Cultural Calendar

I hope everyone enjoyed their Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. But now that that’s over, the holiday season is upon us. Metro Vancouver cities and parks are adorned with twinkling lights setting the stage for enchanting holiday markets, festive songs and seasonal treats. As winter coats the surroundings in a gentle chill, the warmth of community and the spirit of giving permeate every event, making it a truly special time to revel in our city’s cultural richness and festive cheer. Whether strolling through dazzling displays or immersing oneself in the arts, the city’s events and festivals during this season promise an unforgettable celebration of joy and togetherness.

* * *

Canyon Lights

Nov. 17, 2023–Jan. 21, 2024

Canyon Lights returns to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park this holiday season. Cross the world-famous bridge, lit end-to-end with a changing multi-colour display and sway high above the illuminated Capilano River. Journey into a glittering rainforest and walk high above the forest floor on a transformed Treetops Adventure. Finally, walk along the twinkling cliffside pathway of Cliffwalk. For tickets and more information, check out their website.

* * *

Under 60 Tons

Nov. 24, 2023–May 20, 2024

The Vancouver Maritime Museum will be hosting a beautiful series by photographer Reave Dennison. Working exclusively in black and white film, Reave finds most success photographing at night and prints and develops his own work. Capturing an industry seldom discussed in the art world, the series is based on Reave’s own experience working on tug boats. With shifts generally running two weeks on, two weeks off, Reave started documenting the extreme conditions – weather, seasickness, solitude – of this forgotten world. For more information on this exhibit, check out the museum’s website.

* * *

Gathie Falk: Revelations

Nov. 25, 2023–May 6, 2024

The Gingerbread Men will perform at the Arts Club. | Photo courtesy of Arts Club Theatre Company.

If you and your family or friends are heading up to Whistler for the winter or early spring season, why not check out the Audain Art Museum’s current exhibit on Canadian artist Gathie Falk. Gathie Falk: Revelations investigates the career of the legendary Canadian artist. Now in her nineties, Falk was born in 1928 of Russian Mennonite heritage in Brandon, Manitoba. She settled in Vancouver, where she established herself as one of the country’s most visionary and experimental artists. The current 2022-24 touring exhibition, with over 90 works and only two venues in Western Canada including the Audain Art Museum, underlines the incredible range of her creative output in ceramic and bronze sculpture, acrylic and oil on canvas painting, photography and video, as well as multi-media installation.

* * *

Third Edition of the Vancouver International Black Film Festival

Dec. 1–4

After two successful editions, the Vancouver Intl. Black Film Festival is back once again with a hybrid version to amplify the voices of Afro-descendants in British Columbia and to foster accessibility across the country. The In-Person screenings and events will take place at the VIFF Vancity Theatre and Studio Theatre. The opening night is a red-carpet event happening on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and opens with Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father the Devil at the Vancity Theatre. An ethical and psychological thriller about an African refugee working as the head chef at a retirement home in small-town France whose quiet existence is upended by the arrival of Father Patrick (Souleymane Sy Savané), a charismatic priest with whom she is convinced she shares a heavy past in her homeland. Marie must now confirm his identity and decide if settling an old score is worth sacrificing the new life she has built. For tickets, showtimes and more information, please check out the festival’s website.

* * *

The Gingerbread Men: A Holiday Cabaret

Dec. 1–17

Come cozy up with The Gingerbread Men this winter at The Arts Club! Prepare to be whisked away on a dough-lightful cabaret of classic holiday songs and merriment. Fresh out of the pan with their signature golly-gee charm, toe-tapping tunes and buttery-smooth harmonies, these crooners are the perfect recipe for a holly jolly good time. This dashing, debonair, cookie-crazed quartet is served with a side of ham & cheese. They gleefully infuse their performances with witty banter, heartfelt nostalgia, and a celebration of festive traditions, while their playful twists and surprises add a dash of excitement to the mixing bowl. The Gingerbread Men are sure to gingersnap you into the Christmas spirit!

* * *

…wreckage upon wreckage…

Dec. 2–3

The Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre (vAct) will be presenting …wreckage upon wreckage…, created by A Wake of Vultures under the artistic leadership of award-winning sound artist Nancy Tam. In this durational performance installation, Tam documents her existence by encasing her body with cling film and tape to create translucent skin-like creatures from dawn to dusk, accompanied by an immersive soundscape. Each human-shaped chrysalis is then moulted, and the process begins again. The installation is a meditation on history, time and the body – a constant movement toward the future while leaving behind corporeal traces of the past.

* * *

Make It: The Handmade Revolution in Vancouver

Dec. 7–10

Since 2008, Make It has grown to become one of the most popular and well-attended craft fairs in Canada, with biannual shows in Vancouver and Edmonton. This massive growth would have never been possible without the support, enthusiasm and love from the amazing community. Each year, more and more conscious shoppers buy from Makies, which in turn allows them to do the work they love. From Dec. 7 to 10, the show will be at the PNE Forum with hundreds of your favourite Makies, with clothing, accessories, art, home decor, gourmet goodies and more!

* * *

Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Early Music Vancouver (EMV) and the Vancouver Chamber Choir celebrate the festive season with the highly anticipated return of Handel’s Messiah, on Dec. 8 at 7:30pm at The Orpheum. EMV and the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s rendition of Handel’s Messiah offers an intimate, baroque styling of the seasonal favourite, reminiscent of the period instruments and display of virtuosity with which Handel would have been acquainted. Featuring an orchestra of 21 period instrumentalists, a chorus of 24 chamber vocalists and four international soloists specializing in baroque ornamentation performance practice, audiences will be transported to the concert halls of 18th century England, further illuminating the transcendent legacy of this universal treasure.

* * *

In Winter’s House

Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.

musica intima exists to create incredible moments – to share the power of music with their audiences, and invite them into their circle of sound. They will be presenting In Winter’s House on Granville Island on Dec. 9. You’ll experience the whole gamut of seasonal music including new arrangements of well known carols and music from your favourite TV specials. In this season of warmth and tradition, the connections to you and to each other create a beautiful intimacy. Together, we’ll all learn what Winter’s House means to the Storyteller-in-Residence, T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, as well as experience diverse viewpoints through composers from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

* * *

Vancouver Erhu Quartet in Concert

Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

The Vancouver Erhu Quartet explores the sonic possibilities combining the erhu (Chinese violin) with western strings. The quartet consists of Vancouver erhu players Lan Tung and Jun Rong, violinist/violist Parmela Attariwala and cellist Sungyong Lim. Their interpretation of contemporary works is fused with the sensitivity and sense of breath from Asian traditions. At the same time, the musicians have performed/studied various musical styles to explore innovative approaches. Together they bring expertise in various genres, from traditional, contemporary, classical, avant-garde, to world/cross-cultural music. For tickets and more information, please visit the VCT website.