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Though the winter snow is noticeably light, that doesn’t stop Victoria from coming alive during the holiday season. The British Columbia capital is home to a number of charming holiday traditions that make the month of December one of the best times to visit. Victoria’s seasonal offerings allow visitors to take a stroll through enchanted gardens or be transported to a Victorian Christmas, among countless other festive activities. Here are a few must-see holiday traditions and events which are taking place in Victoria this month.
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Skating at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre
Though skating over frozen lakes is out of the question for ocean-front Victoria, the skating rink at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre is the next best thing. The indoor rink offers skate rentals and sharpening as well as lessons for beginners or those would would like a refresher on the winter sport. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date for two or a leisurely family day, spending a day on the rink is a refreshing winter activity that is fun for all.
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Festival of Trees (Until January 3rd)
The annual Festival of Trees celebration combines festive spirit with a good cause. Organized by the BC Children’s Hospital, this cherished tradition sees local sponsors decorate trees to be viewed in the festival. All of the proceeds from the event benefit the Excellence in Child Health Fund, which supports the hospital and its research institute.
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Butchart Gardens Magic of Christmas (December 1st – January 1st)
Just outside of Victoria are the beautiful Butchart Gardens, a group of floral displays that are collectively designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. From December 1st to January 1st, the Butchart Gardens hold their Magic of Christmas celebration. The festivities include twinkling lights, ice skating, carolling, and the Twelve Days of Christmas decorative display, which brings the classic Christmas tune to life.
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Christmas at the Castle (December 4th – 27th)
Take a trip through time at the Craigdarroch Castle, a Victorian mansion built in the late 1800s that is now a National Historic landmark. Each Christmas, the castle is home to a number of seasonal activities and events. In late December, the castle’s dance hall will host performances of Charles Dickens’ classic tale The Christmas Carol and the 1936 comedy Radio, Mistletoe and My Man Godfrey. Throughout the holiday season, the castle’s halls will ring with the sound of live festive music from local musicians, which range from Celtic bands to classic cellists.