Festive Fun in Greater Victoria

The must-have gift this holiday season is simple, it’s time! Time with your friends, time with your family, time to unwind, and time for self-discovery. Find the time this holiday season to do the things you love with the people you love. Prancing ballerinas, artisan shopping markets, lavish holiday feasts, and more, open their world to you and yours for a holiday season full of memories and magic. Breakout your calendar and mark the dates for these upcoming holiday events.

Picture Perfect

The holidays are a time for new memories to be made. And in the season of family bonding and natural smiles, you’re bound to want to catch the magic on camera to treasure these recollections for years to come. Greater Victoria embraces the holiday season like nowhere else, everywhere you look you’ll find the perfect place to add another portrait to your album.

It’s time to get your Instagram in the festive spirit. And there’s no better place to capture some great holiday snapshots than The Bay Centre. Stroll through this unique mall in the heart of downtown Victoria and take in the 30th Annual Festival of Trees. Each floor in this timeless mall is adorned with beautifully decorated Christmas Trees designed by the local Greater Victoria community. With over 70 trees to view, vote for your favourite and help support the BC Children’s Hospital. Then head on down to the ground floor and transport yourself to a Winter Wonderland at the Bay Centre. No snow boots required, this festive forest is home to Victoria’s largest indoor living forest and interactive holiday light tunnel. Capture that perfect moment with your loved ones at the Bay Centre.

A Couple Poses for A Snap Shot at the Winter Wonderland at The Bay Centre

Image: Winter Wonderland at The Bay Centre – One Lion Photography

A Christmas lights display unlike any you’ve seen before awaits you at The Butchart Gardens. This 100-year-old National Historic Site pulls out all the stops for the holiday season, decorating their immaculate grounds in an array of dazzling Christmas colours. Stroll through idyllic pathways festooned with garlands, thousands of lights, and enjoy 12 days of Christmas displays. When you’re finally finished your stroll, head over to the Coffee Shop for hot chocolate and gingerbread by the fire. Open from 3:30 – 9:00PM until January 6th (excluding December 25th) this is a must visit attraction for the holiday season in Victoria.

Festive Lights Illuminate the Manicured Grounds of the Butchart Gardens

Image: Winter at Butchart Gardens – The Butchart Gardens

Insider Tip: Don’t have a car to get out to The Butchart Gardens? Not a problem, let CVS Tours do the driving for you. This holiday season CVS is offering tours to Butchart Gardens from December 18 to January 3rd, with 4pm and 6pm departures to enjoy the lights during the magic hours. Make sure to book ahead, these tours fill up fast.

Nothing gets people in the holiday spirit like tinsel ornaments. So naturally, the more ornaments, the more holiday spirit! Bring the holiday cheer out of your Christmas Grinch with a visit to the quirky Tinsel Tunnel at Ponds Landing at Bear Mountain in Langford. This passageway to a holiday wonderland is decorated with glittering lights and hundreds of tinsel ornaments. The perfect spot for a festive photo of the family or Instagram reel as you walk through a tunnel of Yule displays. For an unforgettable stay in Victoria this holiday season, book yourself into the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa.

People enjoy an outdoor fire at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa in the winter

Image: Winter at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa – The Butchart Gardens

The 13th Annual Gingerbread Showcase takes over The Parkside Hotel & Spa, The Chateau Victoria, The Marriott Inner Harbour, and Double Tree by Hilton Hotel and Suites Victoria, for another year of mouth watering artisanry. Enjoy the works of Victoria’s finest professional and amateur bakers as they showcase Gingerbread creations that are sure to bring out the wide-eyed kid in you. Tickets must be purchased online and are not available at the door. New features for 2021’s showcase include contactless voting and donation options. This year’s theme is “The Future of Home”, as the event aims to look forward and envision a future for our homes, communities, and environment.

Couple Looking at the Creations at the Gingerbread Showcase

Image: Couple at Gingerbread Showcase – One Lion Photography

 

Yule-nique

Are you the type that’s looking for a new holiday tradition to call your own? Look no further than the Sleigh Boat Ride by the Victoria Harbour Ferry Company Ltd. The adventure starts at the Empress dock, from there you take to the inner harbour to marvel at our local landmarks embellished in dazzling light displays. The ferries then work their way to Fisherman’s Wharf, where you disembark for Hot Chocolate and Churros, before returning to the Empress dock. Get your tickets today, the buzz around this new event means its sure to be a sell-out!

Victoria Harbour Decorated in Garland and Ornaments for Christmas

Image: Victoria Harbour Ferry Christmas – Deddeda Stemler

In a city that doesn’t get much snow (or negative temperatures for that matter), outdoor skating isn’t all too common in Greater Victoria. But as you know by now, we like to get into the mood for the festive season, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make the holidays enchanting. Uptown is no stranger to going above and beyond to add a little magic to our warm winters. Visit The Cottage at Uptown for a personal visit with Santa Claus himself, due to Santa’s commitments on the big day, the cottage remains open until December 23. Then head on over to the rink and skate atop the synthetic ice. Take a twirl atop the rink for only $5 per person (and $2 for skate rentals). In the spirit of the season Uptown donates 50% of all proceeds from the rink to 1UP Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre.

Enjoy the festive season from a Santa’s eye view from atop the Malahat Skywalk. The inaugural Holiday Magic at Malahat Skywalk runs December 4-5, 11-12, and 18-24, with special appearances from Saint Nick himself December 11, 12, 19, 20, and 23 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Build take home crafts or colouring projects in Santa’s workshop, enjoy Christmas cooking and hot chocolate at The Claus Family Bakery, and cozy up to the fire surrounded by our lush rainforests at the Malahat Skywalk Firepit. The Skywalk will be open both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so you can make the most of your holiday break.

