Free New Year’s Eve Celebration (with early countdowns and prizes for kids!)
Where: Robson Square, Robson at Howe St. (map)
What: Remember in those pre-kid days the feeling of nagging pressure while searching for a fabulous New Year’s Eve party to attend? Finding a New Year’s Eve party that’s kid-friendly is daunting, and finding one that’s frugal enough for a family seems impossible. That is, unless you’re the kind of adventurous parent that isn’t afraid of a little nighttime air and makes the most out of downtown Vancouver. Robson Square is hosting live stage celebrations from 4pm – 10:30pm, all for free. And since we know how babes turn to beasts past a certain hour, they even have two early countdowns (at 7pm and 9pm) so that you can ring in the new year and still keep some sanity in terms of bedtime. There will even be glow sticks and noisemakers for the kids. Not bad, Vancouver. Thanks!
The entertainment schedule includes:
- 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Magical and Holiday Performers
- 6:30 PM – 7:45 PM – Rumba Calzada
- 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM – The Freshest DJs
Then again… if you’re interested in splurging a little and/or you have older kids or guests to entertain as well, there’s also the action-packed Family First Night at Mount Seymour on New Year’s Eve. You can take the older kids tubing or tobogganing, watch Tickles the Clown, fire spinners and a fireworks spectacular at 9pm. Tickets are $10 for spectators (passes for tubing are $25, tobogganing are $15). Event tickets can be purchased on site starting at 4:45pm. If you don’t have a car, you can take a shuttle bus to Mt. Seymour from Lonsdale Quay for $8.
93rd Annual Polar Bear Swim (as a spectator!)
When: January 1st, 12 noon – 2:30pm
Where: English Bay Beach, along Beach Ave between Gilford St and Bidwell St (map)
What: While I wouldn’t recommend that you bring your babe in the freezing waters on January 1st, it could be fun to watch the “crazy” people take the plunge in their costumes during the Polar Bear Swim. Just think, they’ve been doing this for 93 years. Shocking. Thousands of Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club members are heading to English Bay Beach for the 93rd annual Polar Bear Swim. If you (or your partner or friends) do decide to brave the icy waters, you can compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, receive a Polar Bear Swim Club badge and enter to win prizes. To be a club member, you must register (for free) before the swim in front of the English Bay Bathhouse from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. You may also register by clipping out the coupon in The Province and presenting it at the registration desk. Donations of non-perishable food or cash are accepted by the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Costumes are definitely encouraged.
Winter Farmer’s Market
Where: 30th and Ontario Street in the East Parking lot and Plaza of Nat Bailey Stadium (map)
What: The farmer’s market is a relaxing way to entertain out-of-town guests who are interested in a little local colour, pick up a few treats and enjoy the festival atmosphere. There is often entertainment present and it’s a cool way to teach your kids the connection between what they eat and where it comes from. Find out much more about the market and how to get there on the Vancouver Farmer’s Market site. You can find out exactly who is at the market, where their stall is located and what they sell on the handy locator too! If you miss it this week, you can always come back next Saturday…
Tree Chipping for Charity at Kingsgate Mall (with Free snacks!)
Where: Kingsgate Mall, 370 East Broadway at Kingsway (map)
What: You need to recycle your Christmas tree anyhow (if it’s a live one), so why not support your local community at the same time? Free cookies and hot chocolate will be served, and all proceeds will go to the Mount Pleasant Elementary School to help raise much needed funds for student field trips. Coupons for a free Bonchaz bun will be given out too!
If you don’t live near Kingsgate Mall, never fear. There are many tree chipping / tree recycling venues available (including one at the UBC Botanical Garden), most of which give proceeds to charities such as local schools.
There are a few on-going Holiday events this week too. Catch ’em before they’re gone til next year…
- Trinity St. Christmas lights display – on til Jan 6th (2400 – 2900 Trinity Street (1 block N of McGill St., between Nanaimo and Renfrew) (map))
- St. Paul’s Hospital Lights of Hope display – on til Jan 7th
- Robson Square has free skating on til Feb 28th (next to the Vancouver Art Gallery, map). You can bring your own skates or rent for $4.