Christmas in Victoria
By Nicole Rutherford
Victoria may be the city that gets the least amount of snow in Canada, but it certainly doesn’t lack in holiday spirit! Each year people seem to be ready for Christmas and the winter season a little bit earlier—heck, the Island Farm’s Santa’s Light Parade happened November 17th this year! However, if you missed out on that you don’t have to worry; there are dozens of fun events and activities still coming up for tourists and residents alike to enjoy.
To start off (and to catch you up on your holiday parade quota) why not visit the Sydney Sparkles parade coming up on Saturday November 24th at 5:00? This traditional parade also includes as an island-appropriate “SailPast Parade” where embellished boats light up the Sydney Wharf! Still want more? The very next week, December 1st at 7:00 pm, you can head to downtown Victoria for the 14th annual Island Equipment Owners Association’s truck parade where owners of large trucks and heavy equipment have carefully decorated their vehicles to become giant, illuminated floats.
Need more lights? At 5:00pm on November 27th at the Legislative lawn is the Lights Across Canada event featuring live instrumental music, two children’s choirs, and complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as the giant Sequoia Tree is lit up. If you like this, you’ll also love the Festival of Trees at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, where spectators can vote on their favorite-themed tree put together by local businesses and organizations while raising money for the BC Children’s Hospital. For a final lights attraction, starting December 1st you can also see the Christmas Lights Tour at the Butchart Gardens and try to track down all 12 of the themes of the 12-days of Christmas.
If you’d rather celebrate the season by enjoying local entertainment, then you’re in luck! Victoria will be hosting several holiday-themed shows, including the Allegra Singer’s Winter Concert running from November 30th-December 1st, while the Royal Theatre and McPhearson Playhouse put on the Nutcracker, featuring a cast made up of 150-members!
Would you rather focus on giving to others? This time of year there is also a variety of fulfilling volunteer opportunities in Victoria. Why not be a “Christmas Elf” and help elderly folks to unwrap their presents and to read their Christmas letters? Love to decorate? You can channel your inner Martha Stewart and help to bedazzle retirement homes and long-term care facilities in various locations around town. Or, if you’re not the decorating kind of person, you can always help to coordinate hamper donations at many societies around Victoria.
Lastly, we can’t forget how physically active most people in Victoria love to be, and for this you will also be delighted: Mount Washington has announced an early season opening on November 30th thanks to an astounding 80cm of snow received over the last couple of weekends. Just a two-and-a half hour drive from Victoria, this ski and snowboard destination will be sure to tucker you out just in time to feast on a delicious turkey dinner.
Hopefully these ideas have inspired a little holiday excitement in each of you. For more information on these and other upcoming events, please visit the Victoria Events Calendar.
On behalf of the Parkside Victoria Resort and Spa, have a very happy holiday season and an amazing new year!