Friday, February 23, 2024

22 things to do in and around Victoria this weekend—December 2nd and 3rd

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AH!—it’s December already!

How did we get here so quickly?

The holiday preparations, hours of decorating, organizing ‘want’ lists, planning dinners, and much more has begun and the spirit is in the air!

And as you’ll quickly find out, the events for this weekend reflect just that—there are plenty of seasonal activities for the whole family to choose from depending on your needs.

Pick between the many holiday markets, a unique recreation of A Christmas Carol, a BC SPCA holiday sale, the annual IEOA Truck Light Parade, and much more!

Hoping to catch a wee break from the Christmas craze? No problem! There’s plenty of that too, such as a local live music show presenting four bands, a recreation of The Wizard of Oz, and beyond.

Without anymore delay, here’s 22 things to do in and around Victoria this weekend—December 2nd and 3rd:

 

24th Annual IEOA Truck Light Parade

This year’s 24th annual IEOA Truck Light Parade will take place on December 2nd at 5:30 p.m. starting at the Breakwater District before making its way through Oak Bay, back into Victoria, through Saanich and out to the West Shore communities.

A fleet of over 80 commercial trucks and buses will light up the streets of Victoria for the annual truck light parade and food drive, hosted by the Island Equipment Owners Association.

Last year, the parade finished up at Bear Mountain after the closure of Western Speedway where it had previously ended, but this year, the final destination will be in Colwood’s Royal Bay!

Here’s when and where you can see the new IEOA Truck Light Parade route with approximate times below:

  • 5:30 p.m.: Breakwater District/Ogden Point (start)
  • 6 p.m.: Oak Bay Avenue
  • 6:30 p.m.: Yates Street
  • 7 p.m.: Watkiss Way
  • 7:30 p.m.: Goldstream Avenue
  • 8:30 p.m.: Royal Bay in Colwood (end)
(IEOA Truck Light Parade route)
  • Where: Begins at the Breakwater District and ends in Royal Bay
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd at 5:30 p.m.

A Touch of Salt Spring

This years Christmas Show edition of the Touch of Salt Spring Craft & Art Show is going to host 200 vendors at the Saanich Fairgrounds and will run for three whole days!

Perusing kicked off on Friday, December 1st and it will run until Sunday, December 3rd, so hurry down and find a thoughtful gift for a loved one. Naturally, you can treat yourself too (we don’t tell!).

Admission is $5 and will give you access to all three days.

(A Touch of Salt Spring / Facebook)
  • Where: Saanich Fairgrounds, 528 Stellys Cross Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VOS Musical Theatre: The Wizard of Oz

Watch as L. Frank Baum’s classic novel comes to life in VOS Musical Theatre’s live musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.

It began showing in late November and this is the last weekend to catch the magical production at McPherson Playhouse!

Dan Comeau, the general manager for VOS said that not only will this refreshed classic contain a harmonious mix of experienced theatre veterans and fresh faces, they also found two local dogs to play Toto!

Ticket prices vary depending on seat selection, but they start at around $66 and can be purchased here.

(Wizard of Oz / VOS Musical Theatre)
  • Where: McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Square
  • When: 
    • Saturday, December 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.

Nerdy Days of Christmas

This is for all of the lovely nerds out there—ourselves included!

Get ready for the 10th annual Nerdy Days of Christmas market and find a gift or treat that truly speaks to your inner geek.

This galacticly fantastic craft market is held in Market Square on both Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entry is by donation and all of the proceeds go to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation!

(The Nerdy Days of Christmas / Facebook)
  • Where: Market Square, 560 Johnson Street
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Adopt From BC SPCA

To ring in the holidays, the BC SPCA wants to see as many animals as possible find a home this season, so they can spend it surrounded by a new loving family.

To encourage the community to adopt and help make this dream a reality, they’re offering 50% off all adoption fees from December 1st through to December 15th!

This includes animals such as dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals. 

Check out their available animals here and filter the results to your local SPCA—you may just fall in love!

(BC SPCA)
  • Where: Victoria location: 3150 Napier Lane
  • When: Anytime this weekend during local SPCA hours!

Abkhazi Garden Festive Weekend Market

Starting on Saturday, December 2nd and running until December 24th, Abkhazi Gardens will be hosting a festive market on weekends!

They’ll be selling items such as festive planters, decorative table centres, culinary wreaths, bonsai kits, flower presses, and much more.

All of the sales will go towards preserving the garden’s legacy in honour of Peggy and Nicolas Abkhazi’s memory.

