Festival of Lights @ VanDusen

When Louise XIV walked through the Versailles gardens, his staff were on the ready. Turn on the water in the water-hog fountain beauties as he walks by. Turn off the water when the Sun King is out of sight.

But, the intricate gardens of André Le Nôtre were to be enjoyed beyond the light of day. Trees and topiary were illuminated at night with pots of fire, candle chandeliers and fireworks. Giant installations – fiery dragons, stars, mythological figures, glowing suns – would be announced by cannons and set afloat on the canal.

Who knows what Louis would have dreamed up if he had had 2019 garden technology – LED lights, tree speakers, holographic laser projections! XIV’s spirit lingers in the night-lit gardens that gleam today. He would find one fine descendant in the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Gardens.

This 2019 holiday evening garden exhibit features more than one million lights over 15 acres. “Almost overnight, we switch into bulbs that don’t get planted in the ground, but get planted up into trees,” says Garden Superintendent James Warkentin. “The gardeners who work at VanDusen year-round are the main crew that install the light show.”

Here’s a look at these gardeners and the great crowd of volunteers who take the garden from January design to December launch. It’s a child from the Make a Wish Foundation – the Festival of Lights’ charitable partner  – who pushes the button to light the lights on opening night.


VanDusen’s Festival of Lights is scheduled to run until January 6th.

VanDusen Festival of Lights

Written by Elizabeth Newton

Header: Anton Scherbakov
Photo #2: Anatolii Kiriak


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton