If you’re spending your Christmas holidays travelling to Vancouver Island, why not check out some festive cheer? From parades to yuel fuel, there’s something for everyone.
1. Christmas at the Farm
If the words Yuel Fuel aren’t enough to get you out to this Christmas event, the description will: this seasonal mulled treat takes the base of the Merridale cider and marries it with vanilla, peach, cinnamon and nutmeg. It often sells out, and is just one of the reasons you should visit Merridale Ciderworks during the Christmas season. Expect bright lights, dining delights, and sips of tasty holiday beverages.
- Every Friday and Saturday evening from November 25 to December 23
2. The Season of Christmas at Butchart Gardens
With the backdrop of carolling harmonies, Butchart Gardens will celebrate the season amid the foliage. Take a stroll, ride the Rose Carousel, and pop into the gift shop for something unique. The lights turn on December 1, and they’ll be open until January 6. For the adventurous, the skating rink beckons!
3. The BC Forest Discovery Centre Christmas Train
Transformed into a merry mode of transport for the season, the BC Forest Discovery Centre’s train will zip through the soaring trees of the Cowichan Valley, ducking out to coast over lake waters, all under the light of the strings and glinting ornaments.
- Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for weekends in December, until Dec 17, and December 20-23. The train starts running at 4pm and closes at 9pm.
Plan your trip to the Season of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens.
4. Ladysmith Light Up & Festival of Lights
When the switch is flipped in this small Vancouver Island town, over 150,000 bulbs spark to life on lamp posts, over the crosswalks, on storefronts, around trees, and through the walkways of Ladysmith. The opening event alone draws tens of thousands to the sidewalks, to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while watching the parade and fireworks. There’s also a craft fair from 3pm-9pm for the Christmas shoppers.
You can expect to find Ladysmith lit up for six weeks following the opening on November 30.
Learn more about the light up in Ladysmith.
5. Cedar Yellow Point Artisans Country Christmas Tour
It’s on this central Island Christmas artisan tour that you can both shop for local gifts and explore the beauty of Cedar Yellow Point. The self-guided route weaves between everything from pottery studios to bee farms. Think cranberries, alpacas, looms, and herbs: in short, you can find all your gifts along this tour.
- Nov 24-26 from 10am to 5 pm, but many of the artisans have hours in December. Inquire with them directly for more information
6. Sidney By The Sea
This tiny coastal town on Vancouver Island lights up over the holidays to bring a myriad of events and festivities. On the weekends in December, you’ll find everything from carol singers to carriage tours. You can add a treasure hunt to your Christmas shopping by uncovering gingerbread houses hidden in local stores, and wander through the festival of trees at the Mary Winspear Centre.
Start finding the gingerbread houses and plan your holiday in Sidney.
7. The Big Truck Parade and Starlight Shopping
Where hefty trucks get a brilliant makeover into sparkling parade floats, adorned with strings of Christmas lights, the Big Truck Parade in Campbell River is a must see. It’s not just semi trucks either—snow plows, logging trucks, and tractors all send their Christmas best. The downtown businesses stay open for shoppers too!
- The parade starts at 5pm on December 1, 2017.
8. Tofino Winterlights at the Tofino Botanical Gardens
The dark greens of curling ferns take on a new light for Christmas, glowing from the bulbs of the merry season. The light casts stories of a West Coast Christmas and the gardens offer a stroll for visitors from December 1-31. The Tofino Botanical Gardens are open nightly, at 5:30pm.
Spend the holidays on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Learn more about winterlights.
9. Salt Spring Island
From the Ganges Village Light Up to a Christmas themed martini contest, Salt Spring Island has a long list of Christmas events for you to check twice. Santa flies in via float plane on December 2 and you can “get your glow on” that evening at the light up!