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Family Activity: Van Dusen Festival of Lights

Lights twinkle off branches and along pathways, glittering and shimmering against the darkened night sky. There is so much beauty contained in these mini-capsules of lights. Thousands of coloured strands line the garden, each one capturing a bit of the magic of Christmas.

This was my first time visiting Van Dusen Garden (for a Vancouver-born girl, this is a shocker I know!) And with their annual Festival of Lights, I was excited to finally check out this new-to-us Christmas location.

And so, one Thursday evening, we bundled up in toques and mittens and puffy, winter coats and headed out. (Only to realize halfway there that it had started to rain, and we’d forgotten an umbrella. Oh Vancouver, don’t you know that Christmas activities are more fun in the snow instead?) Despite the rain, there was a healthy crowd of visitors and the small parking lot was already full.

The Garden was beautiful. As in, take your breath away for a moment, sort of spectacular. We all stopped for a moment and let out of chorus of “wows” — a completely inadequate but entirely appropriate gut response to the brilliance.

The park is full of winding paths, each decorated in an array of different lights. Along the way, there are plenty of things to keep littles occupied — such as a piano, a set of recycled instruments, a little elf house, and a carousel ride (ages 2+) included in the price of admission. Back by the main gate, there’s even a Santa and some warm drinks.

We carried the littlest one in a carrier as we were unsure about stroller accessibility — and were glad that we’d done so. While the park itself is mostly accessible and would be fine with a jogging stroller, there were just too many other people to have made that feasible. Even on a slightly-rainy, middle-of-the-week night, it’s a popular event choice and was still crowded.

Things to think about:

We thoroughly enjoyed this winter activity and would definitely recommend checking it out! A great Christmas outing for families, couples, and friends alike!

I give this trip four snowmen out of five. 🙂



What’s your favourite Vancouver Christmas activity? Share in the comments!

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