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9 enchanting light festivals to enjoy this holiday season in Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver will shine brightly this winter!
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One brand new lights festival in Metro Vancouver for 2021 is called Lumagica.

Ready to experience the magic and wonder of the most festive time of year?

Across Metro Vancouver, holiday light festivals will illuminate the season, bringing smiles to face - and plenty of photo opportunities.

Following a 2020 holiday season when most events went dark due to the pandemic, 2021 is set to wrap up aglow with dazzling light displays. From enchanting tree-top walks to drives through awe-inspiring lit-up tunnels, there are several major holiday light festivals taking place this winter across Metro Vancouver. These are among the best and the - dare we say - brightest. 

VanDusen Botanical Garden's Festival of Lights

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The Festival of Lights returns for 2021 to Vancouver's VanDusen Botanical Garden. VanDusen Botanical Garden / Facebook

The Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden dazzles guests of all ages with its over one million twinkling lights, themed displays and areas, and holiday music. Now in its 37th year, the event will once again be lighting up the hearts and eyes of many a visitor to the beautiful grounds. To keep things COVID-safe, the event will swap out some previous activities and features, like the carousel and photos with Santa, in favour of some new experiences, like an illuminated rose garden display, a "letters to Santa" activity for children, and lots of food. 

  • When: Nov. 26, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022
  • Where: VanDusen Botanical Garden - 5151 Oak St, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Must be purchased online in advance for a specific entry time

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

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Canyon Lights is back from Nov. 20, 2021 through Jan. 23, 2022 at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver. Photo courtesy Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

North Vancouver's Canyon Lights features thousands of twinkling lights adorning the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge, as well as the exciting Treetops Adventure walk and its 250-year-old Douglas firs. The park is home to the eight tallest Christmas trees in the world, which will be sparkling brightly to celebrate the season. Guests can also take a stroll through the "Arc de Lumina" light tunnel on the park's thrilling Cliffwalk. For something new this season, the world-famous suspension bridge will be lit, end to end, with a multi-colour changing display.

  • When: Nov. 20, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022 (closed Dec. 25)
  • Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park - 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
  • Tickets: Purchase in advance online

Lights at Lafarge

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Town Centre Park will be aglow with Lights at Lafarge. Photo by Steve Henry / via Tri-City News

Coquitlam’s popular free, outdoor light display returns to Town Centre Park in late November and runs until the end of January. Modified in consideration of current provincial health orders and public safety, this year’s Lights at Lafarge winter lights display has been dispersed to provide two walking loops within Town Centre Park. Organizers urge visitors to plan visits at off-peak hours.

  • When: Nov. 27, 2021-Jan. 31, 2022
  • Where: Town Centre Park - 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
  • Tickets: N/A

Lumagica

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. Photo via Lumagica

Another enchanting festival brings festive cheer to the Lower Mainland this winter with a magical light walk.  At Lumagica, guests journey through a 1km light walk through diverse lands to soak in the spirit of the holidays. After that, they are transported through a light tunnel to Gingerbread Lane, leading to the magical North Pole Village. Here, they can enjoy the festive atmosphere complete with interactive displays, animation, photo opportunities and surprises galore for all ages.

  • When: Dec. 3 - 30 except for Dec. 25 . Open every evening from 4 - 10 p.m.
  • Where: Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey
  • Tickets: Purchase online

PNE WinterLights

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Drive through two stunning light tunnels during the PNE WinterLights event, which returns for its second year in December 2021. PNE/Playland / Facebook

The PNE's WinterLights, which made its debut last year, will once again offer ticket-holders a dazzling drive-through experience on the fair's storied grounds. WinterLights will feature two light tunnels, nine themed "lands" filled with characters and live performers - like a snowglobe village full of dancers, seasonal food offerings, and tons of family fun. The whole event is experienced from inside the comfort and safety of your vehicle. While you wheel your way through, tune the car stereo to hear a special radio broadcast showcasing the WinterLights soundtrack. 

  • When: Dec. 3-5, 9-12, 16-23, 26-31 from 4:30-10:30 p.m.
  • Where: Pacific National Exhibition - 2901 E Hastings St, Vancouver
  • Cost: $37-$42 plus ticket fees per carload Buy tickets online.

Bright Nights Stanley Park Christmas Train

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The illuminated Bright Nights Christmas Train will roll once again for the holidays in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Vancouver Park Board / Facebook

It's one of the most magical holiday mini-adventures in Vancouver, as the Bright Nights Christmas Train chugs merrily around in Stanley Park; the train and plaza will be sparkling with millions of lights, offering an immersive illuminated experience like no other. The event doubles as a fundraiser for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

  • When: Nov. 26, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022
  • Where: Stanley Park Railway, Vancouver
  • Tickets: Must be purchased in advance online; no onsite ticket sales

Glow Gardens

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. Photo via Glow Langley

This year, the annual drive-thru in Langley is called Glow, A Fairytale Christmas, described as "a magical world surrounded by our beloved fairytale characters." The event was modified for 2020 and will offer a similar one this year. Visitors will drive through the sprawling wonderland and enjoy towering light gardens in a variety of themes. In the past, some of the highlights were the glittering glacial foyer, where it’s always snowing, as well as the 100-foot animated light tunnel. Every ticket comes with popcorn and mini donuts and the experience is roughly 20 minutes long. 

  • When: Nov. 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022
  • Where: Milner Village Garden Centre - 6690 216 St, Langley City
  • Tickets: Purchase in advance online

Lights of Hope - St. Paul's Hospital

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The annual Lights of Hope illumination at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver began with a lighting ceremony on Nov. 18, 2021. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Evans for St. Paul’s Foundation.

Now in its 24th year, the Lights of Hope display at St. Paul’s Hospital will shine bright every night throughout the holiday season. Marking the return of the annual fundraising campaign, 4,000 feet of sparkling lights and hundreds of shining stars recognizing the support of generous donors, will illuminate Burrard Street nightly until early January next year.

  • When: Nov. 18, 2021-Jan. 7, 2022
  • Where: St. Paul's Hospital - Burrard Street side, Vancouver
  • Tickets: N/A

Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

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Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum is a free annual event. Burnaby Village Museum / Facebook

Enjoy the special atmosphere of festive lights, and the traditional decorations at this free family-friendly event. Wander the Village and take in all of the seasonal entertainment, demonstrations and activities.

  • When: Nov. 27, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022 (closed Dec. 24-25)
  • Where: Burnaby Village Museum - 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
  • Tickets: Gate admission is free

With files from Elana Shepert