In Victoria, we can’t wait for Christmas to be upon us! The city is aglow with Christmas lights, the Parliament Buildings and The Fairmont Empress Hotel are adorned with colourful decorations, and there are plenty of festive events to fill even the Grinchiest hearts with holiday cheer! Enjoy our sample two day itinerary to make the most of your stay. We even have some early Christmas presents for you!

Day 1

Empress sketch proof01Begin with a tour through the grand walkways of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, decked out for the Festival of Trees. All creatively decorated by local businesses, you can vote for your favourite tree by donation with all proceeds going to the BC Children’s Hospital. Afterwards, make your way to the Empress Dining Room to indulge in Christmas Afternoon Tea. Enjoy the beautifully presented handcrafted pastries, cakes and scones, along with dainty finger sandwiches and a cup of the Empress Blend tea. After tea, take a stroll across the street to the Royal BC Museum. Explore visiting exhibits such as the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, as well as permanent natural history and First Nations exhibits. The museum’s historic “Old Town” will be festively transformed in beautiful turn-of-the-century style; you might even see Father Christmas if you’ve been nice! From the museum, it’s a short walk to the Hotel Grand Pacific’s Bear Wear Event, a display of teddy bears dressed up for the season. Bears grace the hotel’s lobby, providing a family-friendly free event for all. Each bear is sponsored and dressed by a Victoria business in exchange for a donation to charity. Across the street at the Robert Bateman Centre, rethink the traditional holiday wreath with up-cycled materials at the Wreath-Cycled Collection. View wreaths created by Robert Bateman, Robert Amos, and other local artists free of charge. The exhibit opens November 21, 2013. Finish off your day with a short walk to the Inn at Laurel Point for the Canadian National Gingerbread Showcase. Marvel at the array of incredible gingerbread creations, lovingly handcrafted by amateur and professional chefs from all over the world – these are no mere houses, these are gingerbread masterpieces!

Day 2

Legislature01What better way to start your day than from a cozy horse drawn carriage? Head to Menzies Street, beside the Parliament Buildings, to embark on your narrated guided tour. Hop in and bundle up with a blanket as your guide takes you around Victoria’s iconic landmarks and sights, and provides local knowledge as you trot along! Enjoy some Christmas shopping as you continue on foot up Government Street to Centennial Square, home to Victoria’s City Hall. The Square will be decked out for Christmas as of November 23 with the annual Christmas Tree Light-Up of the giant sequoia tree. As if designed by Dickens himself, Centennial Square features carollers, a colourful fountain and a 65 foot high Ferris wheel! Across Government Street from Centennial Square you’ll find the gates to Chinatown. Explore this historical part of the city and then warm up with a visit to Silk Road Tea Room. Situated in a beautiful heritage building in one of the most historic parts of the city, you’ll find countless tea blends, plenty of tea ware and handmade skincare products inside; the perfect place to pick up a gift or two. By coach, public bus or car, make your way to the iconic Butchart Gardens. Open until 9 p.m. throughout December, you’ll want to see the Gardens at night to experience the beautiful colours produced by thousands of glittering lights and decorations. Wander the gardens, hop on the carousel or take a spin on the ice rink as you listen to the carolers singing Christmas favourites. Our Christmas Present To You: Special deals and savings at several of these attractions. Visit http://www.tourismvictoria.com/christmas/to learn more.