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10 dog-friendly festive holiday activities to do with your pup around Vancouver in 2021

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - and these dog-friendly holiday events in Vancouver will get you in the festive spirit.

Dogs can also enjoy the festive Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (Photo: @goldenmase)

We're fast approaching mid-December and Vancouver is already sparkling with Christmas lights, giant baubles and tree tunnels galore, making it one of the most beautiful times of year in our rainy city.

It's also stuffed to the brim with festive things to do this month, from light shows, ice skating and photoshoots with Santa Claus.

But if you're a dog owner dismayed because you can't bring your dog to the Vancouver Christmas Market or the Van Dusen Festival of Lights (service dogs are allowed though), look no further, as we've gathered all the attractions in the city and Lower Mainland that are pooch-friendly, so you don't have to worry about leaving your pup at home this festive season!

1. Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

One of North Vancouver's best attractions is the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge which suspends visitors a dizzying 230ft - or 70m - over the Capilano River. When the days grow colder and darker, the park turns into a festive wonderland when everything from the bridge to the treetop walks are illuminated with thousands of fairy lights in the seasonal Canyon Lights show.

Dog-friendly all year round, pups must be kept on a leash while in the park - however they are excluded from the Raptors Ridge area, Cliff House Restaurant and gift shop.

Where: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1

When: November 20, 2021 - January 23, 2022

Tickets: Between $18.95 - 54.95

2. The Big Elf Run

Every year, hundreds of Vancouverites don elf ears, Santa hats and personalised elf bibs to run the 5k, 10k and 15km loops of Stanley Park as part of the annual Big Elf Run on December 11. The best thing about this festive jog is that your pup can join you too! Although tickets are sold out this year, you can still tag along to watch the sprinting elves and enjoy the DJ, "elfie station", vendors and prize giveaways.

Where: Stanley Park

When: December 11

Tickets: Sold out - but you can still head down to watch the runners!

3. Kitsmas Time on Yew

Each December, the Kitsilano 4th Avenue Business Improvement Association puts on Kitsmas - Christmas-themed festivities ranging from prize giveaways, wreath making and photos with Santa, all in trendy Kitsilano.

This year, a Yewltide Stage and a Kitsmas Time Tent will provide music for festive shoppers, an Elfie Selfie wall, a wreath making class and Christmas tree farm - plus photos with Santa! And yes, your pup can join in too!

Where: Yew and 4th Street in Kitsilano

When: December 11, 12-8pm and December 12, 12pm-6pm

Tickets: Free entry, with the first 100 attendees daily receiving a free holiday face covering from kuverUP.

4. Glow Langley

It wouldn't be Christmas in Covid times without a festive drive through event - which is exactly what Glow Langley is. Car rides of friends and family snake through illuminated tunnels and giant baubles on the 20 minute drive around the Glow Garden Centre in Langley, listening along to Glow FM - the centre's exclusive radio station playing festive Christmas music.

And of course, as you'll be in your own car, every member of the family can come along, with pups welcome to take in the lights with their favourite humans.

Where: 6690 216 St, Langley, BC V2Y 2N9

When: November 18th, 2021 - January 1st, 2022 from 4.30pm onwards.

Tickets: A car pass for up to 8 people is $39.99

5. PNE Winterlights

The PNE Winterlights are Vancouver's answer to Glow Langley, featuring a snowglobe village, bonus light tunnels and live performers all through the PNE's Playground. Grab a hot cocoa, crank up the carols, and enjoy the lights in Covid-style - socially distanced from everyone else.

If you don't have a car, you can hop on the Reindeer Shuttle by Translink, with tickets from $10-14 depending on which date you choose.

Your pooch can sit on your lap and view the lights with you - and maybe also have a taster from the food trucks parked up at the end of the drive.

Where: 2901 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1

When: Select dates in December

Tickets: $37 - $42 per car depending on dates.

6. Lights at Lafarge

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, which is why the Lights at Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam are not just great because of how dog-friendly they are, but the entire event is completely free. It's not often in Metro Vancouver that you hear that!

Hosted by the City of Coquitlam, the Town Centre Park at the lake will be illuminated in fairy lights for visitors to complete various loops of the lake while getting that perfect Instagram snap.

Where: 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

When: November 27, 2021 - January 3, 2022

Tickets: Free!

7. Eastside Flea Holiday Markets

After a long closure due to Covid, the coveted Eastside Flea is back in business from this weekend where shoppers can browse items from more than 50 vendors and food trucks. Plus your on-leash pup is more than welcome - in fact, encouraged - to join you! The market's Instagram account also has it's own story dedicated to the dogs of the Eastside Flea - check out all the adorable pooches that have visited the Flea!

Where: 550 Malkin Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 3X2

When: December 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19 from 11am to 5pm.

Tickets: Free!

8. Photos with Santa

It wouldn't be Christmas without getting a photo with Santa! Even if your pup isn't that enthused by Christmas decorations, they'll love a cuddle with Santa at any of these spots, ranging from PetSmart, Tisol and the Capilano Mall - plus tonnes of others!

Where: Across Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland

When: Throughout December

Tickets: Free or by donation

9. GLOW Maple Ridge

For the third year in a row, the City of Maple Ridge is decking out its Town Centre and Memorial Peace Park with a twinkling light tunnel, a brilliant art tree, a glowing bandstand, and an interactive illuminated sequoia tree. You and your pup can also enjoy some music at the bandstand - check out the line up on the link below.

Where: Memorial Peace Park and the city centre, Maple Ridge

When: November 26, 2021 - January 7, 2022

Tickets: Free

10. Festival of Trees

The Fairmont prides itself on being one the first luxury hotels in Vancouver to welcome dogs with open arms, so of course its natural that the hotel's Festival of Trees event is completely pet-friendly. Furry friends are encouraged to visit this festive installation with their owners and pose beside voluminous Christmas trees - you can even take snaps and vote by text for your favourite tree with the proceeds benefitting the BC Children's Hospital Foundation. Pups can also meet the hotel's resident concierge dogs, Ella and Elly and pick up some luxurious dog treats at the retail pop-up in the lobby.

Where: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6

When: November 26, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Tickets: Free - donations by text when voting.

Want to find dog-friendly activities happening near you? Download the free PawSwap app today so you can enjoy the holiday season with your pup by your side!


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