West Coast Winter Fun for All Ages
(Featured Image by Samantha Levang)
With its temperate winters, Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island is a premiere Canadian destination over the holiday season. It offers many classic Winter-time Canadian traditions without the biting cold.
Take in two outdoor skating rinks (one at The Butchart Gardens and one at Langford City Centre Park), a multitude of craft and artisan fairs, performances, and festivals. Victoria doesn’t skimp when it comes to Christmas. The evenings are a great time to tour the city for epic Christmas displays with lights, decorations, life-sized characters, and music.
A staple of the holiday season with their floats, lights, and displays, parades are a fantastic way to kick off your holiday season. The great thing about parades is all you need to do is find a great viewing spot and your work is done! You and your family can snuggle together and watch as the spectacle passes by. Each float ignites the imagination as you get to see the depth of people’s creativity.
On November 26, catch the Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade; a collection of floats and bands followed by refreshments at Centennial Square where Santa will declare, “Christmas open in Victoria!”
On December 3, enjoy Pancakes with Mr. and Mrs. Claus! Join this festive couple at the Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar for a delicious breakfast. 100% of the proceeds will be put toward assisting local families in need through the Times Colonist Christmas fund.
This year is the 25th Annual Festival of Trees and the first year they are expanding into two locations: the Bay Centre and The Fairmont Empress. Between November 16 and January 5, visitors can freely walk through enchanting displays and vote for their favourite tree. Donations are encouraged but not required. The proceeds are raised for the BC Children’s Hospital.
On December 3, it’s the 4th Annual Ogden Point Christmas Light-Up! There will be activities for the whole family: holiday music, kids’ crafts, local vendors, food trucks, face painting, and pictures with Santa. And let’s not forget the popcorn and hot chocolate!
Then at dusk, watch as Ogden point is lit up with twinkling lights and a Christmas Truck Convoy departs throughout the city.
This event is in support of the Mustard Seed and local food banks, so don’t forget to bring your non-perishable food items and cash donations!
It’s not just a scavenger hunt, it’s a Gingerbread House Scavenger Hunt! 40 gingerbread houses will be meticulously hidden by some sneaky elves in various shops around Sidney. Between December 2 and 21, find 12 and you can enter to win 1 of 3 prizes.
Be sure to check out the first Christmas Craft Beer Show! This 19+ event runs from December 2 to 3. Local micro-breweries will gather to display their seasonal products as well as other customer favourites. Now you don’t need to wait until summer for the next beer show!
With Broadway hits, classical songs, and musical tributes to Johnny Cash, June Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis, Abba, and the Village People, the 10th Annual Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular has become a Victoria favourite. From December 6th to 18th you can catch them at the Sid Williams Theatre, McPherson Playhouse, or Port Theatre. Be sure to check their website for more details.
Taking Tchaikovsky’s score and bringing a Canadian twist, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker begins with a hockey game on a frozen pond. Later, RCMP officers will battle with the Rat King. This stunning performance can be seen December 2 to 4.
From December 9 to 11, the Victoria Symphony returns to preform A Sentimental Christmas led by Maestro Brian Jackson and joined by performers from the Canadian College of Performing Arts. To get you into the holiday spirit, they’ve once again included their sing-a-long Holiday carols.
Where to Stay in Victoria this Holiday Season
Whether you’re here to take in a craft fair or festival or to just enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway, make your home away from home The Lodge at Weir’s Beach. With its picturesque ocean views, beachfront hot tub (that is spectacular during Winter), and gas fireplaces, it the perfect place to snuggle up with a hot chocolate or warm apple cider after a day spent at a parade or symphony.