:20 PM on December 17th behind the Recreation Centre, near the Trasolini Field, and Port Coquitlam at 7:00 PM and on the same day at the West Coast Express Station. The performers this year are Canadian country musicians, Terri Clark and Dallas Smith. This event is free and is a favourite during the Christmas season in the Tri-Cities.
4) VanDusen Festival of Lights
A larger version of Lights at Lafarge, is the Festival of Lights, running from November 30th to January 5th from 4:00 to 9:30 PM at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver; closing only for Christmas Day. In addition to Christmas lights strung around the parks in fabulous designs and colours, the park also features an 8-minute dancing light show once every half hour. The park also features Christmas characters such as the Grinch and (of course) Santa Claus, as well as a carousel, with one complimentary ride. The admission price for ages 13-18 is $14.50 online, and $16 at the gate. Don’t forget your camera!
5) Vancouver Christmas Market
Last on this list is a Vancouver favourite at Christmas time, the Vancouver Christmas Market. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the Christmas Market boasts over 80 different huts that contain various authentic German food, drinks, and holiday activities. As usual, Santa is present and the event suits all ages, with different activities being available. If you want to take the trip downtown, the market is open daily since November 20th from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM, and from 11:30 to 6 PM on December 24th. Tickets are available at the entrance costing $15 at the gate for ages 13-59 and cost $12.99 online. However, this price doesn’t count for the money spent on delicious food and refreshments available at the market.
Remember that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are plenty of other activities during this season such as the Coquitlam Centre Santaland. Hopefully, this list will make planning Christmas-themed hangouts and meetings much easier to schedule and will give you new ideas for your holidays.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the Kodiak Times!
Written by Soniya Tagirova-Sirotkina