Image: Victoria Harbour Ferry Christmas - Deddeda Stemler

Image: Christmas at Malahat Skywalk – Malahat Skywalk

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to holiday events this season in Greater Victoria. To discover even more festive fun visit our advent Calendar of Events.

 

Magical Merchants

Greater Victoria is a hotbed of local artisans. Whether you’re in search of one-of-a-kind jewelry, ceramics, or carvings, there’s a local Victoria artisan that’s got you covered. This holiday season, skip the malls, go unique, go local.

What if you could get that perfect gift, the one that puts that sparkle in their eye, all while supporting a good cause? Rejoice! The Avenue Gallery – All That Glitters IX – Jewelry Fundraiser Exhibition is here to help. Showcasing the creations of the finest boutique jewelers in Canada, The Avenue Gallery donates a percentage of every sale between December 2 and December 24 to the Victoria Hospice. Visit the Avenue Gallery today to find a gift that keeps on giving to our community.

Displays from All That Glitters at The Avenue Gallery

Image: All That Glitters at The Avenue Gallery – The Avenue Gallery

The Victoria Arts Council welcomes back the Little Gems Holiday Show & Sale. From drawings and paintings to carvings and ceramics, photography to bookworks, and plenty of artcards, there is something for everyone. Discover the works of over 70 local artists as you explore these beautiful masterpieces. This holiday event runs daily from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Unwrap something uniquely Victoria this Christmas.

 

Frosty Films

The holidays are about getting cozy and cuddling up with your loved ones. And there’s no better way to get the family together than with a holiday movie.

Bring the family down to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Movie Night running all December long. Featuring family-friendly favourites such as A Christmas Story, White Christmas, and Home Alone. These holiday films are accompanied by a glass of sparkling, freshly popped popcorn, holiday sweets, bottled water, and complimentary parking. Screenings are limited and tickets must be pre-purchased online.

Popcorn for Movie Night at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Image: Christmas at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Oak Bay Beach Hotel

 

Festive Feasts

With the highest number of restaurants per capita in Greater Victoria, it’s no secret that we like to eat. And like everyone during the holidays, we probably eat a little more than we should (but that’s next year’s problem!). With some of the nation’s best restaurant’s pulling out all the stops for the holiday season, uncover something truly special with a holiday meal in Greater Victoria.

Join our friends at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel as they welcome Santa Claus himself for a holiday brunch. Breakfast with Santa at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel serves up a family-style brunch amidst Santa’s West Coast workshop. This fabulous family experience includes cookie decorating, a visit from Santa, and onsite photo printing by Four Frames Photo Booth. This event runs every Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:00 AM until December 19th. 

Children at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Decorating Cookies

Image: Christmas at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Visit Merridale Cidery & Distillery this holiday season for Christmas at the Farm. Enjoy light displays all December long (excluding December 25th) and visit their lovely orchard-side restaurant for holiday dining, open from 11:00 AM to 7:00PM seven days a week. Check out their artisanal ciders and liqueurs made on site at this stunning cidery and take a bottle (or two!) home with you to pair with your fond memories of this holiday experience.

The lights at Merridale Cidery & Distillery on a snowy winter evening

Image: The Grounds at Merridale Cidery & Distillery – Destination Greater Victoria

Snuggle up to your loved ones fireside at the Winter Veranda at the Fairmont Empress. Roast S’mores as the sun sets over the inner harbour and our local landmarks light up the night’s sky. Situated at the iconic Fairmont Empress hotel the Veranda has unparalleled views of our unique downtown harbourfront. Exemplary service adds to the already delightfully warm reception that greets guests to this one-of-a-kind patio experience.

Roasting marshmallows for s'mores atop the Veranda at the Fairmont Empress hotel

Image: Christmas at the Fairmont Empress – The Fairmont Empress

For more great places to dine over the holidays, see our Season’s Eatings Blog

 

Tinsel Tours

A Victorian Era city, Greater Victoria has a connection to the holidays unlike many other Canadian cities. The blend of historic architecture, whimsical greenspaces, and glittering light displays can fill even Scrooge’s heart with a childlike wonder. Hit the town with one of our many guided services and explore this beautiful city.

Are you the type that loads the family into the car and heads out and scour your neighbourhood for the best festive light displays? Do you “oooh” and “ahhh” as you wind through your city streets in search of holiday inspiration? Then do we have a treat for you! Hit the road this holiday season and explore the Garden City’s many holiday light displays from the comfort of a Limousine. L.A. Limousine‘s luxurious rides and expert drivers will safely chauffeur you around the many beautiful homes and landmarks of our city that are decked for the holiday season. For more information call 250-391-9000 or email [email protected].

Want to see the sights and explore the city? Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria is offering their famous Hop-On Hop-Off Christmas tours seven days a week from December 18th to January 3rd. Explore our beautiful city aboard a decorated bus and see the sights that make Victoria so special this time of year.

Explore our beautiful city aboard a decorated bus and see the sights that make Victoria so special this time of year.

Image: Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria Bus Passes the Parliament Buildings – Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria

Enjoy the holidays in a truly Victorian style. Wind your way through the Victoria’s historic neighbourhoods and landmarks taking in festive light displays and our cities brilliant architecture. Snuggle up with your loved ones in a horse drawn carriage from Tally-Ho Carriage Tours. Relax as you are guided through the enchanting holiday charm of Victoria, comfortably sat atop soft velvet seats. Offering both Sleigh Rides! and Caroling & Lights tours, lose yourself to the awe-inspiring magic of the festive season in Victoria aboard one these delightful one-of-a-kind tours from Tally-Ho.

Women enjoying a holiday Horse Carriage ride

Image: Women Enjoying a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride – Destination Greater Victoria

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