Home for the Holidays

VanDusen Festival of Lights – The Magic of Christmas

By Susan Braverman

For me, nothing says Christmas more than Christmas lights! With that in mind, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to feature the VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights, which has always been a sign that Christmas is just around the corner!

Festival of Lights. Image Source: VanDusen Garden

I have so many incredible memories of the Festival of Lights through the years, having attended since it began almost 25 years ago. When it snows in Vancouver, being at the Festival makes you feel like you’re at Santa’s house! In the 90s, we helped create its banner program and made its first-ever street banners, so it’s very close to my heart. This year, we are thrilled to be a part of the excitement once again, having supplied over 50 festive street banners for the 2017 Festival of Lights. The banners are up on Oak and West 37th right outside of the Gardens, making the area even more beautiful, and signaling the beginning of the season of good cheer!

These were the very first Festival of Lights street banners we made for VanDusen Garden in the 90s.

This year’s Festival of Lights street banners that just went up about a month ago.

The Festival ends on January 7, so the clock is ticking. Get your tickets and get out there before it’s too late and be drawn into a magical world of wonder and light, and to be counted among the 110,000+ visitors the Festival has welcomed in recent years. It is a community mainstay offering an enchanted winter wonderland stretching across 15 acres, and sparkling with more than a million lights. A memorable experience for kids of every age, the program includes Candy Cane Lane, the interactive icebergs of Livingstone Lake, community choirs, and the Candy Cane Express model train. Here are some highlights of the Festival:

  • Carousel
    What else can bring on more holiday cheer than a ride on a carousel in a beautifully-lit setting? From grandkids to grandparents, it’s family fun for everyone because all tickets include a free ride on the carousel.
  • Santa’s Place
    Families, kids and couples alike can listen to holiday stories and take a selfie with Santa in the glasshouse until December 24. This is free, included with your entry ticket to the festival!
  • Festival Stage
    Sing along to your favourite festive classics! Enjoy warm beverages while listening to singers, choirs, bands and entertainers inside the Visitor Centre halls. This area is now fully licensed.
  • Fireside Lounge
    Gather around the fire pits and warm up with a holiday beverage in this new outdoor licensed area.
  • Make-A-Wish® Candle Grotto
    Make a donation to the Festival’s charity partner, the Make-A-Wish® Foundation, and make a wish while you light a candle to fill this scenic grotto.
  • Make-A-Wish® – Lego Room of Joy
    In the Visitor Centre, learn about the Make-A-Wish® BC & Yukon, get a glow star with a minimum $5 donation and enjoy the Lego display!
  • Recycled Rhythms
    Let your kids have some fun making music with recycled instruments.
  • Tinsel Tunes
    Play the piano and sing along to holiday tunes in the garden.
  • Selfie Spots and Photo Ops
    Look out for frames, sets, and other selfie spots throughout the show and make sure to share with #VanDusenFOL

Earlier this month, the Vancouver Sun published its Guide to the BEST Christmas Light Displays in Metro Vancouver and it’s no surprise that the VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights is included! Check out the list, and if you think your lights have what it takes to be added, just follow the link to share! If your display makes it onto the list, please be sure to let us know!

For more information about the 2017 Festival of Lights, please visit City of Vancouver’s website.

Stay tuned for more holiday traditions and observances as The Flag Shop’s series “Home for the Holidays” continues, next week with Hanukkah. L’chaim!

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