We live in a great city for Christmas events and displays, and are only a sky-train ride to Vancouver for even more free family events! Here in New Westminster there are many holiday celebrations taking place. Staring with lighting of a large Christmas tree in Hyack Square at the end of The Parade of lights AKA the Santa Clause Parade, held in early December.
New Westminster has a large Merry Christmas sign on City hall!
Irving House, built in 1865, is a beautiful place to visit to experience a recreation of a traditional 19th century Christmas. A little further west you can visit The Burnaby Village Heritage Christmas.
Spending time in this village is like stepping back in time. There is even an antique carousel and the best salt water taffy for sale in the gift shop.
Venturing downtown Vancouver there are so many great things to see! The lights in Stanley Park are a terrific for the whole family. The annual light display is put on by local firefighters and is a fundraiser for the burn unit. Admission is by donation. There is something really magical about thousands of lights in the forest!
The Bay downtown has a seasonal floor that is a Christmas wonderland and a fantastic way to pass some time if the weather outside is frightful. Be sure to check out the large office building's lobby's, around Georgia and Burrard and Thurlow are all pretty spectacular, Hotels are also incredible . The Four Seasons has a Festival of Trees, which is a collection of sponsored decorated trees, there are themed trees and some are pretty fun! The Hyatt Hotel has an annual gingerbread display with world record setting large gingerbread houses and men!
Downtown you can take the Old Woodward windows display tour at Canada Place. These old fashioned windows are nostalgic and beautiful!
There is a dramatic art instillation at the Vancouver Convention Center so be sure to look for that downtown too. The Douglas Coupland Orca is my favorite, as well as The Drop, although not holiday related, it is a visually stunning piece of art, and worthwhile seeing if you are walking near by in Vancouver.
When you are downtown there are many unexpected things you can see just walking around enjoying the atmosphere. There are plenty of family friendly events that are free or reasonably priced. Many of these things run past Christmas and into the new year so enjoy some Christmas cheer and be a tourist in your your own city.