It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
With December just around the corner, New Westminster is gearing up for a busy festive season. And, coming off a quiet, COVID-restricted year in 2020, it looks like performers and organizations in the city are doing their best to make up for lost time.
Check out this host of offerings that has come our way so far:
DANCE INTO CHRISTMAS
The Richmond Academy of Dance brings its holiday performance to the stage at Massey Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. The show will feature excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, among others – including the pas de deux performed by special guests from Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Tickets are $29 plus service charges.
QUEENSBOROUGH FIRE HALL LIGHTING
The lighting of the fire hall is a beloved Queensborough tradition where the community convenes at the hall for holiday fun. It's presented in partnership with New Westminster Fire Services and the Queensborough Special Programs Committee. This year’s event will take place on Friday, December 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fire Hall No. 3 (Queensborough), 1011 Ewen Ave. You're asked to take along a non-perishable food item to donate to the food bank.
VSO'S TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra returns to the Massey Theatre stage with singing, storytelling and, of course, holiday classics and festive favourites. Conductor Karl Hirzer (who hails from New West and is a New Westminster Secondary School alumnus) and host Christopher Gaze lead shows on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 to $47, plus service charges.
SING WE NOW OF CHRISTMAS
The Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir and Winter Harp are once again teaming up for their popular holiday concert. And you just know it will be magical when the Lower Mainland’s only traditional Celtic male choir performs along with harps, flutes, rare medieval instruments and percussion. It's back on the Massey stage on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m. It's bound to be a full house, so get your tickets now.
A WONDERHEADS CHRISTMAS CAROL
The WONDERHEADS' reimagining of the Dickens classic, with larger-than-life puppets, returns to the Massey Theatre stage on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The show is recommended for ages seven and up. Tickets are $22 to $49, plus service charges.
HOLIDAY FOOD AND ARTISAN MARKET
The New West Farmers Market returns with its holiday food and artisan market, outdoors in the parking lot at New Westminster City Hall. It's set for Saturday, Dec. 11 and Sunday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Pick up gifts or food for your holiday entertaining and enjoy supporting local artisans, makers, producers and growers.
O CHRISTMAS TEA
James & Jamesy return to the Massey Theatre stage with their holiday comedy, sure to delight fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean and Dr. Seuss. It's onstage Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $19 to $44, plus service charges.
SHINE BRIGHT AT ANVIL CENTRE
The Anvil Centre is getting into the festive spirit by taking part in Shine Bright New West from Dec. 16 to 30. When you're strolling downtown to enjoy the holiday lights, you can stop in to the main level for free window performances that include local musical duo Ed & Salve Dayao in an all-ages sing-along; Quayside Voices, with pop and seasonal songs; and New West poet laureate Elliott Slinn and storytellers from Culture Chats with poetry and stories. There will also be ticketed, seated theatre performances in the third-floor theatre, including the "Mexican-flavoured party starter" band Locarno, Canadian children's entertainers the Kerplunks, illusionist Vitaly Beckman, ventriloquist Kellie Haines, jazz trio Triology, Canadian Celtic folk band Blackthorn with Shot of Scotch Vancouver Highland Dancers, and more. Ticketed shows are $20 for afternoons ($10 for students) or $35 for evenings ($25 students/seniors). You can find all the details and ticket links online.
VANCOUVER CANTATA SINGERS
Vancouver Cantata Singers bring their Christmas Reprise XVIII concert to Queens Avenue United Church (529 Queens Ave.) on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Expect traditional carols and contemporary holiday compositions from this high-calibre a cappella choir. Tickets are $35 regular, $15 students, or $10 for youth under 18. You can get information and tickets online.
Royal City Youth Ballet brings its holiday classic back in style, with shows on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19 at 1 and 4 p.m. The lavish production of the full-length, two-act classical ballet delights families every year – and this year is sure to be no exception. Tickets are $44 to $54.
WINTER SOLSTICE DANCE PARTY
This one's part of the city's Shine Bright celebrations: a family-friendly, free dance party at Queen’s Park on the solstice, Tuesday, Dec. 21. Dance in the new season, gather with loved ones, decorate for the holidays, and enjoy good food together! The event features light displays from Arts Council of New Westminster artists-in-residence Ellie Niakan and Catherine Chan, and a dance mix from Royal City Sound. It's presented in partnership with the City of New Westminster, New Westminster Family Place and the Arts Council of New Westminster. You can call 604-525-7388 to register for one of three time slots: 5 to 5:45 p.m., 6 to 6:45 p.m. or 7 to 7:45 p.m. Registration starts on Thursday, Nov. 25 for New Westminster residents and on Friday, Nov. 26 for everyone.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
If you've been hankering for a holiday pantomime, here's your chance. The Royal Canadian Theatre Co. brings this year's festive performance to the Massey Theatre stage on Saturday, Jan. 1 and Sunday, Jan. 2, with shows at 3:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15.99 to $41.49.
ONGOING FUN WITH SHINE BRIGHT NEW WESTMINSTER
Festive Light Display Contest
Residents and businesses can enter a festive light display anytime in December. The community is invited to tour the displays and to vote on their favourites. Does your display stand out from others on your street? Organizers are looking for "colourful, dynamic, bold and unique light displays." Enter between Dec. 1 and 15, but the earlier you enter, the more votes you may receive. The online entry form and holiday light map will be available starting Dec. 1.
Free Take-Home Celebration Kits
These all-ages kits include holiday-themed activities, family-oriented crafts and child-focused giveaways. The celebration kit has everything a family needs to enjoy the holiday season – all you need at home is scissors, glue and colouring tools. Registration is required for a pickup time slot. Pickup is available from Centennial Community Centre on Dec. 15 or at Queensborough Community Centre on Dec. 16. Call 604-525-7388 to reserve a kit from either location. Registration starts on Thursday, Nov. 25 for New Westminster residents and on Friday, Nov. 26 for everyone.
Got another holiday event in New Westminster? We'll be regularly adding to this list as the season unfolds, so send in your details now. Email Julie, email@example.com.