What's New in Victoria.BC December 2010 news

Tourism Victoria’s Monthly Media Newsletter

Every year during the holiday season, Victoria, BC is lit up with festive décor and an almost magical ambience can be felt floating through the air. Tourism Victoria wants to assist visitors to get into the holiday spirit through the creation of “Christmas is HERE!” a one-stop shop for all things Christmas. The seasonally themed promotion available on www.tourismvictoria.ca/christmas provides a listing of discounted hotel rates being offered by various Victoria area hotels and historic inns.  Offering rates in one of three price categories, $69.00 CDN/USD, $99.00 CDN/USD and $129.00 CDN/USD participants include properties such as The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Inn at Laurel Point, Parkside Victoria, and Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort to name a few. The site will also provide an online listing of Christmas events happening in the Greater Victoria area. With the mildest climate in Canada, Victoria is a unique winter destination where the Christmas season arrives with fervor and is brought to life through the city’s contagious festive spirit! Throughout December, visitors can expect to see lights, music, and special events fill the streets and venues of British Columbia’s capital city. For more information visit www.tourismvictoria.ca/christmas.

Through January 3, 2011, the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel situated in Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour, welcomes visitors through its doors and into its hallways to witness their transformation into a beautiful lush forest. An annual fundraiser for BC Children’s Hospital, The Festival of Trees invites local businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor and decorate dozens of Christmas trees that deck the halls of the hotel over the holiday season. Now in its 19th year, the Festival has grown to feature 73 trees with locals and visitors alike encouraged to wander through, take in the sometime wacky, often irreverent, but always beautifully decorated trees, and cast a ballot for their favourite tree. Originally built in 1908, The Fairmont Empress rises regally over Victoria’s Inner Harbour and is not only a hotel, but has become a destination in her own right renowned for Afternoon Tea, fine dining in The Empress Room, the Bengal Lounge and the Willow Stream Spa. Throughout her history, The Fairmont Empress has played host to kings, queens and movie stars. With her turn-of-the-century style, The Fairmont Empress captures the grandeur and elegance of a bygone era, while her facilities and services meet the needs of today’s traveller. For more information visit www.fairmont.com/empress.

Through January 6, 2011 the Butchart Gardens launches its 24th season of The Magic of Christmas.  Amongst the tens of thousands of lights found twinkling throughout the lush garden paradise, visitors can take in the delights of the season through the various displays and activities available during the holiday season. Whether it be searching for each of the scenes depicting the Twelve Days of Christmas magnificently tucked away in the gardens, enjoying the live music and traditional caroling held nightly in the Piazza, or by donning a pair of skates and taking a spin on the popular outdoor skating rink, there is something for the young and the young at heart. For those with little ones in tow, don’t miss taking a ride on the Rose Carousel at The Butchart Gardens. Housed within the Children’s Pavilion, The Rose Carousel features thirty hand-carved, hand-painted animals, a menagerie of characters ranging from bears, to horses, to ostriches, to zebras. The carousel is the first of its kind on Vancouver Island. A National Historic Site of Canada, The Butchart Gardens began in 1904 with an effort to beautify a quarry, and today whether you are a horticulture enthusiast or someone who simply delights in the magic of the season, a visit to The Gardens during the holidays is a must do. The Butchart Gardens is open 365 days a year including Christmas day. Skate rentals are available and sessions begin on the hour, lasting 40 minutes. Reservations and group bookings are also available. For more information visit www.butchartgardens.com/christmas.

During the month of December 2010, visitors to Victoria, BC can explore the history of Christmas in British Columbia’s most haunted city with a Ghosts of Christmas Past Walking Tour. The 90-minute tour, offered Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7:30 pm, provide new insights into Victoria’s ghosts and legends by focusing on stories of the supernatural at Christmas. The legend of Christmas Hill, the ghosts of Helmcken Alley, Victoria’s first documented ghost sighting – Adelaide Griffin at Christmas in 1861 and the Christmas Eve assassination on the steps of the Roman Catholic cathedral in 1890 are included. The Ghosts of Christmas Past tours begin at the Tourism Victoria Visitor Centre in the Inner Harbour. Tickets are purchased from the guide before the tour and cost $13.00 CDN/USD for adults and $11.00 CDN/USD for seniors and students. Reservations are not required. Group bookings are also available. Discover the Past also offers additional walking tours throughout the holiday season including Christmas in Old Victoria, historic walks through Chinatown and Christmas tours by the Old Cemeteries Society. For more information visit www.discoverthepast.com.

