Every December the VanDusen Botanical Garden splashes out its thousands of christmas lights for the Festival of Lights – glorious twinkly madness of colours. I can’t remember the day I went, but I think regardless whether weekend or weekday expect to find yourself among a healthy crowd of people, strollers, and annoying photographers with their tripods taking up part of the small path to snap away (oh! one of them was me). Aside from it being a bit crowded, I had a great time drinking hot chocolate, eating a quality bavarian smokie from one of the food vendors, and soaking up the wintery christmas spirit.
Located along Oak street just past 33rd, it’s easy to bike to if you live in Vancouver with ample bike parking near the entrance. There’s also a convenient bus stop close by, just hop on the 17 Oak/Downtown bus. There’s an admission fee, and it’s $14.25 (includes HST) for adults. You can buy tickets in advance through the VanDusen website but there’s a service fee which I’m never a fan of so I just showed up and waited in line which looked long but moved quickly.
Walking around I felt like a kid again sparkly eyed (and sugar high from all the hot chocolate) and it was a really fun way to spend the evening. There were several heated tents set up around the site so you could defrost if needed and carry on exploring. Different pathways took you around and a favourite of mine was the one where you walked by a field of “flowers” which were actually water bottles cut up.
This event was my first trip to VanDusen and I found out later that the Festival of Lights was only on a very small part of the garden. In Spring, I read that there are hundreds of cherry blossom trees that bloom so I’m looking forward to visiting again come April and exploring the entire garden.
For more information on VanDusen check out their website.