With COVID-19 cases in B.C. and across Canada surging in recent months, the prospect of a post-pandemic winter holiday season has been looking less and less likely.
Several beloved Christmas-season events in Metro Vancouver have been cancelled this year, while others will continue with coronavirus precautions in place.
The following list will be updated with details about 2020 holiday festivities as more announcements are made.
Events still happening:
Surrey Tree Lighting Festival: Surrey's premier holiday event will be held on Nov. 21, with the mayor and council flipping the switch on the city's 60-foot-tall Christmas tree as they have in each of the last 10 years. That said, in-person attendance will not be happening this year. Instead, the festival will be livestreamed on the city's Facebook and YouTube pages, and the usual holiday market will be "transitioned into a virtual marketplace," according to the city's website.
VanDusen Festival of Lights: The 36th annual Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver will happen in 2020, but guests checking out the more than one million lights will be required to purchase tickets online for a designated entry time and spend no more than 45 minutes enjoying the park. The event begins on Nov. 27 and will be operating roughly 20 per cent of its normal capacity, according to the Vancouver Park Board.
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: The annual holiday lights display at Capilano Suspension Bridge is scheduled to start on Dec. 1 with "a few operational changes to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff," according to the park's website. Guests will be required to book online in advance for a specific time to help control crowds and reduce capacity.
Vancouver Christmas Market: After celebrating the European-style outdoor market's 10th anniversary in 2019, organizers announced in early October that they had decided to "postpone" the 2020 edition. They plan to return to Jack Poole Plaza for the 2021 holiday season.
Vancouver Santa Claus Parade: Organizers of the annual Santa Claus parade say they spent months considering alternative ways to hold the event, only to decide on cancelling in late October. The society that organizes the parade says all associated events, including the Santa Claus breakfast at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, have also been cancelled. Organizers hope the parade will return in 2021.
Lights at Lafarge: The City of Coquitlam's signature seasonal event, which in the past has drawn as many as 10,000 people at a time to the city's Town Centre Park, was officially cancelled in late October. The city says it made the decision to cancel the free light display because of B.C.'s ongoing ban on large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.