Joy + Light discover
in the city
downtown victoria christmas guide
Joy + Light discover
in downtown victoria
Visit the streets and squares of downtown Victoria this holiday season, and rediscover Joy + Light in the City! Downtown Victoria will come alive with the sights and sounds of the season, as horse-drawn trolleys make loops around the city and musicians and carolers take to the streets. Youâ€™ll find festivities taking place all over the city, including the annual traditions you look forward to, and a wonderful array of other activities and things to see and do. Use this guide as a reference while planning your holiday season and downtown activities!
Gates of Harmonious Interest
Free shuttle route Nov 21 â€“ Dec 20 Saturdays + Sundays 10:30am â€“ 5:30pm
Shuttle stop 2 hours free parking 11am â€“ 2pm Saturdays until Dec 19
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free parking compliments of the dvba It’s easier than you think to park downtown, with ample parking stalls available in 5 City Parkades, on-street parking, and privately owned facilities. Every Saturday from 11am to 2pm until Dec. 19th, receive 2 hours free parking at any City Parkade just for coming downtown! (See map*, Johnson Street, Yates Street, View Street, Broughton Street and Fisgard Street/Centennial Square). Be sure to ask for a “First Hour Free” voucher wherever you shop or dine, and remember the 5 City parkades are always free on Sundays and holidays! For more information visit www.victoria.ca/residents/parking.shtml, and for a list of parking tips, check out www.downtownvictoria.ca/parking.php.
free downtown shuttle bus November 21 - December 20 Saturdays + Sundays, 10:30am – 5:30pm The DVBA invites you to experience one of the easiest, most enjoyable ways to move freely and easily throughout the downtown core as you’re out and about running holiday errands and shopping for gifts. Discover all of Victoria’s unique, eclectic precincts, each with its own distinct character, while hopping on and off this cozy antique bus. Shopping, dining, and entertainment information is available onboard. See map for shuttle stops:
centennial square christmas tree light-up November 27, 5pm – 7pm Start the holiday season in Centennial Square on November 27 at the second annual downtown Christmas Tree Light-Up event. The evening kicks off with the Magic of Christmas at 5pm on the new Spirit Stage, followed by the lighting of the magnificent Sequoia tree at 6pm. All evening, fantastical glowing performers will be mingling throughout the crowd, and after the tree is illuminated a spectacular firedancing show will bring more light to the night! Bring the whole family to enjoy the festive atmosphere and a ‘Taste of Victoria’—local treats and hot beverages from downtown’s best shops! Stop by on your way home from work or bring the whole family, and begin the season with an evening of Joy + Light!
free horse-drawn trolley rides November 28 – December 20 Saturdays 11am – 2pm, Sundays 1pm – 4pm Enjoy a classic downtown tradition with your family this season. Every weekend, horse-drawn trolleys will circulate throughout the downtown making it easy to take in all the sights and sounds, free of charge, compliments of the DVBA. It’s a unique way to see what’s going on or just to get off your feet and take a scenic break! Two free trolleys will circulate on a pre-set route throughout the downtown with 4 stops at: ★ Store St. at Chatham St. in front of Ocean River Sports ★ Johnson St. near Wharf St. in front of Willie’s Bakery ★ Langley St. at Bastion Sq. across from Re-Bar ★ Government St. at Fisgard St. in front of CRD Plaza
christmas at the bay centre Experience Christmas at The Bay Centre this year. Centre Court will return to nature, with beautiful live fir and deciduous trees, and twinkling lights hanging from the four-storey galleria. Celebrate family tradition with The Bay Centre’s Holiday Games and live music, bringing back the spirit of Christmas’ past! For more information please visit www.thebaycentre.ca, or call Guest Services at 250-952-5690.
11th annual spirit of giving campaign December 1 – December 24 Please help spread the holiday spirit to families supported by the Mustard Seed by dropping off your financial or non-perishable food donation at The Bay Centre. With the buying power of the Mustard Seed, your financial donations will go a long way! The Mustard Seed is now assisting 7,200 people of whom 1,650 are children under 12. Please give generously to help those in your community who need support. For more information please visit www.mustardseed.ca or call Guest Services at 250-952-5690.
