Park & Tilford Gardens is a hidden gem in North Vancouver. So few people take advantage of these amazing gardens right in the heart of the City. We go there frequently, either after a coffee or when we’re out getting groceries. Whether you spend 5 minutes or a half hour, it’s a great little oasis.
Today Damien and I spent about 5 minutes in the gardens after we got groceries. It was late for him, close to his nap, but he was so excited about the Christmas lights going up that he ran through it all anyway! “Christmas! More Christmas! These not ready yet (off), these ones ready now!! Look, Christmas!!”
The Holiday Hi-Light Festival will begin on November 28th and I would recommend you make a visit a part of your holiday traditions. We’ll be there a few times I’m sure! You can find all the details about this year’s event here.
One of our most special activities around the holidays is a visit to the Polar Express run by the West Coast Railway in Squamish. Each year we trek up to be a part of the experience that goes along with Aiden’s all-time favourite movie.
Earlier this year, I held a Polar Express party to “break out” the movie, which I’d reserved just for this time of year, seeing as he wasn’t willingly going to stop watching it otherwise! We had cookies and hot chocolate and popcorn and crafts and a lovely movie experience. We have since watched the movie many many times more.
I felt like West Coast Rail really put a lot more thought into the whole Polar Express experience this year. There were far more places for family photos – the caboose, with Santa, professional photos in an interior caboose (for a fee), the pop-out people – just so much more went into the year. The train ride was also longer than normal, but I don’t know if that was on purpose. I was happy that our coach had a better sound system to hear the story and that the carolling was also more organized – such a fun time.
Once we were back inside, we had a quick visit with Santa (though I do wish they had a Santa with a real beard!) and a trip on the mini train. This year, Santa came out on the mini train with Mrs. Claus and there was a tunnel on the mini train, so that was very nice.
In addition to the gingerbread cookie station, this year they set up the second floor of the roundhouse with a Christmas Village train set and a whole row of crafts and activities. Unfortunately, due to Damien’s nap, we had to book a late train ride and we were cutting it close to their dinner time by the time we’d finished with Santa. We skipped the craft sections, viewing only the lovely little village set up.
I was hoping to wait for the nice photos from our SLR before publishing this, but who knows when Ianiv will be done with those! Still, some nice shots here anyway!
It seems we celebrate many holidays at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, as it is now a part of our yearly traditions for both Hallowe’en and for Christmas. This year, we went to Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge with some friends of ours, which made the experience so nice for the kids. Unlike years past, we went after dinner, so there were no hungry kids melting down and, surprisingly, they didn’t fuss from being tired!
We made gingerbread cookies, listened to music, walked around the pond, toured the treetops and posed for some photos. A perfect night!
As in years past, we paid a visit to Stanley Park for the Bright Nights Christmas Train. With over 3 million lights, it’s always a fun visit, and this year they added a huge new reindeer with red and sparkly lights. Glorious. We arrived a little earlier than planned, so we ate some popcorn and viewed the lights, then lined up for our train – the highlight of the trip for our boys!
The theme of the train this year was Charlie Brown, so that was super cute for us parents, even if the kids didn’t understand the reference. The fact that they theme the train every year never ceases to amaze me. A job well done!
And of course, you need a little drama! Damien was fussing with a cold all night, so he didn’t leave my arms. I attempted to hold him in the cute family portrait cut-out, not noticing that he was kicking Aiden in the head. Oops!
Our family spends a lot of time at the Park & Tilford Gardens in North Vancouver. It’s a little gem of a place that offers us a convenient place to let the kids run around and explore after going for coffee and/or grabbing groceries. Their favourite spot has always been the fish pond, now iced over and beautifully decorated for the Holiday Hi-Light Festival.
We kept the kids up late last Friday to pay a visit to the lights, despite the sub-zero temperatures. We walked around the gardens, ending up making cookies and watching the live entertainment included on Family Friday Nights. Damien even had a little visit with Santa!
North Vancouver is an amazing place to live!