(Doug Clement Photography)

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to see and experience all that Victoria has to offer.

With so much going on and special sights, we have curated a list of Greater Victoria’s best holiday events for you to enjoy!

From parades to Christmas concerts and light displays, there’s so much to do and see over the holiday season.

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Without further ado, here are 25 things to do in and around Victoria to get into the Christmas spirit:

40th annual Peninsula Co-op Santa Claus Parade

Organized by the Greater Victoria Festival Society, this annual parade features floats, music and entertainment for the whole family.

The community is invited to stop by the Victoria Public Market – Hudson Holiday Plaza at 1701 Douglas Street for entertainment, vendors and more.

  • When: Saturday, November 26th, starting at 5 p.m.
  • Where: The new parade route will begin in front of the Legislature on Government Street. It will then turn right onto Humboldt Street and will travel along Douglas Street, ending at Fisgard Street.

The Polar Express 3D IMAX

Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis reunite for The Polar Express, an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

  • When: Select days starting December 17th to December 31st
  • Where: IMAX in downtown Victoria, 675 Belleville Street

IEOA Lighted Truck Convoy

(Doug Clement Photography)

The annual IEOA Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive is back and will be making its way through Victoria this December!

A fleet of commercial trucks and buses will light up the streets of Victoria for the annual truck light convoy and food drive, hosted by the Island Equipment Owners Association.

On December 3rd, starting at around 5:40 p.m., 80 vehicles will take to the streets as the holiday parade is set to start at the Breakwater District and Ogden Point.

This time around, there will be a few changes to the parade’s 35 km route. With the closure of Government Street, the glowing convoy will now make a right onto Belleville Street off of Blanshard Street before turning right onto Douglas Street.

  • When: Saturday, December 3rd, starting at 5:40 p.m.
  • Where: Starts at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point and ends at Bear Mountain Parkway, below are the time frames:
    • 5:40 p.m.: Breakwater District / Ogden Point
    • 6:30 p.m.: Oak Bay Avenue
    • 7:00 p.m.: Yates Street at Blanshard Street
    • 7:30 p.m.: Burnside Road West
    • 8:00 p.m.: Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway
    • 8:30 p.m.: Bear Mountain Parkway

Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade

Join Peninsula Celebrations Society for the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade. The Parade route begins along Resthaven Drive and turns onto Beacon Avenue. It continues to run the length of Beacon Avenue, turning right onto Second Street and ending at Ocean Avenue.

Once the parade completes its route, people are encouraged to move to Beacon and Bevan wharves and the Sidney waterfront around Beacon Park. From there, they will be able to witness the Lighted Boat Parade, which starts at least 15-minutes after the Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade

  • When: Sunday, December 4th, starts at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Begins along Resthaven Drive and turns onto Beacon Avenue before turning right onto Second Street and ending at Ocean Avenue

Festival of Trees at the Bay Centre

Rocco at Festival of Trees (Photo by Clickhead)

Immerse yourself in the season as you stroll through over 70 one-of-a-kind festively decorated trees in support of BC Children’s Hospital during the Festival of Trees, sponsored by Scotiabank.

Festival of Trees is free and open daily during Bay Centre shopping centre hours. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

  • When: From now until January 3rd, view during shopping centre hours
  • Where: The Bay Centre, 3125 Douglas Street

Esquimalt Celebration of Lights

Esquimalt’s Celebration of Lights is a magical event for the whole family. Lights, Music, Food, Santa and it is FREE to the whole community.

There are many places to watch the parade as it runs along Esquimalt Road from Esquimalt Road and Canteen Road to the McDonald’s Entrance. Don’t forget to say hello to the Jolly Old Fellow himself at the end, as Santa loves to wave to the crowd.

After the parade, there will be hot chocolate and Christmas treats provided courtesy of local churches. Hot Dogs by donation to the Lions. Music by Maureen Washington, Local Schools and a special guest or two. Of course, Santa, who would love for you to stop by and say hello.

  • When: Sunday, December 4th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: Esquimalt Road, from Canteen Road to the McDonald’s Entrance

Lights of Wonder in Downtown Victoria

Downtown Victoria is transforming the square into a holiday wonderland. This outdoor event features themed light exhibits, four interactive light tunnels, and a 40-foot festive tree. With free admission and for all ages, Lights of Wonder offers live entertainment, warm nibbles, and magical light displays.

  • When: December 15th to December 31st
    • Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Hours: Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Where: Centennial Square in downtown Victoria

Esquimalt Celebration of Lights

Esquimalt’s Celebration of Lights is a magical event for the whole family. Lights, a parade, music, food, Santa and it is free to the whole community.

Everyone loves having a great parade!