(Abkhazi Garden Festive Market / Instagram)
  • Where: Abkhazi Garden, 1964 Fairfield Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lenin’s Embalmers at Canadian College of Performing Arts

Witness the thought-provoking dark comedy Lenin’s Embalmers playing at the Canadian College of Performing Arts!

It kicked off on Thursday, November 30th and runs until it’s Sunday, December 3rd show at 2 p.m.

The play is based on true events of two Jewish scientists, who, driven by fear and fame, were pushed to their limits when faced with the task of embalming the former Soviet leader.

Tickets are $30 for an adult, $28 for seniors, and $25 for anyone under 30. You can purchase yours here.

(File photo)
  • Where: The Canadian College of Performing Arts, 1701 Elgin Road
  • When: 
    • Saturday, December 2nd at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.

Lights of Wonder

Brightening up Centennial Square for the month of December is the Lights of Wonder, put on by the Downtown Victoria Business Association!

Wander through the impressive light displays, including a 40 foot tree, four interactive light tunnels, and themed light exhibits.

It’s free to attend and is perfect for all ages!

Grab your friends and family and enjoy the spectacular lights and entertainment.

(Lights of Wonder)
  • Where: 1 Centennial Square
  • When: Officially lit up on Friday, December 1st and will glow until December 31st

Langford Light Up

Starting at 3 p.m., and in conjunction with the IEOA Truck Parade, the Langford Station and Veterans Memorial Park will host a lineup of family-friendly activities!

There will be crafts, ice carving, performances from PACE Musical Theatre, Ablaze Choir, Westshore Community Band, and Pacific Edge Chorus, food trucks, and more.

Across the street at Veterans Memorial Park will feature a holiday market, musical performances by DJ Oz and The Bright Side, cookie decorating, balloon artist, face painting, and free hot dogs and hot chocolate.

This will also be the location of the official light up event. Santa will arrive at 5:15pm on the Langford Fire Truck and be available for photos and visits until 7:00pm.

The Langford tree lighting will take place at 7:20 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m., the IEOA Truck Parade will pass through Langford with its festively lit and decorated trucks!

(City of Langford)
  • Where:
    • Langford Station, 701 Station Avenue
    • Veterans Memorial Park, Aldwynd Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd
    • Langford Station activities begin at 3 p.m.
    • Light up event activities run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sooke Winter Market

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, the Winter Market returns to Sooke Region Museum!

They’re thrilled to present pre-dominantly Sooke-based vendors and creatives—both new and returning community favourites.

Additionally, their Moss Cottage will be decorated for the holidays and open for tours as will their Triangle Island Light House, which has been closed for repairs!

(Sooke Region Museum / Facebook)
  • Where: Sooke Region Museum, 2070 Phillips Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stuff a Bus with BC Transit

This year, BC Transit is inviting the public to help them stuff a double-decker bus full of holiday cheer on Saturday, December 2nd!

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the double-decker will be parked up at the Save-On-Foods at the Tillicum Mall with volunteers collecting non-perishable food items, new, unused toys, and clothing.

All donations will benefit the Mustard Seed Food Bank and the Salvation Army, helping families in need this holiday season.

(Stuff the Bus / BC Transit)
  • Where: Save-On-Foods at the Tillicum Mall,  3170 Tillicum Road #108
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dickens Fair

This fair is described as one of the oldest and most beloved in Victoria!

This year the Dickens Fair by the James Bay Market Society is celebrating their 42nd years of bringing holiday joy.

There will be over 50 vendors selling handmade and affordable goods for a wonderful Christmas shopping experience!

Shop around and chat with the artisans and creatives at the booths—they’d love to talk to you about what they do, their inspirations, and why each item is unique.

Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids under 12 if they’re accompanied by an adult.

  • Where: James Bay Community Centre, 140 Oswego Street
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Maitarra and Friends Farewell Show

The ultimate mix of folk, rock, and indie will be featured in a local band’s farewell show!

Maitarra, a known folk/indie band will be saying their final goodbye this Saturday at their One More Time show, starring other local bands such as Bong Witch, Hope City Waters, and other special guests.

Pack the Paul Phillips Hall in Fernwood and dance with your best pals—there will be plenty of beer to go around and an abundance of incredible energy!

Pre-sale tickets have officially sold out, but they’ll be offering tickets at the door, so hurry down to grab yours as soon as doors open at 7 p.m.

  • Where: Paul Phillips Hall, 1923 Fernwood Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Skate with Santa

Time to lace up those skates!

Santa is coming to town and he’s stopping at the Archie Browning Arena.

Come with the whole family and enjoy a free skate with Santa, and enjoy the music and fun!

