Best Bet: VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights


For my money, the annual Festival of Lights fundraiser for the VanDusen Botanical Garden is the best holiday experience in Vancouver.

Taking a lesson from the Swedes, who have long understood the power of light to lift the spirit and kindle hope in a dark season, this spectacle represents the ultimate SADS lamp. More than 1.4 million lights in suicide season: need I say more?

Ok, well how about: Santa Claus and Christmas gnomes; “dancing light” pageants and puppet shows; candy canes and carolling.

I go every year–and when my own kids aren’t available, I borrow some littler ones. (This year, my grown daughter is making the pilgrimage with a new flame.)

Yes there are other light shows on offer, but what I like about the Festival of Lights is its broad cross-generational appeal.

This isn’t just for the kiddies or the tourists or the old folks. It works as family time or date night or just a cure for the blues. And you can make it even more festive by taking a meal in the adjacent Shaughnessy restaurant before or after your wanderings.

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So if you’re looking to build new holiday traditions, don’t think twice about adding the Festival of Lights to your repertoire.

And if you’re starting to exhibit Scrooge-like tendencies (aka, Seasonal Affective Disorder), this is surely the cure for what ails you.

Info:

Dec. 7, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013 (closed Christmas Day), 4:30 to 9 pm at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver

Admission (includes GST):

  • Adults: $14.25
  • Seniors (65+) and youth (13-18): $10.50
  • Children (6-12): $7.75
  • Family (2 adults, 2 children under 19): $32.50
  • Buy at the gate or pay a small service charge to Tickets Tonight and buy in advance so you can skip the line-ups.

Related links:

Christmas in Canada: A Festivus Approach

Photo: Courtesy VanDusen Botanical Garden