There are many places to watch the parade as it runs along Esquimalt Road from Esquimalt Road and Canteen Rd to the McDonald’s Entrance. Don’t forget to say hello to the Jolly Old Fellow himself at the end, as Santa loves to wave to the crowd.

After the parade, there will be Hot Chocolate & Christmas treats provided courtesy of local churches. Hot Dogs by donation to the Lions. Music by Maureen Washington, Local Schools and a special guest or two.

  • When: December 4th at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Along Esquimalt Road from Canteen Road to Archie Browning Sports Centre

Butchart Gardens Lights Display

Butchart Gardens Magic of Christmas Season
(The Butchart Gardens)

Bundle up and stroll through thousands of twinkling lights featuring the Twelve Days of Christmas display, sing along to the sounds of the season with Traditional Carollers and Festive Brass, then stop in at the Coffee Shop to warm up with a hot chocolate and gingerbread by the fire.

  • When: December 1st to January 6th, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily
  • Where: The Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Avenue

Support a Christmas Toy Drive

Every child should receive a present on Christmas, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

This holiday season a number of local non-profits and businesses are making sure these children are not forgotten.

Some toy drives you can support this Christmas season are:

The Peninsula Singers Christmas Concert Series

The Peninsula Singers last performed their Christmas Show in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Peninsula Singers and Artistic Director Lena Palermo are eager and proud to present to you their gift of music with our Christmas 2022 show, ‘The Gift of Christmas’.

This show is a celebration of all the things they have enjoyed throughout the years, with music from traditional Christmas ensembles, rock, jazz and R&B Christmas classics to today’s Christmas music hits. Of course, the show would not be complete without their show band, dancers and featured young artists, as well as costumes, singalongs and of course lots of humour. It’s a show the whole family will enjoy. Join them December 2022 and share with your family and friends, ‘The Gift of Christmas!’

  • When: December 2nd to December 4th, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday
  • Where: Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney

Holiday Movie Night at Oak Bay Beach Hotel: ELF

Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It stars Will Ferrell as the title character, a human raised by Santa’s elves, who learns about his origins and heads to New York City to meet his biological father.

Holiday Movie Nights return to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, where guests will enjoy dinner in FARO Pizza, followed by a favourite holiday film in our David Foster Foundation Theatre and freshly popped popcorn. Multiple dining reservation times are available to book for each screening.

Guests can choose from a variety of modern or classic holiday films to attend, including Elf, Love Actually, It’s A Wonderful Life, A White Christmas, Home Alone, and The Holiday. Our concession will also be available for beverage service during the film.

2 to 6 guests per reservation, based on availability.

Custom Dinner Menu includes:

  • One drink per person (alcoholic or non, any soft drink)
  • One pizza per person
  • One salad per person
  • Dessert of the day to share

Plus, the theatre includes freshly popped popcorn!

  • When: Tuesday, November 29th, 5 p.m.
  • Where: Oak Bay Beach Hotel, 1175 Beach Drive

44th Annual TubaChristmas

TubaChristmas returns to Market Square in downtown Victoria! Enjoy the euphonious tones of massed, low-brass instruments when more than 100 tuba and euphonium players from across the region unite for one of Victoria’s favourite holiday traditions.

Tuba Christmas dates back to 1974 where it originated in New York City. Concerts now take place in over 200 cities worldwide. 2022 is the 48th anniversary for TubaChristmas events presented throughout the world.

All tuba and euphonium players are welcome to participate! Anyone wishing to take part in the performance or volunteer to help out should contact Paul Beauchesne at pcbeau1@telus.net.

  • When: Saturday, December 10th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Market Square, downtown Victoria

Winter Wonderland at Panorama Recreation Centre

The arena will be decorated with penguins, polar bears, lights, a Christmas tree, and of course, Santa Clause.

Skate among the lights or take a break and watch the excitement around you.

Please note: Skate aids will be available upon request.

  • When: From December 17th to December 23rd to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Panorama Recreation Centre, 1885 Forest Park Drive, North Saanich

Christmas In the Haunted Manor

Haunted Manor has been decked out for Christmas and offers a fun and interactive way to engage as a group, whether it’s a birthday party, corporate team-building experience, or your special event. Their private events give you and your crew uninterrupted access to the entire venue.

  • When:
    • Monday to Friday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Where: Haunted Manor, 711 Yates Street

14th Annual Gingerbread Showcase

Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s premier fundraiser, The Gingerbread Showcase is opening for its 14th year! Located in the atrium of the Parkside Hotel & Spa, the event will run from November 26th to January 2nd.

Stop by this local holiday treasure to view the fantastic 100% edible creations made by volunteer bakers, and don’t forget to donate to vote for your favourite! This year, they’ve asked bakers to interpret some magic into their creations with the theme: “Magical.”

100% of donations to the Gingerbread Showcase will help Habitat Victoria support affordable homeownership in Victoria.

