AUTUMN IN VICTORIA
The leaves are falling in Victoria and the days, although still sunny, have cooled. But we have to remember that we live on an island and that means wind! The wind can cut right through all the sun and warmth, so remember to wear a warm coat ? and don?t expect your hairdo to remain intact! Then go out and enjoy all the great things to do at this time of year.
I think that Victoria in the fall and winter is all about walks in the park and nice coffee shops. Shopping is always great this time of year, as well. And just looking at all the gorgeous holiday lights is a nice way to pass the time. But if you?re looking for something more organized, here are some of the events you can take in between now and Christmas.
VICTORIAN ?DICKENS? CHRISTMAS
The Inner Harbour Walkway will be transformed into the Victorian Era! There will be town criers, strolling minstrels, Dickens characters, Victorian carolers and musical ensembles presenting traditional Christmas music. There will be costumed vendors selling mulled cider, old-style pretzels, sweets and other refreshments. In keeping with the theme, purchases will be made with ?vintage Victorian coins? in the form of tokens purchased on site and then redeemed for refreshments at the participating vendors. The Victorian coin will also become a souvenir of the festival.
Where: Victoria Inner Harbour Walkway
When: December 9 – 12, 2004
December 9 & 10: 4 p.m ? 8 p.m.
December 10: Lighted Ship Parade in the evening
December 11: 2 p.m. ? 8 p.m.
December 12: 2 p.m. ? 6 p.m.
FESTIVAL OF TREES
This is a wonderful annual event at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. About 60 Christmas trees are decorated by different Victoria businesses. For a $2 donation, you can cast your vote for your favourite tree. Looking at this array of Christmas trees decorated in unique and creative ways is a great way to get into the holiday spirit! And best of all ? all the money goes to the BC Children?s Hospital.
Where: Fairmont Empress Hotel
When: Nov 16, ?04 ? Jan 5, ?05
CHRISTMAS IN OLD VICTORIA WALKING TOURS
Take a walk through historical Victoria! Start at the Visitor Info Centre in downtown Victoria and proceed at a leisurely pace through Old Town to Bastion Square. Your guide will entertain you with 12 fascinating true accounts about Christmas in old Victoria, told in the warmth of shops and other businesses close to where the actual stories took place. The walking distance between each stop is short, but participants are advised to be prepared for cool or damp weather because the tours will take place rain or shine. The tours end close to Bastion Square?s restaurants and pubs, so you might want to plan on topping off the experience with lunch or dinner.
Where: Begins at Visitor Info Centre in downtown Victoria
When: December 4, 11 and 18, 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
For information or to book for a tour, call: 250-384-6698.
CREATIVE CRAFT FAIRS
What Christmas would be complete without a big craft fair? This is the biggest craft fair ever ? more than 150 juried craftspeople selling their arts and crafts for four whole days! This event has attracted up to 12,000 people in past years. Applicants are selected on the basis of excellence of work, originality of design, marketability, and overall aesthetics, so you know it?s going to be good.
Where: Pearkes Recreation Centre
When: November 11 ? 14, 2004
ICE AND SAND CARVINGS
Teams of sculptors turn blocks of ice and piles of sand into works of art! The sculptures are illuminated at night.
Where: Conference Centre
When: December 10 ? 22, 2004
(How do they keep these beautiful sculptures for such a length of time?!)
CHRISTMAS AT BUTCHART GARDENS
Butchart Gardens is magnificent enough in the summer ?wait until you see it in the winter! The annual Christmas celebration has tens of thousands of lights, along with carolers, children?s entertainers, the Festive Brass Band, and fabulous food.
Where: Butchart Gardens
When: December 1, 2004 ? January 6, 2005
I wish everyone a very happy holiday season and hope you spend some of it in Victoria!