Archive for the ‘Christmas Season’ Category

Christmas in Victoria

Saturday, December 9th, 2017

With its mix of old and new, oceanfront and green spaces, Victoria is a very popular destination any time of year.  But there’s something extra special about Victoria at Christmas time.

While not located in downtown Victoria, Butchart Gardens is a magical place at Christmas.  The Gardens welcome you with the lights of the Twelve Days of Christmas while carolers stroll the gardens.  Or bring your skates to take a turn around the outdoor skating ring.  If you’re twelve or under, make a paper snowflake and exchange it for a cup of hot chocolate in the Coffee Shop.

Some of the trees at the Festival of Lights at Victoria’s Bay Centre

Downtown Victoria has a magic of its own, presided over by the Christmas lights at the BC Legislature.  The Festival of Trees lights up The Bay Centre with its 25th annual display, with more trees featured at the famous Empress Hotel.  Vote for your favorite tree and make a donation to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.  Another great display of lights can be found at the docks and on the boats along Wharf Street and at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Kids young and old will enjoy Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase at the Parkside Hotel on Humboldt Street.  Both amateur and professional bakers take part and in honor of Canada 150 the theme this year is “Celebrating Canada”.  The charity benefiting from all this baking is Habitat for Humanity.  If bigger is better, check out the Candy Wonderland at the Fairmont Empress where they have a life-size gingerbread house, and you can decorate your own!

Centennial Square will once again have its ferris wheel, along with entertainment, food vendors and the big guy himself.  What a great way to see all the lights around downtown Victoria!  Every Tuesday and Wednesday during December you can enjoy classic Christmas movies under the stars at the Christmas Starlight Cinema at the Delta Victoria Oceanpoint Resort.  While admission is free, donations to Santa’s Anonymous are encouraged.  A life performance of A Christmas Carol is showcased at historic Craigdarroch Castle starting on December 15th, but tickets go fast for this one.  You can also take the kids to Craigdarroch Castle for a Kid’s Christmas at the Castle on December 16th.

The seasonal lights at the BC Legislature in Victoria

And of course Christmas is not Christmas without music.  There are many life concert and performance events around the capital city, starting with the Victoria Symphony’s Christmas Pops concert(Dec. 8, 9, and 10) and their performance of Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 15 and 17), and ending with a Viennese New Year’s.  Another very popular Christmas concert and toy drive is put on by the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy at the Royal Theatre on December 11-13.  In the courtyard of the Greater Victoria Public Library you can drop in to hear Choirs in the Courtyard on multiple days during the month of December.

A great way to take in the festivities around downtown is to join the walking tour of “Christmas in Old Victoria” on weekends during December. Tours start in front of 26 Bastion Square and run from 10:30 – 12:00.  Another way to see all the lights and decorations and hear the music around town is to take the free horse-drawn trolley rides on the weekends.  These rides are free, compliments of the Dowtown Victoria Business Association.  Two trolleys will circulate on a pre-set route between 12 – 2:30 pm.  It’s a great way to rest your weary feet and enjoy all the Christmas magic in Victoria.  Happy Holidays to all!

Innkeeper Recommendations: Cool Christmas Season Events

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

With Christmas just 6 weeks away, we asked our innkeepers what kind of great Christmas season events in their area they would recommend to their guests.  There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday season, but here are a few wonderful ways to get into the Christmas spirit.

The innkeepers at ThistleDown House in North Vancouver recommend Capilano Canyon Lights, from November 27th to January 3rd, 2016.  This event is now in its 10th season and getting better all the time they say, and it’s just across the road! The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver’s major attractions, but have you ever visited during the holiday season?  Lights, lights, and more lights, transform the bridge, the Cliffwalk, Treetops Adventure, the forest and the canyon into a magical wonderland.  The world’s tallest living Christmas tree (at 153 feet, or almost 47 meters) lights up the sky, there are gingerbread houses to decorate, singing with the band, and you can book a Owl Prowl with a Snowy!

Book a stay at Mainstay Oasis B&B in Port Moody for December 12th, and watch the parade of Carol Ships right from their waterfront balcony or dock.  Carol Ships are a common sight on the BC coast, but here you’ll get a comfortable front row seat, along with some holiday treats and a cozy room just down the hall.  What a wonderfully relaxing way to celebrate the season!

The small town of Ladysmith on Vancouver Island is flooded with people on Thursday November 26th when Santa arrives at 6:30 pm to flick the switch to light up the town for its annual Ladysmith Festival of Lights. A parade follows down First Avenue, there is a craft fair, entertainment, and fireworks, and the more than 200,000 lights stay up through the first week in January.   Rhonda and Ed at Hawley Place Bed & Breakfast invite you to come and share this wonderful Christmas event in their town.

Nanaimo innkeepers love the Yellow Point Christmas Spectacular!  This is a show extravaganza featuring musicians, singers and dancers, lights and Christmas decorations, laughter and great entertainment. Popular music, classics and seasonal favorites will be performed during 17 shows at three Island venues: Yellow Point’s Cedar Community Hall, the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay and Nanaimo’s Port Theatre.   Enjoy this great event with the whole family!

However you celebrate the Christmas season, we hope it is a great time with family and friends, taking in the many wonderful sights and sounds around our beautiful British Columbia.  From all our BC innkeepers, have a very special Christmas and holiday season!