Can’t make it in person to see these amazing creations? View and vote for your favourite creation online.

  • When: November 26th to January 2nd
  • Where: Parkside Hotel & Spa, 810 Humboldt Street

9th Annual Nerdy Days of Christmas Craft Fair

One of the nerdiest holiday markets around. Looking for nerdy crafts and unique gift ideas? craft This craft fair specializes in nerdy crafts and art from talented local artisans!

  • When: Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: 560 Johnson Street Lower Level Courtyard

Daniel Lapp’s Home for Christmas Concerts

The Victoria Conservatory of Music is pleased to present Daniel Lapp’s 19th annual Home for Christmas concert.

Led by the renowned fiddler and jazz trumpet player, this toe-tapping and joy-filled Christmas tradition returns to Alix Goolden Performance Hall for three special concerts.

Feel the Christmas spirit come alive as Daniel leads his legendary ensembles: the BC Fiddle Orchestra, Folkestra!, and the Joy of Life Choir, accompanied by the renowned Shiny H’ornaments, Swing’n Shepherds, and the Strings of Lights house band.

Together they’ll share a variety of Coast-to-Coast Canadian Christmas inspired tunes and welcome family and friends back to Victoria for the beloved holiday season.

  • When: 
    • Friday, December 16th, starts at 7:30 p.m
    • Saturday, December 17th, starts at 2 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 17th, starts at 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 907 Pandora Avenue

The 41st Annual Dickens Fair

Celebrating its 41st year, this is one of Victoria’s oldest and best-loved Winter Craft Fairs. Our carefully curated Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artisans offer an amazing variety of affordable handmade and homemade products. With over 60 vendors there will be something for everyone!

  • When:  Saturday, December 3rd, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: James Bay Community Centre, 140 Oswego Street

Holiday Magic at the Malahat Skywalk 

‘Tis the season of Holiday Magic! Enjoy a cozy beverage, warm fire, our massive holiday tree, crafts, and a visit from Santa! You may even see Luke the Sasquatch partaking in the holiday fun! Here you can find more details on each activity.

  • When:  December 3rd to January 1st, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (see list of times)
  • Where: Malahat Skywalk, 901 Trans-Canada Hwy

Victoria Harbour Lights – A Winter Dream

Exclusive to Victoria Harbour Ferry, the 45-minute narrated upper harbour voyage tells the story of a child’s Winter Dream with 3-dimensional projected animations and sound-reactive lighting installations. The story inspires warm thoughts of the people we treasure, reminding us that this time of year is meant to be shared with those that we love.

The Ralmax Group of Companies, owners of Victoria Harbour Ferry, invite you to see Victoria from a different viewpoint – to look from the water to the land.

“Our thanks to Limbic Media for their beautiful story-telling and light creations, and to PaintScaping for bringing their internationally acclaimed 3-D light mapping from Los Angeles to Victoria Harbour.”

  • When:  December 2nd to December 31st
  • Where: Tours depart from the Empress Dock on the Inner Harbour Causeway (across from Empress Hotel)

A Wonderheads Christmas Carol

Praised by the CBC as “Pure magic” and the Globe and Mail as “Powerful, surprising and moving,” acclaimed theatrical imagineers the WONDERHEADS present their delightfully captivating reimagining of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with giant masks, whimsical puppets, and wondrous theatrical invention.

A feast for the eyes, ears, heart and funny bone, this astonishing production features larger than life characters, glowing ghosts, and 10-foot-tall puppets – to name just a few of the treats in store for audiences as they are whisked away with Ebenezer Scrooge on his magical Christmas Eve adventure. Prepare to laugh, cry, and be utterly enchanted this holiday season!

  • When:  
    • Friday, December 16th, 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 17th, 3:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 17th, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Square

Winter Wander on Fort Street

Wander up Fort Street for an evening full of shopping, in-store specials, and more! Stores are staying open until 9pm hosting holiday fun; grab a friend and join in!
See who is participating on the interactive map!

  • When: Thursday, December 1st 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Where: Along Fort Street in downtown Victoria – see interactive map

Christmas at the Castle

The holidays are a magical time at the Castle, and the Christmas season is quickly approaching. Beginning December 1st, visitors will experience a unique glimpse into authentic Victorian toys and traditions as part of their self-guided tour at the Craigdarroch Castle.

The Castle brings the true spirit of Christmas alive, as we all celebrate togetherness! This festive season inspires hope and love, and they hope to see you here.

  • When: Starting December 1st and throughout the month, see schedule.
  • Where: Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Crescent

Victoria Buzz Christmas Lights Map – coming soon!

The 9th annual Christmas Lights map is coming soon! Check back early December where we will provide a map of thousands of lights around the city.

In the meantime, make sure to add your home to the list!

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