Pan Pacific Christmas Wish Breakfast (free with a toy/cash donation)
When: Thursday Dec. 13, 6:00am – 9:00am
Where: Pan Pacific Hotel, Canada Place (map)
What: Each year the Pan Pacific Hotel offers a free breakfast with entertainment as part of a toy drive for the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau . The Rock 101 Morning Crew will air their show live and the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir will be performing (check out their rehearsal footage!). There is more information on the Pan Pacific Blog, but it’s worth it to note that if you are going to bring a toy, they need toys for teens and have more than enough stuffed animals each year. Although it’s not an event specifically for kids under 5, it’s a great way to introduce the spirit of giving with an impressive toy mountain, and who doesn’t like live music and free eggs, hashbrowns and sausages?
Charlotte Diamond in person! (followed by photos with Santa)
When: Saturday Dec. 15, 11:00am – Noon (Photos with Santa from 1 – 3pm)
Where: City Square Mall, 555 West 12th Ave at Cambie St. (map)
What: Charlotte Diamond is an awesome children’s singer/songwriter that I remember from my own childhood. I found myself singing her greatest hits to my own daughter without knowing they were from her until recently, such as “I am a Pizza” and “Four Hugs a Day“. She’s still going strong and will be at the City Square Mall from 11 – 12pm, followed by Santa (1 – 3pm). Photos with Santa are free, but donations to BC Children’s Hospital are gratefully accepted.
“Winter Wonderland” Display / Pancake Breakfast – Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
When: Friday/Saturday Dec. 14th and 15th, 9:30 – 11:00am
Where: Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, 800 E Broadway (Broadway and Prince Albert St., near Fraser St.) (map)
What: Come and see the Mount Pleasant NH Winter Wonderland display featuring mechanical bears, vintage trains and more, and stay for a pancake breakfast. $5 for adults, $3 for children for both the wonderland display and the breakfast. To see the wonderland display only (without pancakes) is $2.This is a popular event, so get your ticket soon… call to pre-register and for more information: 604-879-8208
More celebrations this week for other community centres:
- West End Community Centre’s Celebration, December 12, 5pm – 7pm. Includes crafts, hot chocolate, tree decorating and a family-friendly movie. (870 Denman St., map), Free.
- Mount Pleasant Family Centre’s Winter Celebration, December 13, 9:30am – 12:30pm. Includes entertainment and fun family activities. (Also located at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, map), Free.
Free Skating at Kerrisdale Arena
When: Sunday Dec. 16, 3:45 – 5:30pm
Where: Kerrisdale Arena, 5670 East Boulevard (near Arbutus and 41st) (map)
What: Kerrisdale Arena is offering a free skate for families as part of the Christmas in Kerrisdale festival. Free skate rental and a hot drink are included while supplies last! The festival also includes entertainment throughout the Kerrisdale neighbourhood such as roving musicians, string quartets and visits from Santa and his elf during weekends in December starting Dec. 8.
(If you miss this event and it’s skating that you’re after, you can always check out the free skating at Robson Square (next to the Vancouver Art Gallery, map). You can bring your own skates or rent for $4, but the arena is open all day, every day until Feb 28th.)
Trinity Street Christmas Lights Festival / Competition
When: On til January 6th. The Winter Walk street festival will be on Sunday Dec 16, 5:00 – 9:00pm. Free!
Where: 2400 – 2900 Trinity Street (1 block N of McGill St., between Nanaimo and Renfrew) (map)
What: Every year Trinity Street in East Vancouver is ablaze with light as neighbours compete for the honour of “best block” and “best house” with their outstanding decorations. The annual street festival, “Winter Walk”, takes place at the height of the competition on Dec 16th, during which you can stop by the concession stand in the 2600 block for hot drinks and treats. Vote for your favourite house or favourite block by completing ballots (found in brightly coloured rural mailboxes along the route) and slipping them in the mailslot of designated houses. Each vote costs $2.00, with all proceeds going to Harbourview Daycare and St James Cottage Hospice. See more information on the Trinity Street Lights Festival Facebook Page
More free light displays
- Check out the display at St. Paul’s Hospital for free. Built by volunteers, the lights would apparently stretch for 10km if laid end to end. A fundraising event for the hospital each year, it’s sure to open eyes wide with more than 200 “stars” celebrating donors. See more on the Lights of Hope page.
- Don’t forget about the Carol Ships Parade of Lights. All you need to do is check the sailing schedule, then head to the water to watch beautifully decorated ships sail by in the night.
- Bright Nights in Stanley Park includes lights in the plaza at the train entrance (which are free with a donation) and a minature train (which isn’t free). Although I’ve heard that the lights from the train are pretty cool, if funds are tight you could just visit the plaza entrance or even take the train during the day for a pinch above $5. (Matinee trains are $5.50 for all ages on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Regular admission at night is $10 for adults, $7 for kids 3 – 12, under 3 are free).