Yaletown magically becomes Candytown this weekend!

This story is from 2017 and was sponsored by Yaletown BIA, which did not review or approve its content.

Thousands of Lower Mainlanders will kick-off the Christmas season this Saturday when Vancouver’s sparkling CandyTown holiday festival pops-up again on the heritage streets of Yaletown. Now in its sixth year, the free-entry alfresco event will once again be brimming with seasonal cheer for giddy Yuletide fans of all ages.


For children

Running from noon to 7pm, the winter wonderland street party serves up a full menu of family-friendly fun. Kids can build their own candy kebobs (while trying not to eat all the ingredients); have their faces painted (anyone for Rudolph?); twist their own balloon animals; and even snap selfies with wandering fairyland characters.


But most Christmas-loving tykes will save their best photo-ready grins for two special visitors. Santa will be on-site from noon to 3 p.m., while the Ice Queen – complete with dramatic headgear – takes over until 7 p.m. Photos with these festive legends are free but donations to BC Children’s Hospital are highly encouraged.

Not just for kids

Donations are also invited if you fancy hopping aboard CandyTown’s old-fashioned covered carriage, pulled by a pair of handsome Clydesdales. Slowing the pace of Christmas to a more relaxed level, this gentle trundle along local streets will set you up perfectly for a spot of leisurely shopping.


Every year, the festival’s artisan All I Want for Christmas Market is a hot draw for visitors with gift lists to cover off – or those who just want to treat themselves. Popular Yaletown boutiques as well as invited arts and crafts purveyors have stands at the event, offering everything from jewelry to pet toys to handmade sock puppets.


And once you’re fully shopped out, don’t miss the sparkling ice-carving demonstrations on Helmcken Street and in Yaletown Park. Or just stroll among the festive crowds on and around Mainland Street, where a toe-tapping host of roaming musicians will stoke the chestnut-warming ambiance.


Fuel-up time

When you’re hungry, some of the city’s favourite food trucks will be on dedicated CandyTown duty to tempt your taste buds – look out for tacos, pierogis and mac and cheese – while several of Yaletown’s own popular treat-purveyors will also be serving their own tasty goodies to peckish passersby.


And while Yaletown’s extensive menu of restaurants is available when you need a sit-down dinner – make sure you book your table ahead of time -- you might also want to round off your Christmassy afternoon with a festive libation or three. Local bars and restaurants including Opus Bar, New Oxford and The Distillery will be offering special seasonal tipples throughout the event.


Why go?

According to Annette O'Shea, Yaletown BIA’s executive director, this year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever. “CandyTown is a truly special event, casting its magic over children, families, couples and friends alike,” she says. “This is the time of year to get swept up in the joy of holiday activities: live Christmas music, the aroma of freshly baked treats, visits with Santa Claus and delightful handcrafted goods – this Saturday is the perfect time to experience all of that in one neighbourhood.”