Christmas is an exciting and special time in British Columbia with lots of yuletide events, holiday markets and light displays. Snow or not, you’ll find family-friendly things to do making sure everyone has a few sugar plums dancing in their heads just in the nick of time.
The Butchart Gardens in Victoria offer The Magic of Christmas from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. Bundle up and meander throughout the Gardens to the Twelve Days of Christmas display, traditional carolers and a festive brass band, beautiful lights, ice skating and festive refreshments like hot chocolate and gingerbread.
Victoria’s annual Gingerbread Showcase benefitting the local Habitat for Humanity runs Nov. 16 to Jan. 5 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Come and enjoy the best in edible holiday creations and vote for your favorites.
Don’t miss Victoria’s 38th Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade Nov. 30 beginning at 5 p.m. Kick off Christmas in Victoria and celebrate both before and after the parade in “Christmas Square” where you’ll enjoy cookies and milk with Santa, games, entertainment and food! Stick around for the Lights on the Square at 7 p.m.
The Campbell River area of Vancouver Island reflects a fabulous and festive Christmas personality. The annual highlight is a Christmas Market in the Maritime Heritage Center on the first three Sundays of December. Look for all things homemade, homegrown, small-batch processed and/or locally crafted. Also, visitors enjoy local restaurants and breweries in the area.
Centennial Square, in the capital city of Victoria, transitions into a lovely Winter Wonderland for the holiday season. View the lights and festivities from the Ferris Wheel downtown, take in live music and sip the holiday-themed drinks. There is a free, horse-drawn carriage ride to enjoy and the Craigdarroch Castle puts on a one-man show of A Christmas Carol not to be missed. The IMAX will show favorite holiday titles like Polar Express and, of course, the entire city is adorned with holiday decorations and lights that are worth the trip alone.
Don’t forget to check out vacation rentals in Victoria and other nearby destinations for the best in lodging.