Vancouver Weekend: We're Thinking....Christmas Trees

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five places in the Lower Mainland where you can purchase a Christmas tree.

      North Country Christmas Trees, East Hastings Street and Windermere Street

      Playland’s closest parking area—and the five-block radius that surrounds it—may be a nightmare to navigate during the PNE’s peak and the leadup to Halloween, but for the month of December, it’s transformed into a serene winter wonderland.

      Well, the northwest corner of the lot is, anyway, where you’ll find twinkling lights, reindeer and snowmen fashioned from expertly cut logs, and a loop of feel-good holiday tunes—all brought together by North Country Christmas Trees to create the most enjoyable fir-shopping experience imaginable.

      And though the selection of crisp evergreens may be overwhelming for novices, you can rest assured that you won’t be bringing home a dud: the company promises only the cream of the Christmas crop, each sourced lovingly from across the Pacific Northwest. That means gorgeous emerald hues, good needle retention, and optimum branch spacing that will ensure your pick is alive and kicking throughout the holidays.

      Grab a tree stand and some handmade ornaments on your way out and consider the occasion set.



      St. Patrick’s Christmas Tree Lot, 2881 Main Street

      Allow us to guess: you don’t have hundreds of square feet to spare in your place. Like more and more Vancouverites, you live in digs modest enough that your bed converts into a coffee table/kitchen island, all of which has to be tilted out of the way whenever you want to use the front door.

      The last time you tried to install a standard-size Christmas tree, it looked like the one in The Poseidon Adventure. So you need something that doesn’t loom, but isn’t a soul-withering twig either.

      One fine source is the tree lot that sets up every year in the parking area of St. Patrick’s Parish, at Main Street and East 13th Avenue. It has a solid inventory of all shapes and sizes, of course, but if you get there early in the going you can take your pick of robust wee trees that look great standing on a tabletop and pack all the olfactory punch of their bigger cousins.

      Keep an eye out for the little Noble firs—they’ve been a space-saving hit in past years, and have all the strength and endurance required to hold up that faintly menacing vintage ornament set you bought up the road at Baker’s Dozen Antiques.


      Art Knapp

      Art Knapp, 1300 Dominion Avenue, Port Coquitlam

      There’s something about Christmas trees that can flick the festive switch from zero to mighty jolly in your humble abode. So if you’re thinking about grabbing one, we suggest heading to Art Knapp for a great selection of fresh-smelling firs.

      As soon as you walk into store, you’ll immediately feel a boost of holiday cheer. From its intricately decorated showroom trees to the Christmas décor that fills the nursery, you might get the sudden urge to rush home and start planting sparkly ornaments on your own tree.

      If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas tree, browse through its selection of Douglas, Grand, and Fraser firs and—the most coveted bunch of them all—bountiful Noble firs, which emit the scent of fresh trees on a mountaintop.

      The trees range from five to seven feet, and will set you back anywhere from $35 to $75. But once your holiday party guests glance in awe at your plush tree, adorned with silver and gold ribbons, alongside sparkly string lights, it’ll all be worth it. 



      Lord Byng Christmas Tree Lot, 3939 West 6th Avenue

      Christmas is the most expensive holiday of the year, and—let’s face it—most of your hard-earned dollars are going to end up boosting the bonuses of various multinational corporations. Capitalism sucks, man.

      But while the big retail chains might offer some significant discounts on their fake trees, there are a few alternatives around town. Number one on the list for Christmas cheer is the Lord Byng Secondary School Christmas tree lot.

      Setting up shop in the parking lot, Lord Byng’s sale offers a wide selection of real trees for you to choose from—and, best of all, the proceeds will go directly toward the school’s P.E. and athletics departments.

      So instead of letting the CEO from that big-box shop buy an extra-big turducken this year, your purchase could help fund a future Vancouver Olympian. Think of that.



      Real Canadian Superstore, various locations

      The part of A Christmas Story that resonates with us most isn't the one where Ralphie almost shoots his eye out. Or where Flick sticks his tongue to the metal pole after the dreaded triple-dog dare. Or where the lamp that glows with soft electric sex arrives in a box stamped “FRAGILE” (pronounced "Frahh-gee-layyy").

      As wonderful as such scenes are, we're all about the trip to the Christmas tree lot. Like the Old Man, we love a bargain and will do anything to get one. The problem is that bartering isn't really socially acceptable these days unless you're buying your Christmas tree at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

      So instead of haggling, what we do is head to the Real Canadian Superstore. What the big-box outlet's makeshift tree lot lacks in retro charm it makes up for in price. For five years running, we've walked away with a seven-foot Douglas fir for under 35 bucks. Arrive early for the best selection, because by mid-month the lot starts to look like a suburban electronics store after Black Friday.

      And if you blow a tire on your way back from your bargain-basement score—the tree strapped to the roof of your Evo car—don't forget to inject a little old-timey spirit into the proceedings by yelling, “Ohh, fuuu-ddgge” (but pronounced, of course, “Oohhhh, fuuuuuuckkkkkk”).

      Running every Thursday, Vancouver Weekend spotlights five Straight-approved places around the city worth discovering.