VanDusen Botanical Garden—one of North America’s top public gardens—kicks off the holiday season with the launch of Festival of Lights (FOL).
With more than 100,000 visitors in December 2013, FOL is one of Vancouver’s most popular winter events and a holiday tradition for many. More than one million lights will decorate four hectares (10 acres) nightly December 10 through January 4, 2015 (closed December 25). This year, the garden celebrates FOL’s 30thanniversary with a frozen winter wonderland theme.
Visitors can stroll through themed areas including Gingerbread Wood, Candy Cane Lane, Mistletoe Mischief and Hidden Hollow. The enthralling Dancing Lights on Livingstone Lake is a highlight. Every half hour on the half hour, thousands of lights “dance” to seasonal music.
Until December 24, visitors can have photos taken with Santa, enjoy a comedic performance by Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes Svend and Jens, watch a shadow puppet show by the talented duo, Mind of a Snail and check out the toy train. New this year, visitors can light up interactive icebergs in Livingstone Lake with voice activated technology.
Each year FOL partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation, which creates the ethereal Candle Grotto where visitors can make a donation and light a candle or purchase a glow star necklace. This year, the Make-A-Wish Room of Joy, inside the Visitor Centre will feature Hoth for the Holidays, a Star Wars-themed display created by the Vancouver LEGO Club.
There will be plenty to eat during the festival. Shaughnessy Restaurant and Truffles Café will both be open for dinner. Shaughnessy Restaurant is hosting Santa’s Kitchen, Frosty’s Patio & Bar and Mrs. Klaus’s Kettle Corn inside the Garden. Truffles Café is operating a pop-up café just inside the garden entrance. Food trucks, including Cin City Donuts and Whistler Wood Fired Pizza, will be onsite.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and youth, $8 for children, $34 for families and children two and under are free. Advanced tickets can be purchased at the admissions desk at VanDusen during regular garden hours or online.
Parking is limited and VanDusen strongly recommends FOL visitors take public transit, walk or bike. More information at vancouver.ca/VanDusenFOL and mobile app at VDGFOL.ca.
VanDusen wishes to thank media sponsors CBC, Georgia Straight, Ming Pao, VanCity Buzz and event partners Shaughnessy Restaurant, Truffles Café and WesternOne for their generous support.