It’s not Christmas until the festive films start! Take a carload of friends and family to catch a holiday movie at Vancouver’s only Christmas drive-in. December brings the classic British rom-com, Love Actually and the animated adventure, The Polar Express to the big screen, with Home Alone, Die Hard, Elf and other Christmas classics coming soon. Try to arrive early to snag the best parking space.
650 East Kent Avenue (East Kent & Boundary), half block south of the intersection of Marine Way and Boundary Road in South Vancouver The Polar Express, gates open at 6 p.m, movie starts at 7 p.m.; Love Actually, gates open at 8:30 p.m., movie starts at 9:30 p.m.; tickets for a car up to seven passengers are $20 per movie
The star of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy brings her unabashed humour to Vancouver for a one-night stand-up show stuffed full of laughs. Expect a performance full of uninhibited comedy that’s likely to touch on relationships, embarrassing incidents and the American election.
Festival of Lights - Thursday, December 1 to Monday, January 2
VanDusen Botanical Garden comes alive with colour at the annual Festival of Lights. Highlights this year include a new carousel (enjoy one free ride with your entry ticket), the Dancing Lights show on Livingstone Lake, roving Scandinavian gnomes and reindeer in the garden, and the Make-A-Wish candle grotto.
5251 Oak Street; click here for hours and details Tickets $18.50 ($14.24 for seniors)
Enchanting China: An Orchestral Extravaganza - Tuesday, November 29 and Wednesday, November 30
Experience the Canadian debut of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, which features 70 musicians including masters of the Sheng (free-reed bamboo pipe), Pipa (four-stringed lute) and the Erhu (spike fiddle). Direct from Beijing, the orchestra will be joined by singer Gong Linna, a major artist in Asia and Europe who has been described as 'China's Bjork'.
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 650 Hamilton Street
8 p.m.; tickets from $28
Vancouver Christmas Market - Saturday, November 26 to Saturday, December 31
Now in its new, much bigger home at Jack Poole Plaza, the seventh annual Vancouver Christmas Market brings a slice of German-style seasonal celebrations to the city with food stalls, a Christmas carousel and unique gifts (everything from Canadian candles to wooden German decorations). Say cheers with Bavarian beer, mulled wine and plenty of pretzels and sweet treats to keep guests feeling festive.
Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Place; tickets $4-8
Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed 6 p.m. December 24 and closed December 25)
Celebrate Vancouver’s burlesque community at this special event. Twenty local performers will film their acts in front of a live audience to apply for burlesque festivals, including the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. Based on the popular Seattle Marathong, the evening should be fun for performers and the audience alike.
Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway; doors 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door
The Yaletown Business Improvement Association transforms the neighbourhood into a winter wonderland with ice sculptures, a gift market, the chance to meet Santa and trees from the Yaletown Rotary Club Christmas tree lot. Horse-drawn carriage rides, food trucks (including Cloud Nine Cotton Candy Co.) and themed cocktails (such as the Candy Cane at local OPUS Bar) make it a sweet day out for everyone. Visit the YBIA website for a full schedule of activities.
Mainland Street in Yaletown; Saturday, November 26; 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Carriage rides are 15 minutes and depart from Salsa and Agave on Pacific Boulevard, with a suggested $2 charity donation
Strathcona Winter Craft Fair - Saturday, November 26
Meet the makers at Strathcona’s artisan fair. Local artists and crafters will be selling an eclectic selection of gifts, ranging from seeds, handmade puppets and upcycled furniture to boutique booze, mineral makeup and soap made by a local 10-year-old named Stella.
Strathcona Community Centre gymnasium, 601 Keefer Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $2 (kids under 12 free)
Vancouver Turkish Film Festival - Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27
With a mission to provide an international platform for Turkish filmmakers to showcase their work and to bridge the cultural gap between Canada and Turkey, the VTFF brings a range of films to Vancouver. This year's features include Bad Cat (pictured), an animated movie about a hot-headed feline, Blue Bicycle, an historic coming-of-age drama, plus many more internationally acclaimed movies.
Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour Street; various times
Three-film ticket packs $27; check online for full listings
Frank + Oak Warehouse Sale - Wednesday, November 23 to Monday, November 28
Canadian menswear brand Frank + Oak’s five-day warehouse sale features up to 75 per cent off men's clothing including outerwear, button-ups, T-shirts, denim, bottoms, swimwear, underwear, accessories and more. Pick up some presents for the stylish men in your life (and get a good deal at the same time).
555 West Broadway
November 24 and 25, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; November 26 and 27, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; November 28 - 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Amy Watkins is a British writer who fell in love with Vancouver when she visited on an assignment and then moved here. She writes about travel for national UK publications and writes BCLiving's weekly events column.