There is no denying that we live in a great city but until you spend a holiday season locally, we don't often realize just how lucky we are! Besides being able to walk our dogs in flip flops, brush off our cars once or twice and brave the winter in a thick sweater, the city of Victoria has some other great things to offer during the month of December. With just a week left before the big man in the red suit does his annual B&E, it is time to get yourselves out to enjoy the beauty that is Victoria during the holidays. We have compiled a handy list of some of our favourite things to do in December but don’t fret if you can’t make it out before Christmas, many of the activities continue on until the New Year! To help you plan, we’ll list them in order of urgency in case you want to get everything in.
Victoria from 65 Feet Up!
First up is an opportunity to see your city from a new height! This marks the last weekend of the season to enjoy the beautifully lit Ferris Wheel in Centennial Square. Presented by the Downtown Victoria Business Association, Centennial Square will not only offer Ferris Wheel rides but also live, local entertainment and an amazing audio-reactive Christmas tree. Rides are just $2 and operate on Fridays from 5-9pm, Saturdays from 1-9pm and Sundays from 1-7pm. For full details, check out the DVBA website.
Sleigh Bells Ring – Are you listening?
Scared of heights? Love animals? Or just love seeing Victoria at a leisurely 5km an hour pace? Hop on board for the last weekend of free horse-drawn trolley rides! If you are like me, you have left all of your holiday shopping to
this final weekend. So let someone else take care of getting around the sure-to-be-hectic downtown Victoria shopping scene! Two trolleys and four beautiful horses will circulate the city on a pre-set route with 4 stops at:
Store St. @ Chatham St. (in front of Ocean River Sports/Capital Iron)
Johnson St. @ Wharf St. (in front of Willie's Bakery)
Langley St. @ Bastion Sq. (across from re-Bar)
Government St. @ Fisgard St. (in front of CRD Plaza)
The trolleys will run between Noon and 4pm on Saturday and Noon and 3pm on Sunday. Don’t miss this great DVBA event!
Lighting up the City
If you don’t feel like re-creating the Griswolds Family Christmas light display, load up the family, fill your thermos with hot apple cider and take a drive around our beautiful city! Take in the sights as you see how others have risked life and limb decking their halls for the enjoyment of others. This is a new tradition in my household and one not to be missed! Check out this handy Christmas Light Tour Map for some outlined route suggestions. Explore your neighbourhood or venture out to others – the choice is yours.
Victoria’s version of The Rink at Rockefeller
For the first time ever, we have a beautiful outdoor skating rink in Downtown Victoria! Operating until mid-January
2015, lace up your skates (or a rented pair), grab a loved one and hold on for dear life as your make your way around the approximately 60’ x 90’ covered rink. Public skating will take place 5pm-9pm on weekdays and from 11am-9pm on weekends at a cost of $10 per person, $5 for children (10 and under) and rentals are available at $5 per pair. Be sure to check out the skating schedule for special 2-for-1 nights with a food donation or a skating partner.
Bringing the outdoors (& glitter, garland and lights) in
After your skate, warm up and head inside the Empress Hotel for the annual Victoria Festival of Trees running until the New Year. Sponsors, local businesses, organizations and individuals come together and decorate trees to benefit the BC Children's Hospital Foundation. Open to the public seven days a week until 11:00pm, the festival has no admission fee but make sure to vote for your favourite tree with a minimum suggested donation of $2.00.
Gingerbread, gingerbread – as far as the eye can see
Resist the urge to eat everything in sight just a short stroll down the road from the Empress. The Inn at Laurel Point hosts a free, irresistible feast for your eyes and nose with the Canadian National Gingerbread Showcase. Vote for your favourite with a donation to Habitat for Humanity and enjoy the beautiful creations of both professionals and amateur chefs. Open daily from 9am-9pm until the New Year!
Christmas in the Gardens
From December 1st until Twelfth Night on January 6th, take in the thousands of lights, carollers, skating rink and Christmas treats at the beautiful Butchart Gardens. An event not to be missed, this 25 year old Victoria tradition continues to prove its timelessness, entertaining locals and tourists alike. Admissions are $25.50 for adults, $12.75 for youth and $3 for children 5 and under and runs daily during regular operating hours.
Victoria is a beautiful city all year around, but it looks especially magical with a little holiday spirit sprinkled about. So be sure to bundle up, get out and enjoy the sights!
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Till next time,
Laura Roberts of the Modern Real Estate Team