Shimmering holiday displays adorn Richmond like a bauble-covered Christmas tree. But where exactly are the most impressive decorations to look out for in the city? Read on for our glittering round-up of Richmond’s most magical displays—and see how many you can visit this season.
Every year, Richmond decorates for the holidays—and 2019 is no exception. There are more than 650,000 bulbs being deployed by the City this season, including two gigantic, selfie-ready Christmas baubles outside of City Hall (6911 No. 3 Road). But there’s also a reason to duck inside: officially launching on December 7, the City Hall interior is lined with trees decorated by the Rotary Club of Richmond Sunset for its annual Winter Wonderland season. Check them out anytime or drop by for free Saturday afternoon concerts—details here. Don’t forget to bring along a non-perishable item for the local food bank if you can.
Two 15-foot tall Christmas ornaments can be found outside of City Hall. | Photo: City of Richmond
This historic waterfront community is a 2019 hot spot for festive illuminations. Look out for the twinkling lights at Britannia Heritage Shipyards National Historic Site and the Steveston Interurban Tram Building among others. But don't miss the new Dancing Trees Interactive Winter Lights at Town Square Park, next to the Steveston Museum. Running from 3:00pm to 9:00pm daily, you can sing or clap your hands to make the lights dance. And while you’re here, check out Steveston’s multitude of Winter in the Village events—many of them free—running throughout December.
Steveston's historic sites will be illuminated over the holidays. | Photo: City of Richmond
Steveston Festival of Trees
The annual display of brilliantly decorated trees at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site—each from a different local organization or community group—transforms its evocative heritage interior into a dazzling smorgasbord of Yuletide creativity. Spend some time browsing the wildly diverse efforts and then vote for your personal favourite. Regular Cannery admission fees apply for this event, but admission is free on Farmers’ Market days (December 8 and 15).
The Festival of Trees. | Photo: Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society
One of the city’s biggest malls, Lansdowne Centre has created its own shimmering wonderland of frosty-looking trees, oversized snowflakes, and woodland deer. You can also snag some photos with Santa in his giant plush throne here—there’s even a special mailbox for posting your letters to the Jolly Old Elf if you get tongue-tied in his presence. And if you’re a train fan, you can also hop on a holiday locomotive that trundles between leaping reindeer and giant candy canes. Click here for Lansdowne’s roster of festive events and activities.
Discover a shimmering winter wonderland at Lansdowne Centre. | John Lee
Looking for BC’s biggest reindeer? Head to Aberdeen Centre mall where the Central Atrium is home to a humongous pair of furry reindeer, sitting alongside a twinkling white Christmas tree that stretches up two levels. Adding to the fun, there are regular festive music performances on the stage alongside it—click here for the schedule. But that’s not all: keep your eyes peeled for other displays around the mall, including a fairy-tale horse and carriage and a twinkling diorama of reindeer and gingerbread men.
Two giant reindeer await at Aberdeen Centre. | John Lee
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
It’s hard not to feel festive when you wander among the decorated shops at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport. A great place for last-minute gift shopping, the storefronts here are adorned with sparkling lights and holiday wreaths. But there are also colourful tin soldiers and one of the region’s largest outdoor Christmas trees to check out—perfect for snapping some great family photos. Need more? There’s also a new walk-through light tunnel here, plus appearances by Santa himself on December 14 and 15—bring your own device for free photos with the red-robed wonder.
Don’t miss the towering tree at McArthurGlen. | Photo: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport
CF Richmond Centre
By the magic of Christmas (and perhaps a little extra fairy dust), Santa is also appearing this season at CF Richmond Centre. You can book ahead to reserve your spot with him, and then stroll around the mall to check out the holiday displays—including a walk-through ornament; some twinkling deer; and a huge illuminated moose that looks ready to gallop around the mall at any moment. And if you find a few final last-minute presents but don’t have time to package them, there’s a popular gift-wrapping service here that can help.
The giant shimmering moose at CF Richmond Centre. | Photo: John Lee