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Top 5 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Victoria

Posted on November 30, 2017

1. Take Part in Festive Holiday Events 

The holiday season is officially here! The festivities officially kicked off in Victoria last week during the annual Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade, and the celebrations are set to continue for the duration of the coming month. The Butchart Gardens are presenting The Magic of Christmas as of December 1, complete with nightly garden illuminations and ice skating, kids activities, carousel rides, and festive dining and tea options. The Annual Gingerbread Showcase is on through December at the Parkside Hotel & Spa, and the much-loved Festival of Trees is currently on at The Bay Centre

Check out the holiday event calendar for a full listing of what’s on around town, plus everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Victoria

Tip: Look for the Capital City Comic Con duelling trees at the Festival of Trees! You can also vote for your favourite tree and take selfies in a giant holiday display.

magic of christmas butchart gardens

festival of trees christmas bay centre victoria
Image credits: The Butchart Gardens (top), Brandon McGeachie Photography (bottom)


2. See the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” Exhibition 

A visitor favourite every year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the Royal BC Museum from December 8 - April 2 with a brand new selection of 100 stunning images from around the world. From the adorable to the elegant, this exhibition showcases award-winning images that tell astonishing stories of our natural world while pushing the boundaries of technical skill. The 100 winning photos are back-lit on a large-scale for maximum impact, a dramatic setting for some of the world’s most respected nature photographers and wildlife experts. Young photographer categories also feature budding talents, while special categories tell stories of the natural world’s beauty and struggles.

Image credit: The Royal BC Museum

Also coming up at the Royal BC Museum is the recently announced special exhibition Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs. With more than 300 original artifacts, some an astounding 4,500 years old, this exhibition will cover all aspects of ancient Egyptian life. Tickets are on sale now, and the exhibition will run May 18 - December 31, 2018.

3. Warm Up at Victoria’s Coziest Spots 

While Victoria doesn’t get “winter” like the rest of Canada, we do still have some chilly days in December, there’s still no better way to warm up than with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Visit Murchie’s Coffee and Tea for a London Fog and a slice of their famous Marie Antoinette cake, or head to Russell Books to explore three stories of floor to ceiling books.

You can also check out 28 more cozy places to escape the winter chill in Victoria

bard and banker pub
Image credit: @blumpics on Instagram


4. Enjoy an Enchanting Evening at Merridale 


The holiday magic doesn’t end with the festivities in downtown Victoria. This month, head to Merridale Cidery & Distillery in Cobble Hill, about 45 minutes drive from the city center, to enjoy Christmas at the Farm. Every Friday and Saturday night through December, you can enjoy an enchanting walk through Merridale’s courtyard light-up with hundreds of twinkling lights, decorations, and displays (and a mug of hot mulled cider), followed by an original musical theatre production and a farm to table dinner served at long tables. 

Tip: Make sure to check out The Farm Store; it will also be open throughout the evenings so you can pick up a few unique holiday gifts! 

merridale cidery christmas at the farm
Image credit: Merridale Cidery & Distillery


5. Explore the Pacific Marine Circle Route

December is the start of storm watching season on the west coast, and the most spectacular coastal systems can be experienced along the Pacific Marine Circle Route. Between Victoria and Port Renfrew, you’ll have ample opportunity to hike through west coast rainforest and explore blustery beaches, or cozy up along the way and enjoy the scenery away from the elements. Make sure to stop at Sheringham Lighthouse in Shirley for stunning views and a great photo op. 

Book a stay at Wild Renfrew where you can choose from a private, spacious seaside cottage or suite. They’re located in the heart of Port Renfrew which is home to some of the island’s best storm watching (and wildlife watching!). Try Botanical Beach, which is about 5 minutes drive from Wild Renfrew, or stop at Mystic Beach or French Beach on your way to or from Victoria. 

wild renfrew pub in port renfrew
Image credit: @sparkinvictoria on Instagram


Want more?

If you're looking for more fun things to do in Victoria this December, visit the online event calendar or connect with Tourism Victoria on social media! We're always happy to offer recommendations and assist with trip planning. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram