8 Must-Do Winter Activities

On the evening of November 2nd the heavy rain became slushy snow and November 3rd greeted us with white rooftops and wet sidewalks all around. I guess winter is stopping by early this year.

With the cold weather coming at us sooner than expected lots of students are falling into the winter blues early. The wind, rain, and snow keep us huddled inside. Many of us choose to Netflix and chill (literally, I’m freezing right now) rather than heading outside to make the most of our reading break and our weekends.

Well, I’m here to tell you to invest in a warm winter coat and some decent rain boots so that you can enjoy these 8 must-do winter activities!

1. Midnight Ice Skating

Midnight Ice Skating
All year round
Oak Bay Recreation Centre
Cost: $5 (Admission + Skate Rental)

Even though the Oak Bay Rec Centre offers skating all year round, the beginning of winter really seems like the perfect time to get on the ice.

Bundle up and get skating on Thursday nights for their weekly midnight skate! Don’t forget to bring quarters for the vending machine hot chocolate.


2. Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees
November 15th – January 2nd
At The Bay Centre
Cost: $0 (Donations encouraged!)

The time has come for the Bay Centre to suddenly become full of holiday spirit.

Beautiful pine trees will be around every corner and it’s the perfect opportunity to wander around the mall and get inspired to decorate your own tree.

Every year the Bay Centre holds the Festival of Trees to support the BC Children’s Hospital so don’t forget to bring a donation to vote for your favourite!


3. German Christmas Market

“Weihnachtsmarkt” Annual Christmas Market
Saturday, November 25 from 10AM – 2PM
At 108 Niagara St.
Cost: $0

The Edelweiss Club is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the German language and culture here in Victoria. The club holds a variety of events including their annual German Christmas Market!

The market will be full of Christmas wreaths, traditional German delis, lots of baked goods and a variety of vendors.


4. Santa Parade

Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade
Saturday, November 25th @ 4:45PM
In The Inner Harbour
Cost: $0

Santa’s Light Parade kicks off the Christmas season with some truly magical fun. The parade features loads of floats, bands, and entertainment!

Island Farms will also be providing refreshments at Centennial Square after the parade! The free entry will hopefully encourage you to be in the giving spirit so don’t forget to bring donations for the Mustard Seed Food Bank!


5. Craigdarroch Castle

Christmas At Craigdarroch Castle
December 1st – December 31st
At Craigdarroch Castle
Cost: $9.25 (with student ID)

This legendary castle is a staple for tourists in Victoria, but locals also go to appreciate the massive mansion. It’s a breathtaking site in general and starting December 1st Craigdarroch Castle will be blooming with holiday spirit.

The castle will be covered in traditional decorations and Christmas trees will be put up throughout. Just imagine the castle during these colder months; the rooftops covered in snow and the halls brimming with decorations.

Additionally, if you are a Greater Victoria Public Library cardholder you can borrow a Craigdarroch Castle e-pass which gives you free general admission to the historical site!


6. Outdoor Skating

Outdoor Ice Pond
December 1st – January 2nd from 3PM – 430PM
At The Eagle Ridge Community Centre
Cost: $6.40 (Admission + Skate Rental)

More skating? Yes, more skating!

On Sundays beginning on December 1st the Eagle Ridge Community Centre opens up a small outdoor ice pond that connects to the indoor rink for a weekly public skate.

After a chilly skate you can grab a coffee, hot chocolate, or mocha inside. With a bowling alley right next door you can make the short trip to Langford for the perfect winter date or group outing!


7. Christmas at the Market

Christmas At The Market
November 25th – December 24th
At Victoria Public Market
Cost: $0

Starting November 25th Christmas arrives at the Victoria Public Market.

On December 2nd, 9th, and 16th Santa will be visiting and a free gingerbread decorating station will also be available. The market will be festively decorated, and local artisans will be selling their goods.

On top of all that, on November 29th there will be a free screening of the season’s classic “The Holiday” with bags of popcorn being sold for $2! What else could you want?


8. Christmas at Butchart Gardens

The Magic of Christmas
December 1st – January 6th

At Butchart Gardens
Cost $27

This is the pricier one of the bunch but it’s definitely a classic during the holiday season.

Starting December 1st hundreds of thousands of lights sparkle throughout the gardens, the ice rink opens up, and carollers perform in the evening. The Christmas spirit really comes to life in the gardens and the cold almost seems worth it.


Honestly, winter is my least favourite season of the year but I’ve gotta say I’m really looking forward to it because there is a whole lot of stuff I want to cross off my list.

The city will be bustling with holiday spirit and full of pop-up markets, parades, and seasonal specials so I hope you also look forward to weathering the cold to enjoy the festivities.

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