Christmastime can be pricey and we all know that! So we have written this 2018 blog on the best FREE things to do this holiday season right here in Victoria, BC. Victoria is one of the best city’s to be in for Christmastime. We have something fun for all the family – including those with family members of the “4 legged” kind ? Check it out below!
FESTIVAL OF TREES
Head down to Victoria’s Bay Centre to witness the BC Children’s Hospital 27th Annual Festival of Trees. Scores of hand decorated trees will be on display until Jan 9 2019 with all proceeds going to the most urgent health care needs of kids in BC. Although this event is free it is all for a great cause so donations are very welcome. Head to guest services in the mall to grab your free voters card and leave as little or as large a donation as you like!
When: November 15th 2018 to January 9th 2019 (Closed Christmas Day & New Years Day)
Time: Mall Hours
Where: The Bay Centre, Downtown Victoria
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY VICTORIA’S ANNUAL GINGERBREAD SHOWCASE
The Gingerbread Showcase is an event we can all enjoy and better still it is all in the name of charity. Presented by the Victoria Real Estate Board this annual event raises money for Habitat in Humanity. This year they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary and it will be hosted at the elegant Parkside Hotel & Spa. This year’s theme is “There’s no place like home” and we think someone should enter a pod of Gingerbread Orcas swimming freely in their Gingerbread Ocean! Definite winner ?
When: November 17th 2018 to January 6th 2019
Time: 9am to 9pm daily
Where: Parkside Hotel & Spa
ADMISSION BY DONATIONS
Weihnachtsmarkt – Annual Christmas Market!
Who doesn’t love a Christmas Market – no matter how big or small! This “Everything German” market is growing in popularity every year. As always, they will have a selection of traditional deli items, wreath table, bake table including Christmas Stollen and a variety of vendor tables. This is the perfect event to go to before you head downtown at 5pm to see the Santa Light Parade ?
They are also looking for volunteers before and during the Christmas Market. If you have some time to spare and love crafts, please help with making wreaths or lend a hand with decorations or set-up. Please call Bianca at 250-477-4439 or the club 250-383-4823 if you would like to help.
When: Saturday November 24th 2018
Time: 10am – 2pm
Where: Victoria Edelweiss Club (108 Niagara St.)
37th ANNUAL ISLAND FARMS SANTA LIGHT PARADE
This is an annual event that should not be missed. Watch Santa and all of his brightly lit helpers (from BC Transit buses to Firetrucks) make their way through Victoria. The parade starts at 5pm on the corner of Government St. and Belleville St. They will make their way slowly down Government St. showing off all their Christmas lit floats. The parade will finish at the corner of Pandora Ave and Government St. but don’t worry the fun doesn’t stop there! Following the parade, Santa will be handing out Free Cookies and Milk to all the Good Girls and Good Boys in Centennial Square & watch as the Lights get switched on to the Square at 7pm Sharp! Come on down for games, fun, great food and a chance to tell Santa what you want this year ?
When: Saturday November 24th 2018
Where: Government St. & Belleville St.
MOVIE NIGHT AT THE MARKET – THE HOLIDAY
Pack a camp chair, a snuggly blanket and a thermos full of yummy hot chocolate and make your way down to Victoria Public Market. This popular indoor Christmas event is in aid of CFAX Santa’s Anonymous – a worthwhile local charity. The event is free but we do encourage to donate as little or as much as you would like to this fantastic charity. Every child should be able to experience Christmas and with help from Santa’s Anonymous some of the less fortunate can! Get there early to enjoy some food from the market vendors or to claim your spot!
When: Wednesday November 28th 2018
Time: 7pm to 10pm
Where: Victoria Public Market
FREE – DONATIONS WELCOME
MARINA LIGHT UP
Head on down to Victoria’s stunning Inner Harbour to see all the boats light up. Free hot drinks will be passed out by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority on the causeway docks across from the Fairmont Empress. Plus a little tip for the locals that live on the water. GVHA will also be providing complimentary Christmas lights to boaters and float home owners ahead of the Marina Light Up on a first come first served basis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
WHEN: Friday November 30th, 2018
WHERE: Victoria’s stunning Inner Harbour
19TH ANNUAL IEOA TRUCK LIGHT CONVOY
This is another free event that should not be missed. This annual event has become a holiday staple for many Victorians, and will feature 80 decorated trucks traversing a 35 kilometre route for all to see. This isn’t only a stunning display of brightly lit trucks it is also a food drive. Closer to the time the IEOA website will have food donation locations on their website. Or you could always just drop by your local food bank and donate there ?
When: Saturday December 1, 2018
Time: Starts at 5:45 p.m. (Finishes at Western Speedway 8:30 p.m.)
Where: Ogden Point
FOOD DONATIONS WELCOME
SANTA PAWS – DOG PICTURES WITH SANTA
This one is for your beloved 4 legged friends. Esquimalt Recreation Centre will have Santa cuddling your doggies for photos on Sunday December 2nd. The photos will be taken starting at 2.30pm in the Rec Centre atrium. Photos are emailed to you at the time of the event and guess what it’s FREE! People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item with them for donation to the local food bank. And I know this blog is for free events only but participants should be aware that there is a Dog Swim in the swimming pool at the rec centre for only $10 per dog. You must pre register for this and there are different swim times (starting at 3.45pm) depending on your dog’s size. Click here to get all the info you need for the paid event.
When: Sunday December 2nd 2018
Time: 2.30pm – 4pm
Where: Esquimalt Recreation Centre
SEA OF LIGHTS – LIGHTED SHIP PARADE
You may think if you see one light parade you have seen them all – but that’s not true when it comes to this parade. This annual parade leaves the Royal Victoria Yacht Club at 6.45pm led by a Canadian Navy training ship. It passes by Cattle point at approximately 7pm and continues on it’s way past Willows beach at about 7.15pm. Kiwanis will be there serving hot chocolate by donation at the Willows Beach pavilion while a roaring bonfire, run by the Oak Bay Fire Department, keeps everyone warm. At approximately 7:45 pm the fleet lights up Cadboro Bay’s Gyro Park beach, where hot Chocolate and coffee donated by Cadboro Bay merchants will be served by the 12th Garry Oaks Sea Scouts.
Although this awesome event is free it is the time of year for sharing and caring so donations are accepted by Kiwanis and the Salvation Army. The public are also encouraged to bring along a non-perishable food item.
When: Friday December 7th 2018
Where: Best viewing times:
7:00pm – Cattle Point
7:15pm – Willows Beach
7:45 – Gyro Park & Cadboro Bay
MOSS STREET HOLIDAY MARKET
This outdoor market moves inside at this time of year so guests can browse the huge selection of local vendor’s products. The Holiday Market features over 80 vendors offering locally-made crafts, cards, art, clothing, jewelry, household items, plus winter vegetables, apple cider and much more! It is a popular market and will have something for all the family for Christmas.
There is also free parking in the Sir James Douglas School Parking lot, off Thurlow Street so you don’t need to struggle finding somewhere for your car!
When: Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th December 2018
Time: 10am to 4pm
Where: Fairfield Gonzales Community Association buildings (1330 Fairfield Rd)