9th annual bear wear November 16 – December 20 Hotel Grand Pacific The holiday teddies are back! Head down to the lobby of the Hotel Grand Pacific on the Inner Harbour to visit the best-dressed teddy bears in town. Bears are dressed and donated by local businesses and include many valuable extras such as vacations, restaurant and activity packages, celebrity memorabilia, toys, athletic equipment and original art. Vote for your favourite ($2 suggested donation), and place your bids. The silent auction begins November 21st and bidding closes Sunday, December 20 at 2 pm, at which time the highest bidder for each bear gets to take home a new best friend. Funds raised at Bear Wear 2009 go to the Queen Alexandra Foundation School Age Program (SAP) for children with special needs. For more information, call 250-721-6855
fairmont empress festival of trees November 18 – January 4 The Fairmont Empress Every year, the Festival of Trees transforms The Fairmont Empress into a lush forest of beautifully decorated trees to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital. As sponsors of this event, local businesses, organizations and individuals decorate the trees - in a sometimes wacky, often irreverent and always beautiful fashion. The trees are then displayed throughout The Fairmont Empress over the holiday season.
ginger bread houses on display November 26 – January 3, 10am - 6pm daily Inn at Laurel Point Christmas is here so it’s time to feast your eyes and nose on the creative inspirations constructed from gingerbread. More than houses, they are sculptures and unique works of art created by local chefs. Vote for your favourite and make a donation to Habitat for Humanity. A spirit-rousing experience, the gingerbread houses will leave a lasting impression, and your mouth watering. For more information, please visit www.laurelpoint.com/news/christmas/
teddy bear party for the kids December 6, 1pm – 3pm Hotel Grand Pacific Children aged 3 to 10 are invited to bring their favourite stuffed animal and favourite grown-up for cookies, milk and fun. Children’s activities and entertainment are sure to keep the kids busy, with an appearance by Santa to round out the afternoon. Tickets available from November 17 and IN ADVANCE ONLY, at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Funds raised at Bear Wear 2009 go to the Queen Alexandra Foundation School Age Program (SAP) for children with special needs. For more information, call 250-721-6855. For tickets call 250-386-0450. Tickets: $10 per adult, $7 for first accompanying child, and $5 for each child thereafter. *No more than two adults per child.
free christmas starlight cinema at the delta ocean point resort
pancakes with mr. and mrs. claus December 5, 9am - 11:30am Chateau Victoria All proceeds from this popular breakfast go to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. Book early as this event always sells out. For more information visit www. chateauvictoria.com Donations: Adults $15, Children $7.50
Tuesdays and Wednesdays in December (excluding December 29 + 30) Enjoy a Christmas movie under the stars at Christmas Starlight Cinema at the Delta Ocean Point Resort! Bring your blankets and lawn chairs. Heaters will be provided, and hot beverages will be for sale. Donations to Santa’s Anonymous would be greatly appreciated. For more information please call 250-360-2999 or visit www.deltavictoria.com
Treat yourself or your family to an escape in the city this season with special Christmas room rates at numerous downtown hotels. Visit www.tourismvictoria.com/Christmas for a list of hotels and details.
out of hand craft fair Crystal Gardens Friday, November 20, 12 noon – 9pm Saturday, November 21, 10am – 6pm Sunday, November 22, 10am – 5pm Not just another craft fair, this is Victoria’s premier showcase for contemporary crafts and artisan food from across Canada. This show has a well deserved national reputation for presenting high-quality, original work. It’s an excellent opportunity to view contemporary Canadian crafts and meet the artists. 2009 marks the 21st anniversary for the show.
spirit of the season in the square: children’s christmas festival Prelude to the Parade, November 21, 2pm – 5pm Stop by Centennial Square for a warm up event before the Island Farms Santa Light Parade. Enjoy carolers, roving performers and a surprise visit from Santa and his helpers. Stay warm with a cup of hot chocolate while kids make Christmas decorations and tree ornaments. Enjoy musical performances throughout the event on the Spirit Stage.
island farms santa light parade November 21, 5:30pm start time See Santa make his grand entrance with this much-loved Christmas Parade, and drop off a non-perishable food item or donation for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. For more information, call 250-382-3111. Miroirs in the Design District (1824 Government Street) will be distributing free hot chocolate and holiday treats during the parade!
