Festive fun: 9 things to do in Victoria over the holidays

Dec 22 2021, 6:36 pm

Before a jaunt to British Columbia’s capital city, first check out our list of the best things to do in Victoria over the holidays.

There’s a festive activity for everyone, from a cynical Scrooge to a budding Buddy the Elf.

Parliament Buildings

Parliament Buildings


Legislative buildings in Canada’s capital cities all embrace the holiday spirit, and Victoria is no exception. From anywhere in the Inner Harbour you can easily see all the cheerful lights illuminating the stately old Parliament Buildings.

The Butchart Gardens

The highlight of Victoria’s holiday season is always The Butchart Gardens. The trees and pathways of this National Historic Site, which is over a century old, are adorned with thousands of lights, garlands and other seasonal decorations. Experience these festive displays daily (excluding Christmas) until Jan. 6, and be sure to stop by the coffee shop for gingerbread and hot chocolate by the fire.

Festive Afternoon Tea


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Enjoy the perfect cuppa — and a whole lot more — at Festive Afternoon Tea at The Empress. The fairy-tale-perfect hotel has long been a top destination for high tea: finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and sweets, presented on a tiered tray and accompanied by premium teas elegantly served in royal china. Kicking things up a notch for the holiday season are carollers and exquisite decorations. Champagne service is available, too. Other festive offerings at the Fairmont include s’mores and hot beverages on the veranda, Christmas cocktails in Q Bar, and more.

Gingerbread Showcase

No nibbling allowed as you peruse this year’s Gingerbread Showcase. Until Jan. 2, this holiday walking tour takes you through downtown Victoria to view sweet creations in The Parkside Hotel & Spa, The Chateau Victoria, The Marriott Inner Harbour and The Doubletree. Vote for your favourite, ponder this year’s theme of “The Future of Home,” and help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

Winter Wonderland


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At this time of year, capturing the ideal Instagram moment can clash with your desire to stay warm and dry and sheltered from the weather. Fortunately, Winter Wonderland is on until Dec. 29 at the Bay Centre. Strike a pose in this indoor forest and interactive holiday light tunnel — no boots or puffy jackets (or umbrellas!) required.

Festival of Trees


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This year marks the 30th anniversary of Festival of Trees Victoria. On until Jan. 4 at the Bay Centre, this heartwarming event features dozens of Christmas trees decorated by different businesses, organizations and individuals. Peruse them all, vote for your favourite, and help raise funds for mental health programs at BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Tinsel Tunnel


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Capture the perfect photo or video at Tinsel Tunnel in Langford. This enchanting passageway is filled with a treasure trove of bright lights and Christmas ornaments. The holiday magic continues until Jan. 1.

Christmas at Merridale Farm

Christmas at Merridale Farm overflows with seasonal spirits and good cheer. Open daily (except Christmas) until Jan. 3, this cidery and distillery features thousands of twinkling lights and holiday displays in the courtyard, along with festive meals, hot mulled cider and other seasonal treats. Kids and well-behaved pooches enjoy wandering through the orchard. And a bottle of cider or spirits from the shop makes a handy last-minute gift for someone on your “nice” list.

Holiday Magic at Malahat Skywalk


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No list of things to do in Victoria is complete without a mention of the Malahat Skywalk, Vancouver Island’s new lookout tower. Holiday Magic at Malahat Skywalk adds an extra touch of enchantment to an already spectacular attraction, where the views of Finlayson Arm, the Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker and the Coast Mountains are breathtaking at any time of year. Over the holidays, also enjoy Christmas cookies and hot chocolate by the firepit, as well as crafts in Santa’s workshop. The venue is even open on Christmas.

Sheri RadfordSheri Radford

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