Taking place every third Saturday of the month until March 2011, the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society and its vendors will be raising their tents to showcase local fare at the Winter Farmer’s Market Located in downtown Victoria’s Market Square, the winter market runs from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm and focuses on local food producers at every level – farmers, fishers, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, preservers, brewers, vintners, florists and restaurants. From Haliburton Farms and Kildara Farms to Saltspring Island Cheese Company to the Vancouver Island Salt Company there is something for every taste and something to tempt every tummy. The Victoria Downtown Public Market Society was formed in August 2010 to raise awareness, support and funds for the establishment of a permanent year-round marketplace in the downtown core of the City of Victoria, BC. For more information visit www.victoriapublicmarket.com

From the creators of Victoria, BC’s own Smoking Lily comes The Milkman’s Daughter, a charming shop which sits on the north end Government Street perched in between Chinatown and the Design District. The new store, whose name is an ode to the owner’s father who was a milkman, is the biggest in the Smoking Lily family at 450 sq ft. and features clothing for men, women, and kids, as well as accessories and housewares. The creations are all uniquely local, sewn and silk-screened in-house with their signature flair making them a perfect memento to take home. Smoking Lily opened their first shop in Victoria, BC in 1996. The store space was created in the front section of a lobby, in a 120 year old heritage building, when the owners decide to put in an elevator. This space, a beautiful 4ft by 11ft space behind an arched window is now their flagship shop. For more information visit www.smokinglily.com.


Cook Culture is the capital city’s newest cook shop and cooking school. Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, BC, in the new Atrium building, Cook Culture aims to promote healthy cooking from scratch by sharing their passion for all things fresh, local and seasonal along with stocking innovative products on their store shelves. The cooking school offers three types of instructional classes for newbies to rub shoulders with veteran chefs from around North America; a 3 hour “hands on” class, a 1 hour quick demonstration class or a demonstration style class which allows for guests to just sit back and relax. Upcoming classes include Winter Vegetables – Hands on with Chef Mara Jernigan on December 13, 2010, Cocktail 101 with Chef Genevieve LaPlante and Spinnakers’s Spirit Merchant on December 14, 2010, and Meet the Chef, Patrick Lynch of Foo – Asian Street Food on January 17, 2011. Classes start at $45.00 CDN/USD and can accommodate a maximum of 12 people.  For more information visit www.cookculture.com

From January 16 to 23, 2011, the BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships will take place in Victoria, BC. The event, to be held at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre located in downtown Victoria, will see approximately 260 skaters in the women’s, men’s, pair, and ice dance disciplines competing at the senior, junior, and novice levels at the BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships and the BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals. Athletes will be vying for spots on the Canadian National Team that will compete at the world level in 2011. Visitors to Victoria can also expect to see the 2010 Olympic and World Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, as well as two-time Canadian Champion and 2010 World silver medalist Patrick Chan, take to the ice to defend their titles. All-event general admission ticket packages for the Junior National cost $30.00 CDN/USD plus applicable surcharges while single tickets for the senior level are $30.00 CDN/USD. All event ticket packages and Family 4-packs which include 4 single event tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 small soft drinks are also available. Packages for the senior level start at $150.00 CDN/ $149.00 USD, plus applicable surcharges. Both packages are now on sale at www.selectyourtickets.com. For more information visit www.skatecanada.ca.

Beginning in December 2010 and running through December 2012 Pacific Coach introduces the Pacific Northwest Connector, a service which will assist passengers in linking between Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. Available year round, the connector service offers one flat price for travel on the Victoria Clipper (Seattle – Victoria); Cantrail Coach (Vancouver – Seattle) and Pacific Coach (Victoria – Vancouver). Travel segments can be taken in whatever order one so chooses, starting or ending in Seattle, Victoria or Vancouver. The key is to travel in one direction as the price allows for travel segments in one direction only with no return on each carrier. Tickets purchased for the connector are valid for one year from the date of the first ticket segment issuance and are non-transferable. The cost for the Pacific Northwest Connector is $163.00 CDN/ $162.00 USD inclusive of fare aboard BC Ferries for Pacific Coach (Victoria-Vancouver) crossing. For more information visit www.pacificcoach.com.

From February 11 to 12, 2011 the streets of Victoria will come alive as British Columbia’s capital city plays host to sixty street hockey teams from across Canada all vying for national supremacy in CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Presents Play on! National Championship. The 4 on 4 street hockey championship tournament, played in conjunction with the tenth annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada celebration, will see teams take to the pavement on Belleville Street in Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour for the chance to hoist the Redwood Cup. Each of the sixty teams participating in the championships qualified through one of the fifteen Play on! events held this past summer in a number of Canadian communities. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Presents Play On! features both men’s and women’s recreational and competitive street hockey tournament divisions from all skill levels and all ages. More than 520,000 Canadians have ‘taken back the streets’ from coast to coast through involvement in one of the fifty Play On! events since the program’s inception in 2003. Past events have seen the participation from many of the current NHL, AHL, CHL and CIS players. The two-day event is free to spectators with seating available on a first come first serve basis. For more information visit www.playon.ca.



Winter 2010



please contact:


Cathy Ray

Manager, Travel Media Relations

(United States)

Phone: 250-414-6985



Holly Lenk

Manager, Travel Media Relations

(Canada & Overseas)

Phone: 250-414-6974

holly.lenk@tourismvictoria .com  

Lisa Pilling

Coordinator, Travel Media Relations

Phone: 250-414-7390


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Willie’s Bakery & Cafe



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