lojo shopping spree give - away: $500 on 500 November 21 and November 22 LoJo (the 500 block of Johnson St. between Government + Store Streets) Join strolling musicians on the weekend of the Santa Claus Parade to sleuth out 3 of 6 elves and gnomes hidden in stores on LoJo, Victoria’s hippest place to shop. Find the elves and gnomes, and write down their secret hiding spot location on your ballot form that you can pick up from any participating store. Drop off the ballot at Willie’s Bakery and you’ll be entered in a draw for a $500 dollar shopping spree from the stores of LoJo. $1 for every entry received will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner Fund.
victoria harbour ferry santa ballet
3rd annual market square christmas open house
Starts November 21, continuing every Friday & Saturday until Dec. 19th, 7:00pm Inner Harbour – Lower Causeway
November 26, 5pm – 8pm
Don’t miss the Victoria Harbour Ferries dancing to Christmas music in the Inner Harbour – this is like no ballet you’ve seen before. Enjoy the festive atmosphere of the harbour as world-famous skippers take their iconic green boats through a precision choreographed water ballet. It’s quite the sight and the whole family will love it.
Muffet & Louisa, Dig This, Bespoke, New England Square, Only Human and Adore will hold the 3rd Annual Market Square Christmas open house on Thursday November 26th, from 5pm to 8pm. Celebrate the season with tasty treats and warming drinks, and take advantage of a chance to win a gift certificate for $1,500.00 offered jointly by the participating merchants. Market Square will be decorated for the season, and entertainment will be provided by the Linden Carollers and the Pacific Ballet “sugar plums”. As a special treat, cake artist extraordinaire Corina Ludwig will be sharing her “Passion for Cakes” at Muffet & Louisa.
12th annual victoria gallery walk November 26, 5pm – 8pm Six of Victoria’s finest art galleries invite you to come enjoy a feast for the eyes as well as the palete! Participating galleries include: Alcheringa Gallery (665 Fort St.), Legacy Art Gallery (630 Yates St.), View Art Gallery (104-860 View St.), West End Gallery (1203 Broad St.) and Winchester Galleries (1010 Broad Street & 796 Humboldt St.). This self-guided walking tour celebrates the season and the 12th Anniversary of the Victoria Gallery Walk with participating galleries holding opening receptions for their Christmas exhibitions. There will be appetizers and seasonal libations for all our Victoria patrons. In return, money or food donations for the local Mustard Seed Food Bank would be appreciated. For more information please contact 250-388-0009.
alberta ballet performs the nutcracker November 27 + 28, 7:30pm November 28 + 29, 2pm Royal Theatre Don’t miss the triumphant return of Alberta Ballet’s new Nutcracker that wowed audiences and played to standing ovations in Victoria last Christmas. The choreography and design firmly plant this opulent family production in Imperialist Russia! For more information visit www.rmts.bc.ca Tickets: $58.00-$98.00
downtown victoria art galleries Downtown Victoria is home to almost twenty art galleries, showcasing fine art, original prints, glass works, tribal art and crafts. Galleries are a great place to find one-of-a kind items, and there are a vast number of shows and exhibits throughout the holiday season at the following galleries: Alcheringa Gallery • Artevo • Dales Gallery Eagle Feather Gallery • Legacy Art Gallery Lighthouse Gallery • Martin Bachelor Gallery Mercurio Gallery • Out of The Mist Gallery Pacific Editions • View Art Gallery West End Gallery • Winchester Galleries Studio 16 ½ (now part of Boucherat Gallery)
Please visit www.downtownvictoria.ca/ galleryhappenings.pdf for a complete list of galleries and to find what’s happening in the downtown Victoria art galleries this season.
