With a little over a month until Christmas (!!!!!!) festivities are beginning to kick off around Victoria. There is so much to do in and around the city this holiday season and I wanted to make sure that you get a chance to check out all the fun! From festivals to markets and special events you're bound to find something happening in the city that you need to check out. Let me know what YOU'RE looking forward to and if I've missed anything!
The Festival of Trees
The Bay Centre & The Fairmont Empress Hotel: November 16, 2016 - January 5, 2017
This is the 25th year of the festival that supports the BC Children’s Hospital. It’s considered the unofficial holiday kick off in the city and signals the end of it come January. Find the trees throughout the Bay Centre and at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Christmas at the Market
Victoria Public Market: November 26 - December 24
Head down to the public market to find pretty much anything you need for the holidays. Whether it’s a present, a bit of tasty food, or a mid-season pick me up, you’ll be sure to find it down at the market. Check out their website for more information and for special dates with extra fun stuff.
Inner Harbor Marina Light Up
Victoria Inner Harbor: November 26 - December 30
Make sure you remember your camera when you head out to enjoy the colourful lights twinkling from the ships docked in the inner harbor.
Hotel Grand Pacific: November 28, 2016 - January 2, 2017
Dressed up teddy bears are on display in support of the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. The more times you vote the better your chance of winning your favourite bear!
Ferris Wheel in Centennial Square
Centennial Square: November 29 – December 21 ($2/ride)
Take a spin on the annual ferris wheel set up in the square. You’ll be able to see all the lights in the city and snuggle up next to the person of your choosing.
Free Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides
November 27 - December 24: various locations
Take in the festive sights and sounds of the holidays while experiencing the city in a cozy trolley pulled by huge horses. I’m not an animal person but I hear this is a lovely experience if large animals with huge feet (hooves, whatever...) don't bother you.
Christmas Starlight Cinema
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa: Tuesday and Wednesday nights in December (by donation)
Watching movies outside is already a fun way to spend a night. Getting all bundled up with your blankets and chairs and eating snacks and getting to enjoy fresh air all while watching your favourite Christmas movies is an even greater way to spend a night! Check out the website for screenings and more details
Magic of Christmas
Butchart Gardens: December 1, 2016 - January 6, 2017
Walk through the beautifully lit up gardens, skate on an outdoor skating rink, and take a ride on the Rose Carousel at the Butchart Gardens. It may not be right in the city but it’s definitely worth the drive!
Little Owl Children’s Fair
Uptown Mall: November 19 10-5pm ($3/adult)
This holiday fair is just where you’ll want to be if you have kids or are buying Christmas gifts for kids. There are all sorts of vendors selling a variety of beautiful things for all the tiny humans in your life. Stick around later and you’ll even get to see the Uptown Christmas Tree Light Up.
Christmas in the Alley
Dragon Alley: November 20
I only recently found this cute little alley way that definitely doesn’t get enough credit. Come on down and check out both the local artists and artisans selling their goods as well as the adorable alley itself.
Out of Hand Artisan Fair
The Crystal Gardens: November 25 - 27( single admission $9; multi-day pass $10)
One of the largest craft fairs of the season this one is not to be missed! Don’t let the admission cost deter you - lots goes into making this huge fair happen and there’s even a discount code right here!
The DaVinci Centre: November 26 & 27
This is one of the markets I look forward to the most! There are over 50 vendors all selling incredibly beautiful and thoughtfully made products that would all make gorgeous gifts - both for others and yourself ;)
Bastion Square Holiday Market
Bastion Square: November 26 - December 24
Bundle up and head downtown to find all sorts of treasures at the Bastion Square Market. They’ve got everything from jewelry to art to food and clothing so there’s sure to be something for everyone on your list.
The Owl Designer Fair
1240 Gladstone Avenue: December 2 - 3
This was the first craft fair I ever went to here in Victoria so it holds a special place in my heart. Every year I’ve found a treasure or two so I assure you this isn't one to miss!
James Bay Community Center: December 3 ($2)
This is one of the city’s oldest Christmas markets. With over 70 vendors selected by a jury, you’ll find high quality goods for all the people on your nice list.
Nerdy Days of Christmas
Ambrosia Centre: December 4 (by donation)
Pick up all sorts of nerdy things for all the geeks in your life at this fun craft fair specializing in all things quirky.
Santa’s Light Parade
Downtown Victoria: November 26 5:45pm
Dive into the holiday season with this Christmas parade featuring floats, music, dancers, and SANTA! Don’t forget to bring your donation for the Mustard Seed Food Bank so you secure your spot on the nice list!
Fernwood Village: November 26 ($60)
Support the Fernwood community by heading over and checking out the food and drink tastings happening throughout the village. It isn’t technically a Christmas thing, though, so don’t expect any carollers or jingle bells. Tickets available here.
Oak Bay Christmas Light Up
Oak Bay Village: November 27
Find everything from music to roasted chestnuts a bouncy castle, street hockey, crafts and games and thousands of lights throughout the Oak Bay Village. Lights come on at 5pm and Santa rolls in on an Oak Bay Fire Truck.
Christmas Craft Beer Show
Save-On Foods Memorial Centre: December 2 & 3
Who said beer festivals were just for summer time?! Get your drink on and cozy up at the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre Tickets can be found here.
Father Christmas in Old Town
Royal BC Museum: December 2 - 4
Cross off your visit to the museum at the same time as you cross off your visit with Santa. He’ll be in the Royal BC museum for a few hours the first weekend in December to get in any last minute gift requests you or or tiny humans might have.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker
Royal Theatre: December 2 - 4
The Nutcracker is my favourite Christmas tradition. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been listening to it while working on the Christmas Gift Guides at work and I’d also be lying if I told you that I didn’t dance along with the VHS we had when I was little. If you like classical music and beautiful ballet, you’ll love the Nutcracker.
Ogden Point Light Up and Christmas Market
Ogden Point, Pier A: December 3
Food trucks, artisans, face painting, ho-cho, popcorn, and Christmas music await you at the Ogden Point Light Up. If you stay until dusk you’ll even get to see the Truck Convoy as they head out to light up the city.
Truck Light Convoy
Various Locations: December 3
A long stream of huge trucks completely decked out in Christmas lights and blaring Christmas music drives around the Victoria area spreading Christmas cheer. While it isn’t technically a parade (they move at a pretty quick speed) it’s still a fun spectacle to watch - I watch it every year from my apartment window!
Christmas Lights Across Canada
BC Legislature: December 8 6:00pm
Watch from our capital as it, and the rest of Canada, lights up for the holidays. There’ll be lights (duh), singing, and hot chocolate and cookies inside the Legislature at the end of the night!
Royal BC Museum: December 4 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm
Come down and carol with the help of the Provincial Carillon Rosemary Laing (person who plays the bells inside the carillon (tall tower with bells inside)). It doesn’t get more festive than carolling with bells and hot chocolate.
Market Square: December 17 1:00pm - 4:00 pm
Scooter riding Santas will end their parade at Market Square to host a pizza party put on by Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria. Part of the proceeds go to charity so it’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit, enjoy a slice (or four) of pizza, and help out those in need.
A Downtown Christmas
Yates Street Taphouse Bar & Grill: December 18
A 19+ Christmas party for all those who work in the downtown area. It’s a great opportunity to wish friends a merry Christmas and get in on the holiday cheer.