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Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory – Arctic Oasis


Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 — 10:27am PST
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Experience an Arctic Oasis at Bloedel Conservatory with seasonal lights, music, and a holiday scavenger hunt. Warm up inside the tropical dome while enjoying the exotic birds, lush gardens, and holiday light display produced by MK Illumination.

Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory - Arctic Oasis

Find all the hidden penguins in the arctic oasis for the holiday-themed scavenger hunt. Enjoy the evening city views and lit fountains at Queen Elizabeth Park. Lots of things to see and do at a family-friendly price!

Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory – Arctic Oasis

  • Where: 4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver (Queen Elizabeth Park)
  • When: 
December 15, 2017 to January 7, 2018 from 
10:00am to 8:00pm daily
    (closed December 25th)
  • Admission: Adult (19-64 years) $6.50
; senior (65+ years) $4.35;
 youth (13-18 years) $4.35;
 child (4-12 years) $3.15;
 family (2 adults and their children under 19) $14.75. 
Children (3 and under and accompanied by an adult) are free.
    Free for 
VanDusen Garden Association Members. Groups of 10 or more can get 10% off admission fees. More info here »

Free parking is available during event hours only at the parking lot by the fountains (other parking in the park is charged).

Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Bloedel Conservatory is a domed lush paradise located in Queen Elizabeth Park atop the City of Vancouver’s highest point. More than 120 free-flying exotic birds, 500 exotic plants and flowers thrive within its temperature-controlled environment. Constructed through a very generous donation from Prentice Bloedel, Bloedel was dedicated at its opening in 1969 “to a better appreciation and understanding of the world of plants.” Designated as a heritage building, it is jointly operated by Vancouver Park Board and the Vancouver Botanical Garden Association. Together, these partners also operate VanDusen Botanical Garden.

Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas


Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 — 3:54pm PST
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I visited Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas earlier this week, as the lights began to twinkle at twilight. The beautiful lakeside setting, bordered by a babbling brook, is truly magical. I strolled down the village streets under the 1920s style lights and cedar boughs, past buildings adorned with wreaths sporting big red bows.

Burnaby Village Museum

Heritage Christmas at Burnaby Village Museum

Address: 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby
When: November 25 to December 15, 2017 Monday to Friday, 1:00pm to 5:30pm; Saturday & Sunday, 1:00pm to 9:00pm. December 16, 2017 to January 5, 2018 daily 1:00pm to 9:00pm, closed December 24 & 25.
Admission: Gate admission is FREE! Rides on the carousel are $2.65 each or $31.25 for Baker’s Dozen (which make great stocking stuffers).

Burnaby Village Museum

It was early in the evening but there were still lots of families enjoying a turn on the carousel, and groups of friends taking Instagram-worthy photos throughout the village.

Burnaby Village Museum

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Join the Whalley Santa Cause on Christmas Day


Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 — 12:20pm PST
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On Christmas Day, after the stockings are open and the turkey heads into the oven, there is a group of dedicated community volunteers that hits the streets to make sure everyone gets some holiday cheer as a part of the Whalley Santa Cause.

Whalley Santa Cause

Whalley Santa Cause

Where: Gateway Skytrain Station, 13401 108 Ave, Surrey
When: Monday, December 25, 2017 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
RSVP to the Facebook Event »

Now in its 7th year, the Whalley Santa Cause has been collecting donations of toiletries and personal hygiene items. On Christmas Day, they will meet at Gateway station to walk around the neighbourhood to hand out the hampers, jackets, sweaters, and socks.

Last year they had their biggest turn out, with 45 volunteers delivering boxes and bags full of toiletries and winter clothing to those living in tents along the Whalley Strip.

Most-Needed Items

  • New personal hygiene items such as deodorant, tooth brushes, shampoo, conditioner, hair brushes, socks, sweaters, scarves and gloves.
  • This year they are also looking for 2nd hand sweaters, scarves, mitts, brand new socks and underwear. Gently used winter jackets for the people they will see outside on Christmas Day.

Volunteers must be over the age of 16, as they are dealing with addiction, homelessness, active drug use and prostitution on the streets. Contact Whalley Santa Cause founder Erica Beckstead for more information and to sign up to help. Email: whalleysantacause@hotmail.com.

Ballet BC Presents Alberta Ballet in The Nutcracker


Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 — 11:20am PST
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Ballet BC is proud to present the return of Alberta Ballet in their exquisite production of the holiday classic The Nutcracker at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with live music by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Ballet BC Presents Alberta Ballet in The Nutcracker
Alberta Ballet in The Nutcracker. Photo by Yin Yi.