nautical wreath workshop November 28, 1 – 3pm; December 3, 6 – 8pm December 6, 2 – 4pm; December 8, 6 – 8pm Maritime Museum of BC, Bastion Square Pre-register for this nautical wreath-making workshop and create a beautiful and unique nautical Christmas wreath perfect for decorating or giving as a gift. For more information call 250-385-4222 ext. 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: $25 (includes workshop and materials for one wreath)
stuart mclean in a vinyl café christmas November 30 + December 1, 7:30pm Royal Theatre The Vinyl Café concerts have become a tradition for many Canadians. This year’s tour will feature two brand new stories, and music by the Vinyl Café Orchestra, featuring award-winning musicians Jill Barber and Matt Anderson. For more information visit www.rmts.bc.ca Tickets: $54.00, $49.00, $31.50 for students 18 and younger
noel bazaar December 1st – 3rd, 2-9pm Victoria Event Centre Rebel Rebel Clothing is hosting the 8th annual Noel Bazaar, which has been called the hippest and most unique art/craft/fashion fair in Victoria. Featuring about 30 local designers, artists and crafters, the event is a great opportunity to get all your Christmas shopping done in one place and to see what your favorite designers have been working on during the last year. Also, the Bar will be open for business. For more info call Rebel Rebel Clothing at 250-380-0906.
island ukulele players
December 2, 2:30pm Royal Theatre
December 5, 11:30am – 12:30pm Market Square (free admission)
Experience the most romantic operatic moments from Madama Butterfly, Rusalka, Die Walkure and Tosca, showcased in one delightful afternoon with guest soprano Heidi Muendel, conductor Tania Miller, and host Scott Walker.
A delightful group of young ukulele players put a tropical twist on Christmas!
Tickets: $36.00 For more information visit www.rmts.bc.ca
first friday on fort December 4, all day Fort St. from Wharf to Cook Take advantage of a variety of discounts and special perks on Fort St. during this monthly customer-appreciation event.
o night divine: a yuletide celebration with ken lavigne December 4, 7:30pm St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church O Night Divine celebrates the season with a rich and varied exploration of winter solstice songs and traditional Christmas music. Backed by a lush instrumental ensemble of strings, brass, percussion and piano, tenor Ken Lavigne lends his rich and lyric vocal talents to create a truly stirring and unique blend of classical, folk and popular music. Tickets: $35.00, available in advance at Munro’s Books, Long & McQuade and Ivy’s Bookshop.
tuba christmas December 5, 1pm – 3pm Market Square (free admission) It’s not Christmas until it’s Tuba Christmas! More than 50 tuba players from across BC and the Pacific Northwest come together to perform seasonal favourites in a big way. It only happens once a year. Kick off the holiday season with this fun-loving family Christmas tradition that originated more than 30 years ago in New York City’s Rockefeller Centre.
ieoa 11th annual lighted truck parade December 5 Downtown Victoria Don’t forget to put this wonderful community event in your calendar! Watch fabulously decorated trucks roll through the downtown at approximately 7pm and take the opportunity to donate to the Mustard Seed Food Bank at one of the drop off points along the parade route. Check the website www.ieoa.ca for all the details.
20th annual lighted ship parade
the best christmas pageant ever
December 5, 7pm
December 5 + 11, 7pm; December 6 + 13, 2pm; December 12, 4pm McPherson Theatre
Happy Birthday to the 20th Annual Lighted Ship Parade! The lighted ships will make two loops of the Inner Harbour after the IEAO Lighted Truck Parade passes by the causeway. Spectators at Ship Point will enjoy a night market with live entertainment and local artisans presenting holiday wares from 5pm to 9pm. Carolers will ring in the festive season, and we are hoping for a visit from a very special jolly old elf. For more information visit www. victoriaharbour.org
This hilarious story concerns the efforts of a woman and her husband to put on the annual church Christmas pageant despite having to cast the Herdman kids â€“ the meanest, nastiest, most inventively awful kids in the history of the world. You wonâ€™t believe the mayhem, and the fun, when the Herdmans meet the Christmas story in a head-on collision! For more information contact the McPherson Theatre box office, call 250-386-6121, or visit www.rmts.bc.ca Tickets: $21.50-$23.50
carillon light up at the royal bc museum December 6, 4:30pm – 5pm Ring in the season with a sing-along concert. Live music will be provided by Provincial Carilloneur Rosemary Laing, choir members, and you! Song sheets will be available along with free hot chocolate and cookies. Following the concert, the Carillon will be lit for the season. For more information visit www.Royalbcmuseum.bc.ca
caroling at victoria city hall Dec 7 - 11, Noon - 12:40 pm The public is invited to attend the City of Victoria’s 44th Annual Caroling Week celebration. Choirs from the Greater Victoria School District 61, Glenlyon Norfolk, St. Andrews Elementary and Christ Church Cathedral Schools will perform a variety of seasonal carols in Council Chambers on the second floor of Victoria City Hall.
