Journey through a forest of 3 million twinkling lights on this holiday train in Vancouver

Photo: City of Vancouver

It's all aboard the most magical train in Vancouver at the annual holiday train in Stanley Park beginning this month. 

The Bright Nights Christmas Train is on track for its 23rd annual event, which will run Nov. 26 – Jan. 1, 2021 (closed Christmas Day), 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. nightly. There will be no matinee train rides this year.

This train ride, with themed holiday lights, decorations, and music along the 15-minute route, will be the sole activity for this event. There will be no activation of any indoor spaces, including the plaza, in order to fulfil COVID-19 safety requirements, states a release from the City of Vancouver. 

Park Board staff have worked closely with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to ensure the event can be experienced safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be Plexiglas dividers between each bench and face masks will be mandatory for all guests and staff at the site and on the train. 

Tickets and Safety Protocols 

Tickets will be available for purchase online only beginning Nov. 6.

No tickets will be available for purchase on-site. Ticket holders should arrive no more than 30 minutes prior to their designated train ride and be prepared to enter the site as soon as the preceding train is en route.  Latecomers cannot be accommodated due to capacity limitations. As in previous years, parking will be free.

A number of new safety protocols will be in place including:

  • the front half of the parking lot will be closed to vehicles and used as a designated waiting/queuing area with physical distancing markers in place
  • free visitor parking will be located at nearby Stanley Park Service Yard and Stanley Park Information Booth, although there will be designated pick-up/drop-off area, disabled parking, and limited visitor parking at the train site
  • in the designated waiting/queuing area by the front gate, only passengers with tickets for the next time slot will be queued
  • at the train station, passengers will have their tickets scanned and will wait to board the next train
  • once the train arrives, passengers will disembark and be directed off the platform and to the exit out the back gate; there will be no crossover of groups of passengers who will walk in one direction
  • once the platform is cleared, the group waiting in the station will enter the platform to board the train
  • once boarding is complete, the group waiting by the front entrance will enter the site

What Bright Nights does for the community 

Combined with donations at the event, Bright Nights is the single largest fundraising event for the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which provides life-saving, life-supporting, and life-enriching services to burn survivors from across the province. The Park Board has donated more than $1.5 million to the Burn Fund since the event partnership began in 1998.  

In previous years, firefighters from across the province would come together to install up to three million lights at Bright Nights for the community to enjoy. This year, in order to follow COVID-19 safety requirements, firefighters will only hang lights in the area between the gate entrance and Christmas Train. The public will have the opportunity to make a cash donation to the Burn Fund at the front gate. The Burn Fund has also launched a Bright Nights 50/50 raffle to raise important funds enabling burn survivor programs to operate year-round.

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