Ballet BC Presents Alberta Ballet in The Nutcracker

Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre (650 Hamilton St, Vancouver)
>When: December 28 to 30 at 7:30pm & December 29 & 30 at 2:00pm
Tickets: Available online or by calling 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) for $35 to $95 (plus service charges). Family 4-packs are available from $140-$300.

Choreographed by Edmund Stripe, with sets and costumes designed by Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, The Nutcracker is set in turn of the 20th century Imperial Russia, an era of opulent grandeur.

This production “…sparkles like a Fabergé egg…” says the Vancouver Sun and extravagantly displays more than a million dollars in stunning sets and costumes. With scores of children, mice in the battle scene dressed as Cossack soldiers, and snowflakes dressed as Russian princesses, this “sparking and spectacular achievement” (The Calgary Herald) offers a perfect complement to Tchaikovsky’s glorious musical score played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Casting over 80 talented, aspiring young dancers from close to 20 dance schools across the Lower Mainland, this presentation also gives us a chance to support the local dance community and marks the first opportunity for these young dancers to perform with a professional ballet company.

Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar says, “Vancouver audiences were delighted with Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker when it was first presented here in 2011. We’re pleased to bring back this magical version of the famous Christmas ballet with live music by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, extravagant sets and costumes and the talented dancers of Alberta Ballet. The Nutcracker is unforgettable family entertainment that is sure to enrich your holiday season.”

Win Tickets

I have a pair of tickets to the opening of Ballet BC presents Alberta Ballet in The Nutcracker (December 28 at 7:30pm) to give away. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Click below to post an entry on Twitter
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Follow Ballet BC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information about performances this season.

Where to Snowshoe Near Vancouver This Season


Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 — 10:07am PST
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Last year, with so much snow early on in the season, snowshoeing became the hottest activity around. Perfect for outings with friends, a family adventure, or a romantic date night. Here are some options for your next local snowshoeing experience.

Where to Snowshoe Near Vancouver This Season

Snowshoeing at Manning Park

Mount Seymour

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The snowshoe centre is open 9:00am to 4:00pm; 12:00pm to 4:00pm during the holidays (December 26 to January 7). Seymour offers 8 types of snowshoe tours if you’re looking for a guided or package experience. From “Legends and Lanterns” at night to “Chocolate Fondue”, “Baby and Me”, and “Snowfit” options. Check out the Snowshoe Trails Map if you’re coming up on your own. Rentals are available and if you have your own gear, simply purchase a trail pass and head out on your adventure.

Grouse Mountain

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Access to Grouse’s snowshoe trails is included with your Alpine Experience ticket or valid pass. Once you’re up the SkyRide, you can pick up rentals or hit the trails. Tour options include “Baby and Me”, “Boomers and Zoomers”, “Snowshoe Fondue”, “Snowshoe Grind”, guided tours and more. Looking for a challenge? Try the “Snowshoe Grind” at 4.3 km long and with an elevation gain of 215 metres. Drop in for a Snowshoe Social Night Monday or Wednesday.

Cypress Mountain

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Cypress offers self-guided trails on a 11km network through the snowy sup-alpine forests and meadows of the Nordic Ski Area located on the Hollyburn Ridge. Tours offered include “Chocolate Fondue”, “Winter Wanderer”, “Girls Night Out”, “Snowshoe Fondue”, “Music Nights”, and the regularly scheduled “Hollyburn Meadows Tour”.

Bonus: Manning Park

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Pop into the Nordic Centre daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm to pick up your trail pass or rent snowshoes. Explore 4 easy trails, 2 moderate, and 2 difficult in the 64km snowshoe trail network. Cross the Similkameen River Bridge, or Rainbow Bridge, loop around Beaver Pond or Lightning Lakes. If you are new to snowshoeing or are looking to learn more about Manning Park in the winter, consider a guided snowshoe excursion which run during the day and in the evenings.

Snowshoeing at Manning Park

Snowshoe Tips

  • Get there early, and by early I mean before 9:00am as parking lots fill up quickly.
  • Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Wear sunscreen if it’s sunny. Wear layers that are waterproof. Bring eyewear (sunglasses).
  • On your feet, wear insulated, waterproof boots or hiking boots. If you’ll be in deep snow, gaiters will keep your ankles dry.
  • Plan your trail route so that you know where you’re going and are in designated areas.
  • Bring water. Even if it’s cold you’ll still need to hydrate from the exercise. Also bring some snacks (granola bars, trail mix, etc.) to keep you fueled during the day.

Have fun and be safe out there! Remember to also take lots of photos of the beautiful alpine scenery to share the fun.