victoria symphony legacy series: ehnes plays beethoven December 7th, 8pm Royal Theatre For more information visit www.rmts.bc.ca Tickets: $29.50-$68.50
design your holidays in the design district December 10, 5pm – 8pm Between Government + Store, Herald + Market Square Come to the Design District and browse the best in Victoria design while enjoying appetizers, music, and horse-drawn trolleys. For more information on specific stores and locations visit www.victoriadesigndistrict.com
symphony concert: what a wonderful world December 11 + 12, 8pm; December 13, 2pm Royal Theatre Music Director Tania Miller conducts this year’s annual Christmas Pops, featuring soprano Rachel Landrecht. This concert brings out the spirit of Christmas, and will leave you knowing this really is a Wonderful World. For tickets, call 250-386-6121 or visit www.rmts.bc.ca Tickets: $30.50-$69.50
spirit of the season in the square: a global christmas celebration December 12, 1pm - 4pm, Centennial Square Come and enjoy the many ways Christmas traditions are celebrated around the world. Enjoy carols sung in their language of origin, dance performances and children’s entertainment on the Sprit Stage. Don’t forget to stop by the activity tent to create unique crafts inspired by different cultures, and warm-up your taste buds with delectable treats from around the world. For more information please visit www.victoria.ca
greater victoria concert band December 12, 1pm – 2:30pm Market Square (free admission) A grand performance by these accomplished musicians fills the Square with holiday magic!
classical christmas concert at christ church cathedral December 14, 7pm Christ Church Cathedral Join the Victoria Children’s Choir in the candlelit Christ Church Cathedral for this annual favourite concert. Familiar carols and classical repertoire, performed by children, orchestra, and organ, will evoke the gentle beauty of the season. For further details or to purchase tickets, call 250-721-0856 or visit www.victoriachildrenschoir.ca Tickets: $15.00
the fab four beatles tribute December 18, 8pm Royal Theatre For more information visit www.rmts.bc.ca, or call 250-386-6121. Tickets: $35.50-$60.00
helmecken house old fashioned christmas December 19th – January 3rd Spend Christmas at one of the oldest houses in British Columbia still on its original site. Dr. Helmcken set up house in Victoria when he married the daughter of Governor James Douglas in 1852. Visitors will discover the Christmas traditions of early Victorians while enjoying an authentic festive atmosphere. Families can make a traditional craft between 1 and 3 pm. Admission is included with museum ticket, or by donation. For more information visit: www.Royalbcmuseum.bc.ca
victoria symphony presents michael kaeshammer “The Days of Christmas” December 19, 8pm Royal Theatre Charismatic jazz star Michael Kaeshammer makes his orchestral debut with the Victoria Symphony with a knock-out performance of Christmas favourites and his own hits. For tickets, visit the Royal Theatre box office, www.rmts.bc.ca, or call 250-386-6121. Tickets: $35.00-$75.00
ballet victoria presents cinderella December 27, 28, 29 + 30, 7:30pm December 29, 2pm Royal Theatre Come and witness the magic of the fairy godmother and enjoy a laugh or two at the expense of a few villains! For tickets, please contact the McPherson box office in person, by phone at 250-386-6121, or online at www.rmts.bc.ca. Tickets: $31.50-$56.00
canadian pacific ballet presents the nutcracker suite + the sugar plum fair December 29, 2pm + 7pm December 30, 7pm (Nutcracker Suite + Sugar Plum Ball, + silent auction) McPherson Playhouse The ultimate holiday treat and a joy for the whole family! Canadian Pacific Ballet’s Nutcracker Suite follows Clara’s magical Christmas dream from her family’s holiday party and the gift of a mysterious Nutcracker doll, through a battle between mice and soldiers, and escape through a snowy forest into the Palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy! Don’t miss this chance to enjoy all the classic Nutcracker moments, with the additional magic of a Sugar Plum Fair, an interactive transformation of the McPherson Lobby, where everyone can enjoy the sweets of the land! For more information visit canadianpacificballet.org Tickets: $26.50-$66.50
don’t miss our centennial square christmas tree light Up November 27, 5pm – 7pm
A guide to all the events taking place in downtown Victoria during the Christmas season.