(Esquimalt Parks and Recreation / Facebook)
  • Where: Archie Browning Arena, 1151 Esquimalt Road
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Big Hank’s Christmas Blues Show

This is a Christmas show you won’t want to miss!

Big Hank is an expert at drawing a crowd, and has been touring his Blues Christmas show for many years—this unique, variety filled program of blues-basted Yuletide tunes is one that has left audiences counting down the days until the next show.

You can expect to hear some classic blues styles, some R&B, and a touch of soul.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or in person.

(Hermann’s Jazz Club / Facebook)
  • Where: Hermann’s Jazz Club, 753 View Street
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd from7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

WinterFest at the Royal BC Museum

Grab your winter jackets, this outdoor market is one you won’t want to miss!

The Royal BC Museum invites you to experience their celebration of culture, arts, and community with a mix of warm drinks, local vendors, performances, and more.

The event will occur over two days, from Saturday, December 2nd to Sunday, December 3rd.

Find the perfect gift for someone or stop by for a warm drink and a show—either way, you’ll have a wonderfully festive time!

This event is free to attend.

(Royal BC Museum / Facebook)
  • Where: Royal BC Museum, 680 Douglas Street
  • When: Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol

Looking for a fun holiday activity? Look no further!

The Belfry Theatre is thrilled to present A WONDERHEADS Christmas Carol, told in a fashion that has been described as ‘pure magic’ and ‘fantastic, in every sense of the word.’

The show will run from December 3rd to December 23rd, featuring glowing ghosts, 10-foot-tall puppets, and not a word of dialogue!

Every aspect of the storyline will be told through movement, music, and magnificent practical effects.

Belfry Theatre promises plenty of treats in store for audiences as they are whisked away into an incredible adventure with Ebenezer Scrooge on his magical Christmas Eve.

(A Christmas Carol / Belfry Theatre)
  • Where: Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Avenue
  • When: Sunday, December 3rd to Saturday, December 23rd—showtimes vary

Indigenous Pop up Shop YYJ Winter Artists Market

Support local Indigenous artists and check out the unbelievable talent featured between 45 different creators on three different dates throughout the season!

The first one was on Sunday, November 19th, and the last one will be on Sunday, December 10th if you miss the one on this Sunday, December 3rd.

Anything from custom printed t-shirts with Indigenous art to beaded jewelry can be found and purchased!

  • Where: 1110 Hillside Avenue
  • When: Sunday, December 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade

Enjoy the beauty of the season in Sidney with their Sparkles Christmas Parade!

There will be around 50 floats decorated in holiday magic this year, all awaiting your awestruck eyes.

The route will follow Beacon Avenue to Second Street, then four blocks south, finishing at Ocean Avenue.

(Image / Peninsula Celebrations)
  • Where: Along Beacon Avenue in downtown Sidney
  • When: Sunday, December 3rd from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Esquimalt Celebration of Lights

Another year brings another Esquimalt Celebration of Lights and they’re promising their biggest year yet!

Starting at 3 p.m., musical performers and storytellers such as Victor-Brodeur, Macaulay Elementary, Joe Music, and more will take the stage.

You can watch the parade go by at 5 p.m. and stay for carols, hot chocolate, and Christmas snacks courtesy of local churches and Esquimalt Lions until the very end.

(Esquimalt Celebration of Lights / Facebook)
  • Where: Archie Browning Arena, 1151 Esquimalt Road
  • When: Sunday, December 3rd from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Festival of Trees

Visit the Bay Centre and take a break between holiday shopping to wander through the exceptional display of trees different local businesses have contributed.

The Festival of Trees is not only beautiful, but also for a good cause! Vote for your favourite and donate to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

It officially kicked off on Thursday, November 16th in a flurry of sparkling decorations, good spirits, and metres and metres of garland, and you’ll have until January 3rd to see them.

(Festival of Trees 2023 / Clickhead)
  • Where: The Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas Street
  • When: From November 16th to January 3rd during mall hours

The Peninsula Singers

For over 40 years, the Peninsula Singers have been Victoria’s beloved show chorus, led by Artistic Director Lena Palermo and MC Jim Kingham.

Their upcoming show, ‘The Spirit of Christmas,’ promises a dazzling mix of singing, dancing, and laughter, featuring special guest Steve Ivings and young talents like the Bozo Brass Band and STAGES Dance Co.

This festive event supports the Saanich Peninsula Hospital & HealthCare Foundation’s Music Therapy Program and the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, making it a joyful celebration for a great cause.

  • Where: Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Avenue
  • When: 
    • Friday, December 1st at 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.

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