This is my second article on Christmas lights in Victoria, as I did one last year after a radio chat on Shirley Broback’s CFAX 1070 show. On the show we were discussing Christmas events in Victoria and got on the discussion of Christmas lights, and I vowed to take my children in our baby-mobile (mini van) and do some primary market research leading up to a blog post.
The blog post was very well received, and now, with some time for retrospection and experience under my belt, I’m doing an update to help guide parents on where to take their wee ones, and adding some advice, too. Although there are dozens of great Christmas events in Victoria, checking out Victoria’s Christmas lights remains one of my family’s favourite activities of the season.
First, Some Helpful Tips
To start your Victoria Christmas lights tour, it’s best to take children right after dinner, or build dinner into the trip.
For me, I like to break up the trip a bit, and so hit up some good lights, do a dinner break, and then hit up some more lights. Also, if the kidlets are quite young, a good tip I heard from a ChatterBlock mom was to take the kids out in their pajamas, though this might be best after dinner at home, first.
Also, its good to have destinations in mind before leaving the house — I learned this the hard way. There are streets where most of the neighbours get together and put on a truly spectacular display of lights. These are the destinations. I highlight three of these areas below.
But, another idea, when your travelling between Christmas Lights destination areas, maybe drive down some side streets, and see some random, nice Christmas lights too.
The Top Areas for Self-Touring Victoria Christmas Lights
1200 Block of Alan Road (off Wilkinson) – this is pretty much a must see. It can be busy, though, so drive slow and watch out for children walking the street.
Ponderosa Crescent (off Wilkinson) - Just down the road from Alan Rd (mentioned above). Sounds like a little competition between the two!
8021 Block of Galbraith Crescent (Saanich Peninsula) – if you’re not familiar with this street, make sure you have good map directions ahead of time.
1100 – 1200 Block, Marin Park Close (near Butchart Gardens) – maybe take a trip to both Galbraith and Marin Park Close, as they are both near(ish) each other?
2820 Grosvenor Road (Hillside) - a very impressive house, the lights dance to music!
4091 Tuxedo Drive (Saanich) - hundreds of decorations, including a 25 foot tall nutcracker, colourful light displays, and more. It's no wonder this house attracts around 20,000 people each Christmas season!
4000 Century Road (Saanich) - a bit different than your regular light display, this one is indoors! Don Moore has turned his basement into "Christmasland". Tours are Dec. 13 and 20 from 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; and Dec. 14 and 21 from 1-4 p.m. Donations to Times Colonist Christmas Fund and Mustard Seed Food Bank.
If you are in the Westshore area, David Dronsfield at 2622 Peatt Road usually puts on the best figurines display.
Capiltal Iron (Downtown) - puts on a great light display worth checking out!
Light Up Festivals & Attractions
Butchart Gardens – very worth seeing the 12 days of Christmas through the gardens, and while you're there take the kids on a ride on the carousel, or skate in the outdoor rink. A long-standing tradition for many Victoria families! Check their website for special events and activities happening throughout the season.
Heritage Acres – they do a good Christmas display, and I believe Santa might visit too! Ride the train and enjoy some wonderful holiday entertainment.
Cross-Canada Light Up - When the parliament lights up, it will be at the same time across all of Canada! The provincial Christmas tree on the front lawn will be illuminated with thousands of lights, followed by hot cocoa and seasonal treats for everyone. Join special guests and children's choirs, to add to the amazing atmosphere. Nov 26th at 7pm at the Parliament Buildings.
Centennial Square Tree Light Up - Turning into a Victoria holiday tradition, the Centennial Square tree light up will have musical performances, free treats, toonie rides on the Ferris Wheel, and of course thousands of lights switched on at 5pm! Bring the whole family- rain or shine, on Saturday November 29th 4pm-5:30pm.
Santa's Light Parade - Enjoy the array of dazzling floats and marching bands along the magically lit Government Street, from Victoria's Inner Harbour to Chatham Street. Tip- meet up in the Capital Iron parking lot for free treats from Island Farms! Nov 29th.
Christmas Festival Light Up in Oak Bay - On the last Sunday in November and will be at precisely 5 pm! The thousands of lights that have been hung on the buildings, lampposts, and trees will light up, and Christmas will officially be right around the corner. Fun family activities will be happening throughout the day, starting at 2pm. The festivities are all along Oak Bay Avenue.
IEOA Truck Light Convoy - A family favourite for the Holidays. A truck convoy of completely decorated and lit big trucks will parade through the city. The parade starts at 5:45 from Ogden Point, winds along Dallas Rd and through Oak Bay, downtown Victoria, and ends at 8:15 at Western Speedway. Dec 6th.
Lighted Ship Parade - Immediately following the Truck Parade, head to the Inner Harbour (approximately 6:30pm) for the brightly lit boats to pass by surrounded by the backdrop of the Harbour Lights. Overall, this night will be a magical Christmas show for all ages!
Colwood Christmas Light Up - Enjoy free food, treats and hot chocolate provided by some of our valued local shops and eateries, while listening to the amazing musical performances by local groups. There will be fun craft activities for kids, led by volunteers from West Shore Parks and Recreation to keep them busy while they eagerly await Santa’s arrival by fire truck! Wednesday December 3rd from 6pm-7:30pm at Colwood City Hall.
Celebration of Lights - Includes a parade, light up, entertainment, visit from Santa and refreshments. The best night of the year in Esquimalt! The parade is always popular with kids of all ages, and has proven to be a fun way to kick off this fantastic celebration. Sunday December 7th, 6pm-8pm at Esquimalt Plaza.
Play good old fashion Christmas music on the trip. Get excited about the lights, and the kids will generally get excited too. Drive safe, its dark, maybe wet, and don’t get too stressed about having the kids home on time. Happy light hunting!
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Thanks for posting directions. If you are adding more locations please include 4402 Leney Place (Royal Oak), Winner of the 2011 Novice Entry in the Christmas Lighting Contest. Since that time, all new handmade scenes to complete Santa's Southern Workshop. For photos and story go to: http://www.mcneillifestories.com/santa-claus-ru...