Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to onlookers as they make their way up Government Street during the 2021 Peninsula Co-Op Santa Light Parade. (Black Press Media file photo)

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to onlookers as they make their way up Government Street during the 2021 Peninsula Co-Op Santa Light Parade. (Black Press Media file photo)

Event Roundup: Seasonal magic returns to Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria gears up for the holiday season with family-friendly festivities

The festive season is upon us and event organizers have been working hard to make the season magical.

Here are a few of the events happening around Greater Victoria:

Festival of Trees returns to Bay Centre

The Bay Centre has once again been transformed into a wonderland decorated with more than 70 one-of-a-kind festive trees, on display until Jan. 3, 2023.

The Festival of Trees display is free and open during the mall’s regular business hours but closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

This year, the display is helping to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital to help them in their quest to find a cure for diabetes and help children living with the disease.

Visitors can vote by donation for their favourite tree.

Marina hoists holiday cheer

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is inviting residents down to the Inner Harbour to take in the official Marina Light Up from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 25.

The annual event sees boats moored at the Causeway Marina Dock in front of the Fairmont Empress lit up for the holiday season.

All are invited to watch the lights be officially switched on while enjoying free hot chocolate (available on a first-come, first-served basis).

Santa’s coming to town

Santa and Mrs. Claus are returning to Victoria this year for the 40th annual Peninsula Co-op Santa Claus Parade.

The parade is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. on Nov. 26 and will be following a new route this year. Starting at the B.C. legislature grounds, the route will then head down Government Street before swinging right onto Humboldt Street and then left onto Douglas Street. The parade ends at Fisgard Street.

The Clauses will be on hand in the Hudson Holiday Plaza (1701 Douglas St.) following the parade and on Nov. 27 for photos, entertainment, and local vendors.

Watch Butchart Gardens flip the switch

On Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. sharp, visitors at Butchart Gardens will be able to take in the exact moment the switch is flipped on thousands of decorative lights spread throughout the garden.

Admission for the light-up is included with general admission to the gardens, and visitors should reserve their visit time at butchartgardens.com.

Industry gets creative with choreographed show

Those looking for something unique to do this holiday season will have to look no further than Victoria Harbour Ferry, which is launching a new evening tour of the Upper Harbour, featuring a narrated children’s story set to choreographed lights, music, and video animation from Dec. 2 to 31.

Victoria Harbour Lights: A Winter Dream, is the work of Limbic Media and PaintScaping. The aim of the show is to help make the harbour ferry an attractive activity year-round while showcasing the industrial harbour.

While the story and music can only be heard on Victoria Harbour Ferry’s vessels, the lights and animations can be seen and enjoyed from several public viewing areas, particularly on the east side of Victoria’s Upper Harbour, including the Johnston Street bridge walkway and Store Street.

Each of the iconic ‘pickle boats’ has been upgraded with heaters and sound systems to make the 45-minute cruises as enjoyable as possible. Tours depart from the Empress Dock on the Inner Harbour Causeway, and tickets must be purchased online in advance at victoriaharbourferry.com.

Truckers passing through five municipalities

The 24th annual Island Equipment Owners Association Truck Light Convoy is set to roll through the region on Dec. 3, bringing festive light displays to five municipalities between 5:40 and 8:30 p.m.

The colourful convoy featuring 80 rigs of all shapes and sizes will start at Ogden Point and follow a 35-kilometre route ending at the roundabout at Millstream Road and Bear Mountain Parkway in Langford.

Spectators are encouraged to make a donation to their local food bank as part of the event, and two fire departments will be set up along the route to collect donations. View Royal Fire Rescue will be set up at Helmcken Road and Watkiss Way and Colwood Fire Rescue will be at West Shore Parks and Recreation.

Langford light-up event coincides with truck convoy

The annual Langford Light Up is back for the first time in two years, taking place Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Veterans Memorial Park will be packed with festive cheer, including a holiday market; musical performances by PACE Musical Theatre, the Ablaze Choir and Westshore Community Band; visits with Santa; kids crafts; and of course the light-up display.

Free hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available while supplies last, and the IEOA Truck Light Convoy is expected to pass through Langford around 8 p.m.

Esquimalt rec centre transformed into winter wonderland

Esquimalt’s Archie Browning Sports Centre is set to turn into a holiday wonderland from Dec. 3 to Jan. 4, as the Christmas Tree Village returns for its ninth year.

Visitors taking in the uniquely decorated trees will also be able to cast their votes for their favourite on the Esquimalt Parks and Recreation Facebook page from Dec. 4 to 17, with the winners being announced on social media Dec. 20.

Sidney set to sparkle with parade

The Peninsula Celebrations Society is bringing back the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade on Dec. 4, starting at 5 p.m.

Festively decorated and brightly lit floats will start their hour-long journey through the town on Resthaven Drive before turning onto Beacon Avenue. Running the length of Beacon Avenue, the parade will then turn onto Second Street and end at Ocean Avenue.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive and set up their spot along the route early as space fills up quickly. No matter where you are on the route, however, organizers promise you will be able to see the spectacle in full.

Businesses illuminate downtown Victoria

The Downtown Victoria Business Association is bringing back its annual Lights of Wonder event, which is set to illuminate Centennial Square from Dec. 15 to 31.

Dubbed the largest free light display in the region, the event is sponsored by Starlight Investments and has been held since 2019.

Each night the lights are lit, a diverse set of community performances will be held at the square, light activations will be fun for all ages, and the giving booth will be collecting donations for local charities.

More information about the event, including performance schedules and information on volunteering, is available online at lightsofwonder.ca.

ALSO READ: Ralmax Group aims to spark holiday joy, support for local businesses with harbour lights


 

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