(Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island‎/Facebook)

Organizers of Bear Wear have added two free family events in honour of Bear Wear’s 16th anniversary.

Bear Wear is a beloved holiday tradition—a festive display of cuddly teddy bears dressed up in fabulous costumes by local sponsors, businesses, organizations, and individuals.

This year marks the 16th year of the event!  Since 2001, Bear Wear has raised $503,000 for the Foundation to support children with disabilities and health challenges.

The bears are on display at Hotel Grand Pacific until January 2nd, 2017.

In conjunction with Bear Wear, Children’s Health Foundation are inviting guest to cozy up with Santa Claus for an afternoon of heartwarming Christmas stories on Sunday, December 11, including a reading of Island Santa, the story of a little boy who catches a ride with Santa on his boat and travels from island to island delivering gifts to children in need of cheer.

Those in attendance will be entered to win a copy of Island Santa, written and illustrated by the award-winning, local duo, Sheryl McFarlane and Sheena Lott.

On Thursday, December 15, head to Hotel Grand Pacific and let the bright sound of the Alumni Company from the Canadian College of Performing Arts fill your heart with joy, as they perform beloved Christmas carols and jingles. Lyrics will be provided to you so you may join in.

The Hotel Grand Pacific will serve complimentary cocoa and hot drinks to warm your fingers and toes.

Stories with Santa

  • When Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Where: Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St

Carols and Cocoa

  • When: Thursday, December 15 at 7 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St

Funds raised through the raffle and at Bear Wear will help families stay at Jeneece Place when they must travel to Victoria for their child’s medical care.