Are you visiting Canada’s West Coast this holiday season and wondering what festive things there are to do in British Columbia to celebrate the holiday season? I have rounded up three unique holiday celebrations that all ages will love as well as recommendations on where to stay and where to eat.
Where will this journey take you? To historic Fort Langley, Vancouver’s charming North Shore, and the ski town of Whistler. Hopefully, these destinations will inspire you to celebrate Christmas time in British Columbia!
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Experience Joy Of The Holidays In British Columbia
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1. Heritage Holidays At The Fort
As you know I’m a huge history nerd. If you are too, you won’t want to miss ‘Heritage Holidays at the Fort‘ at Fort Langley National Historic Site. The fort is in the small town of Fort Langley, British Columbia, and is a mix of history, hands-on activities, including cookie decorating, and demonstrations (My favorite was the chestnut roasting.) Much of the event is outside, so dress warmly. And, if you want to check out the village afterward, it is a short walk to town.
December 21 – 23 and December 27 – 30 (2019)Admission: $7.80 for adults, $6.55 for seniors, children 17 and under FREE! 10 am to 5 pm
Here are some of the things you can expect at Heritage Holidays at the Fort:
- Tour the fort and learn about its multi-ethnic history
- Learn how to roast chestnuts
- Taste heritage hot chocolate
- Decorate sugar cookies
- Watch holiday films
- Try barrel making at the cooperage
- Watch a blacksmith at work (Bring a trinket to barter with!)
- Listen to stories by the fire
- Learn about Sir James Douglas and his proclamation that made British Columbia a Crown colony
Travel tip: To warm up, huddle around the outdoor fire pit or enjoy a short holiday film in the movie room. If you are hungry, the cafe serves lunch fare.
Where To Stay In Langley, British Columbia
- Sandman Signature Langley Hotel (Read about my stay!)
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Langley
- Best Western PLUS Langley Inn
Where To Eat in Fort Langley, British Columbia
The village of Fort Langley is very walkable and has a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Here are some I recommend.
- Trading Post Brewing Company
- Rail & River Bistro
- Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe
- Little Donkey Food & Drink
- Blacksmith Bakery
- Beatniks Bistro
2. Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
If you are visiting North Vancouver, British Columbia, one of the top holiday attractions is Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. They really go all out at this event with decorating the suspension bridge, the forest, and water features. Come prepared with hats and gloves as you’ll not want to rush through. To warm up, there is a large gift shop, and for bites, there are food vendors; some even sell roasted chestnuts.
November 22 through January 26 (2019)Admission: $53.95 for adults, $48.95 for seniors, $39.95 for students (17+), $29.95 for youth (13 to 16), $16.95 for a child (6 to 12), and children six and under FREE! 9 am to 5 pm
Here are some of the things you can expect at Canyon Lights:
- Walk across the famed 450-foot suspension bridge
- Walk across seven suspension bridges through a lighted canopy forest (reminded me of an Ewok forest)
- A lighted cliff walk
- An enchanting reflection pool
- Snowy owl prowl
- Gingerbread cookie decorations
- Live music
- Vendors with roasted chestnuts and more goodies
Travel tip: Visit on a weekday and arrive before it gets dark so you can easily read some of the informative displays. If you can only visit on the weekend, prepare for a line.
Where To Stay In North Vancouver, British Columbia
One of the draws of staying in North Vancouver is the waterfront hotels that are all within walking distance of shopping, dining, and the Seabus, which takes passengers to downtown Vancouver in 12 minutes. Once you arrive, you’d never need to drive anywhere else, and when you visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park it is only 15 minutes away.
- Pinnacle Hotel At The Pier (I toured this hotel. It is really nice.)
- Lonsdale Quay Hotel (Read about my stay here!)
- Seaside (North Vancouver’s newest waterfront hotel!)
Where To Eat In North Vancouver, British Columbia
The Lonsdale Quay Market has over a dozen places to eat in the food court as well as restaurants like All Day Cafe and Chesire Cheese Restaurant & Bar. During my visit, I had lunch at The Soup Meister and a beer and kombucha drink at Green Leaf Brewing.
Other restaurants I recommend:
- Tap & Barrel
- The Lobby Restaurant
- Pier 7 Restaurant & Bar
3. Vallea Lumina
Whistler is known as one of the top skiing destinations in Canada and it is here you can experience Vallea Lumina, a multimedia night walk through the forest. This is the first year it will run in the winter! Tucked on Cougar Mountain’s hillside, visitors start at base camp and take a trail through the forest following clues. Along the way, there are stories and songs about the pioneer spirit and the magic of stardust. Warm clothes and sturdy winter shoes are a must!
Opens November 28 (2019) and runs through April (2020).Admission: $29.99 for adults, $24.99 for youth (6 to 15), and children five and under FREE! 9 am to 5 pm
Here are some of the things you can expect at Vallea Lumina:
- A walk through the forest (some incline)
- Multimedia displays with songs and light shows
- Lighted salmon river
- Unique light displays with sounds
- Sections with a living forest
Travel tip: The only way to get to the Vallea Lumina is by taking a FREE shuttle from the Gateway Bus Loop at Whistler Village. For eats there is a on-site snack bar.
Where To Stay in Whistler, British Columbia
There is no lack of accommodations in Whistler, and while the town is very walkable, if you are visiting in winter, I would suggest staying close to the Village Center as you’ll be in the heart of everything.
- Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre (I stayed here and will be writing about it soon! Great for families as rooms have kitchens. See photos below.)
- Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside (Closest to the mountain)
- Four Seasons Resort (I stayed here too. It is about a 15-minute walk to Whistler Village.)
Where To Eat In Whistler, British Columbia
There seems to be a restaurant or cafe around every corner in Whistler. In the off-season many offer fixed-course meals for a great price, so walk around and see what deals are being offered. Here are the places I recommend from my stay in Whistler.
- Raven’s Room
- Bar Oso (This place is amazing! If they have the fixed-course meal, order it!)
- Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub
- The Southside Diner
- Thunderbird Cafe (Inside the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre)
Are you ready for your British Columbia holiday adventure?
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.