Winter lights make downtown Vancouver merry and bright

The holiday season is in full swing and downtown Vancouver streets are bustling and all dressed up in festive style. With all the shopping to be done and holiday gatherings to attend, it’s difficult to fit in all the season’s best events and sights our city has to offer. Well, we’ve made our Christmas Bucket List (and checked it twice, of course) of the top (mostly free) places to visit over the next few weeks. Get out your calendar and let the merriment begin.

Robson Street and Bute Robson Plaza

Robson Street is beautifully lit for the holidays and makes for a wonderful evening stroll. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the festive spirit of the street. Be sure to check out Bute Robson Plaza to see the overhead snowflake installation, which also triggers special augmented reality features (just download the Winter’s Dance app and watch the snowflakes come to life).

Robson Square 

Robson Square is just a couple blocks to the east of Burrard Street and is home to the 76 foot tall Christmas Tree, a beautiful sight to see. Also bring your skates or rent a pair and glide on into the skating rink down below. This is a perfect family activity that is fun and free (unless you require rentals).

Photo by Tom Belding

St. Paul’s Lights of Hope

Where there is light there is hope. Located at 1031 Burrard Street, St. Paul’s Hospital installs a spectacular lighting display every year with more than 100,000 colourful bulbs and hundreds of sponsored stars shining bright for all to see. All proceeds benefit the St. Paul’s Foundation. Visit the display before January 8, 2019.

Photo by Ali Farshchian


Where light, art and community connect. The official Lumiere event has passed; however, there are still three illuminated installations nestled at English Bay until February of 2019. Luna the whale has returned for her third year and accompanying her are Eugenia, a stunning oak tree, as well as Stanley the Great Blue Heron, this year’s newest addition.

Stanley Park Bright Nights

A family favourite is Bright Nights at Stanley Park, which features three million twinkling lights, live performers, food and the miniature train. Entrance is by donation, but does not include train tickets. All proceeds benefit the Firefighters Burn Fund. Bright Nights is open until January 5, 2019.

Vancouver Christmas Market

The Christmas Market brings a little European tradition to Vancouver with more than 80 huts featuring German sweets, treats and treasures. Also enjoy the Christmas carousel, live music, Lover’s Lane Light Tunnel, Love Lock Installation and much more. This event is ticketed and closes for the season on Christmas Eve.

Photo by Shawn Bukhari