Tuesday, July 23, 2024

9 must-see homes in and around Victoria delightfully decorated for the holidays


Deck the halls and string up the lights, Victoria!

We know the holidays are busy, so if you haven’t had time, or are unable to see the neighbourhood lights, our Victoria Buzz photographer has got you covered.

Every year since 2017, Colin Smith (aka Colin Smith Takes Pics) has put an enormous amount of effort and care into documenting the holiday Christmas lights on houses from Sidney all the way to Sooke!

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

In an interview with Victoria Buzz, he revealed that it started as a way to practice his night photography as well as bring something fun and accessible to the community.

As the years went by, Smith noticed the increase in traffic and demand for his yearly captures. 

“2020 and 2021 were the highest years of engagement,” he said, commenting on the need for Christmas cheer during COVID.

“In 2020, all of a sudden all of these people weren’t leaving their houses, so my hobby turned into something that could have meaning.”

Smith knew people were enjoying it, but the full weight of his impact hit him after reading a message from a follower detailing just how much it meant to their family.

“They took my photos and ran them on their TV, and so they all sat around and had dinner with my photos displayed in the background,” he gushed.

“I thought it was really cool! It was bringing them joy and that’s something that makes me happy.”

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

We asked him if he has any favourites from this year, and he chuckled and quickly listed 555 Girou Road in Colwood has become his yearly favourite, and is one he returns to again and again.

He also mentioned 783 Hutchinson Avenue in Esquimalt.

“You walk into the area and all you can say is, ‘wow.’ It’s an entire Christmas village…it’s everywhere. He even had someone dressed up as Santa Claus [one year].”

Anything with an incredible amount of lights, inflatables, or lawn decorations are said to catch Smith’s eye and he finds he is always gravitating towards the houses that go crazy with their displays.

“Full on Clark Griswold-type lights,” he laughed.

Smith has especially given much needed attention to a house that was bashed for its stunning Christmas lights by someone dubbed “the Scrooge of Sooke.”

The homeowner, Cheryl Dinse, faced a disheartening setback when a letter arrived at her doorstep.

The handwritten note, filled with disdain for her elaborate decorations, shocked not only Dinse but also the entire neighbourhood.

Colin made sure to capture some dazzling photos to further positive publicity by including it in his annual album.

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

Another blessing he mentioned that has come from this experience and revisiting houses year after year, is the community familiarity and recognition from the homeowner’s themselves. 

Once they see a tripod set up, they know it’s him and come out to say hello!

“It brings me a lot of joy, that’s for sure.”

Smith says he also likes to keep an eye out for donation boxes that many have displayed out front of people’s houses, then he can leave a note on his image just in case the people who are driving around can leave something.

Anything helps towards the yearly dedication to fabulous Christmas lights!

The most important part of the process for Smith has been, and always will be, providing those who can’t leave their house with a way to connect with the community’s holiday spirit.

“I just hope that people who aren’t able to leave their houses for whatever reason are able to enjoy the photos and look at them as if they were there.”

It’s the best time of year to cheer on a neighbour!

Here are 9 other homes you have to check out this holiday season:

555 Girou Road – Colwood

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

1973 Colwood Cresent – Colwood

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

Corner of Shady Lane and Beach Drive – Oak Bay

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

326 Walter Avenue – Victoria (with music)

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

567 Obed Avenue – Victoria (with music)

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

3198 Henderson Road – Oak Bay 

Tune car radio to 99.1 to listen to the lights—it’s their final year! 

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

2311 Lansdowne Road  – Oak Bay

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

2145 Firwood Place – Sooke

Yes, this is the home where someone sent in a nasty letter to the homeowners.

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)

1751 Sansum Park Drive – North Saanich

North Saanich Christmas Lights
North Saanich home (Colin Smith Takes Pics)

For more of Smith’s photos, head to his album on Facebook where he will continue to update.

If you are willing and able to drive around and check out these places for yourself, our 10th annual Christmas Lights Tour Map is available!

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