A festive community celebration
The fog may have prevented the Carol Ships from dazzling crowds at Deep Cove’s Panorama Park on Saturday, December 9, but it certainly didn’t stop the community from coming together for a festive celebration. North Vancouver Recreation & Culture put together a delightful shoreside event to coincide with the yearly tradition of watching elaborately decorated cruise ships and smaller boats sail by, blasting holiday favourites and blinking multi-coloured Christmas lights across the water. And while the ships weren’t able to show up to enchant the crowds clustered along Deep Cove’s rocky shores, the rest of the event more than made up for it.
Something for everyone
As I stood at the water’s edge, anticipating the ship’s arrival for my first Carol Ships experience, I prepared to set out amongst the crowd and ask children what the highlight of the event was to them, I expected some disappointed answers. Perhaps “I wanted to see the ships!!”, or something to that effect. Interestingly, nobody even mentioned the ships being a no-show. They were all too busy enjoying the fun-filled event and its features. A bonfire blazed for a huddled crowd, sending sparks flying high into a pitch black sky. A female-fronted rock band injected holiday spirit into the atmosphere with seasonal hits like “Run Run Rudolph” and “Jingle Bell Rock”, even throwing in some non-holiday classic favourites like “Billie Jean” and “Love Shack”.
The fire combined with the music created a sense of comfort, while crafts like making bug lamps and leaf prints inspired joy in attendees of all ages. Blanche MacDonald makeup artists were even on hand for free (and impressive) face painting (this was my daughter’s favourite part of the event. She loved her adorable reindeer makeup). To top it all off, Old Saint Nick himself made an appearance, lighting up the eyes of wee ones as they shyly whispered their wishes. Liam, 9, and Callum, 8, most enjoyed the live music. Gemma, 7, had “a blast” making her own bug lamp. Little Aubrey, 4, was over the moon to meet Santa.
Making our own main event
For me, this event was an important lesson in the power of community celebration. In this life, things can change on the turn of a dime, and even the best laid plans don’t always work out, particularly during the chaotic holiday season. But what I witnessed Saturday evening was a fun-loving community sharing a spirited and peaceful moment, shrugging off the fact that the “main event” wasn’t to be. We made our own event at Panorama park that evening, and it reinforced what I already knew about North Shore folks - we know how to unite and make the most of a party!
For more great events, view the NVRC's Event Calendar
Stephanie is a professional writer and photographer residing in North Vancouver with her husband and five-year-old daughter. She grew up in Ontario, but considers British Columbia to be her true home. Having attended the journalism program at George Brown college in Toronto, Stephanie’s writing career has included music journalism works with the likes of Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Sound Magazine, and she has written blogs and content/copywriting for various fashion, beauty and lifestyle publications and brands around the world.
Stephanie owns The Imperative Image, an affordable photography service for professionals. As a wellness advocate and a proud North Shore resident, Stephanie is thrilled to contribute to the NVRC Active Living Blog.