Annual lights extravaganza previously cancelled due to pandemic
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
If you are planning to attend these wonderful annual festivals during the holiday season, it is best to dress warmly.
The annual Christmas lights festival at VanDusen Gardens will be held once again in 2021. It will look different from prior events, due to the pandemic. But if you are planning to attend this wonderful annual festival during the holiday season, it is best to dress warmly.
The event opened November 26 and operates until January 3, 2022, from 4 pm until 930 pm. The last entry time is between 830 pm and 9 pm. It is closed on Christmas Day. The official website states, “Experience a magical winter wonderland with more than one million lights decorating 15 acres of VanDusen Botanical Garden. Stroll along the lakeside, shimmering in the glow of northern lights, or wander into our lush Rose Garden—reawakened and illuminated for a spectacular winter replica through the artistry of our garden stewards.”
Public health protocols will be in effect. Proof of full vaccination is required upon entry for those 12 years and older. Masks are to be always worn indoors, except for those under the age of five. No tickets will be sold on-site, as tickets must be purchased online in advance. Also, capacity is limited and people are advised to buy tickets early.
Unfortunately, some activities have been removed to reduce close contact between people. The carousel, photos with Santa Claus, dancing lights show, and live entertainment will not be offered this year.
Notably, Vancouver Is Awesome reported on October 25, the VanDusen Festival of Lights is continuing its partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the 20th consecutive year. The garden’s candle grotto donations, alongside sales from the glow star necklaces, have raised over $523,000 for Make-A-Wish since 2001.
And while you are outdoors taking in all the sights and sounds the VanDusen Festival of Lights has to offer, take lots of pictures—if your hands are still warm enough. People are encouraged to post their photos on Instagram using #vandusenFOL. More info about the VanDusen Festival of Lights can be found on its city of Vancouver page.
Lights at Lafarge
If you are unable to attend the VanDusen Festival of Lights, there is the annual Lights at Lafarge event in Coquitlam. There was no opening ceremony due to the pandemic. The event began November 27 and operates until January 31, 2022. Provincial health guidelines and protocols will be in place. The public will be attending the event as per usual. But this year, there will be two separate walking paths for the public to adhere to.
The City of Coquitlam website is proud to welcome the event again for the public to enjoy: “Lace up your walking shoes (or slip on your rain boots) and embark on the 1.2 km lake loop. New this year is a second walking loop that takes walkers through the Inspiration Garden and by the new concession plaza in Town Centre Park.”
People interested in volunteering can join the Light Brigade. It is organized by the Park Spark team, who are leading workshops in November for individuals and community groups. The workshops involve making pop bottle tulips, hosting an evening during Lights at Lafarge and helping install various light displays. The public can email firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteering opportunities and to obtain more information. More info about Lights at Lafarge can be found on the Coquitlam city page.