The Playground: Festival of Lights at Van Dusen Garden


Welcome to The Playground, a place for Vancouver families.Every week I post a roundup of upcoming family-friendly events and activities. I’m always on the lookout for fun stuff to do, so if there’s something happening that you think I should know about, don’t hesitate to contact me.

We recently went to check out this years Festival of Lights which runs daily (4:30 – 9pm) until January 2nd (closed December 25th).  Every night Van Dusen Garden comes alive as more than a million lights illuminate the 22 hectare garden in the heart of Vancouver.

Things start off a little differently this year as you enter through the new Visitor Centre.  It’s a beautiful space to escape the cold, look at Christmas trees and grab some hot beverages.  With our hot chocolates in hand we meandered through Gingerbread Wood, lit a candle at the Make-A-Wish Candle Shrine and spent a lot of time being mesmerized by the Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake.  It’s a show that starts every half hour that features thousands of lights  programmed to dance with the water fountains to seasonal music.

There is lots to see and do including watching the Community Choir, visiting Santa in his Living Room (until December 24th) and the hilariously spirited Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes.  Plus plenty of  opportunities to splurge on festive treats throughout the park.

The Festival of Lights makes for a bright and festive night out.  It’s the perfect place to take visiting relatives.   Things got crowded near the entrance but the crowds are easy to escape.  We found plenty of quiet places throughout the garden to sit back and enjoy the lights (and our hot chocolate).

Price of Admission is as follows:

  • Adult (19-65): $13.50
  • Senior (65+): $10
  • Youth (13-18):$10
  • Child (3-12): $7.50
  • Children under age 3 are free
  • Family (2 adults + 2 children age 18 and under): $31