The Festival of Lights: Bringing the Magic of Christmas to Life


The lights are back on at VanDusen Botanical Gardens with the kick off of the 28th annual Festival of Lights celebration. If  you’ve missed this Vancouver classic in previous years, you’re in luck. The garden has pulled out all the stops with an increasingly spectacular light show on the lake. The lights switch and dance in time with the music, causing bold swaths of colour to come alive in the night. Their unique and beautiful forms reflect in the water below. This year they’ve creatively added more up-lighting, features that extend out from the icy waters, and a bouquet of gorgeous flowers elegantly gracing the island arrangement.

All a glow, its a spectacular sight.

On nightly from 430 to 9pm until January 1st (except Christmas day), There are two distinct light shows that take place on the lake, on the hour and half hour throughout the evening. In between the shows, there is more than enough lights with over 1.4 million sparkling across 12 acres of exquisitely landscaped beds. Just beckoning you down the garden path.

We took the kids this past weekend and spent some time wandering the grounds. The big man was there, Santa himself! He’s in his living room from 530pm nightly. He sang songs and told silly jokes, then the kids got some one on one time with him. We brought our camera, and used the moment to capture those perfect Santa photo’s. Fantastic!

My youngest found her joy of the evening at the Sparkling Spruce! She loved sitting in the sled pressing all the buttons and making the tree’s light go manic. We all joined her in the sled where we bumped into a videographer for the Vancouver Sun. (Click here to see the video, we’re at the very end of the short piece on the lights.)

My eldest thought the grass plume arrangement pictured below was by far the most spectacular thing she saw that night. It was super windy. Not only were the plumes glowing from their place under the illuminated dome of the gazebo, but the whipping wind was making them dance. Not dissimilar from the dancing lights on the lake. She was transfixed.

And the boy? It was all about the Lego. The Vancouver Lego Club partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation to put on a one of a kind Lego Christmas display. There’s so much to see in the incredibly intricate display, that I think we’ll have to go back for another visit. I took a few snaps of a couple of things that caught my eye. I loved the quirky additions like the Hulk carrying snowballs & Godzilla chasing Santa. All for a great cause. Well done!

If you’re planning a visit to the Festival of Lights, buy your tickets in advance to save the line up and beat the crowds. As a family with small children, we found going early saved us time and a lot of difficulties. Parking was ample and easy to find when we arrived at 430, and crowds were limited.


This entry was posted in Children in the Garden, Christmas, VanDusen Botanical Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

One comment on “The Festival of Lights: Bringing the Magic of Christmas to Life

  1. SUPER WOW…never been to Vancouver but i must not miss this if I go during the holidays sometime!!! thank you

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