(Ian Terris Photography)

One of the pillars of our community, the Greater Victoria Festival Society (GVFS) has been promoting spirit and pride in our fair city for many years – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Though they’re famous for bringing joy to thousands of people lining Victoria’s streets each year with their parades and events, the GVFS is so much more than that. Along with their numerous volunteer efforts and support for our fair city, they also aid in collecting much-needed donations for the Mustard Seed Food Banks.

Without further ado, here are 8 things you probably didn’t know (or may have wondered!) about the parades that happen in downtown Victoria:

1. The Greater Victoria Festival Society’s Island Farms Victoria Day parade is one of the BIGGEST events on the island!

Attracting well over 100,000 people each year, GVFS’s Island Farms Victoria Day Parade is a staple of the capital city and easily one of the biggest draws of Victoria Day long weekend!

Led by the Canadian Forces, this annual event is free and fun for the whole family. You can also follow the parade afterwards to Centennial Square for “Celebration Square” to continue on the festivities and make a day of it!

2. Some of GVFS’ parades and events happen with little to no funding

Majorly non-profit and volunteer-based, the GVFS has made magic happen with only a small amount of outside revenue – banding together as a community to bring you some of the most popular Victoria entertainment!

3. Many of the city’s largest parades that you attend each year are made possible by the GVFS

Along with their hugely popular Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, they also bring events such as Wicked Victoria, the Island Farms Santa Claus Parade and most recently, a fun Irish Whiskey Hooley event!

4. The GVFS was officially incorporated in 1992

Though they were creating and promoting great events for years before, the Greater Victoria Festival Society became an official corporation as of 1992.

5. You could be one of their volunteers!

Are you looking to give back to the community, experience a cool event from behind the scenes, and make a difference in a way that only volunteering can? The GVFS is always looking for volunteers – and it’s as easy as applying online!

6. The Island Farms Victoria Day Parade follows a theme each year!

This year, the theme is ‘Denim and Diamonds’, so bring your best Canadian Tuxedo and bedazzled rhinestones out to this year’s must-see event!

7. Wicked Victoria was created 4 years ago – and is going strong!

The annual event started 4 years ago to promote a walkable downtown and the amazing harvest and Halloween time in our fair city! It’s a great (spooky) chance to learn more about some of the over 3000 non-profit organizations in Greater Victoria.

8. This year’s Victoria Day Parade will include all of the classics!

Join GVFS on Monday, May 20th at 9:00 a.m. this year for a multicultural event featuring talented Canadian and American marching bands, community and commercial floats, cultural performances and a spotlight on many of Victoria’s local businesses.

(Greater Victoria Festival Society / Facebook)

The Greater Victoria Festival Society’s aim is to present any activity that is beneficial to the community as a whole – to develop and promote civic spirit and pride with the creation of festivals, parades and special events!

You can follow GVFS’s social media to stay up to the minute with all their latest news and info by checking out the links below!

Greater Victoria Festival Society

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