Happenings- Calendar of Events
Victoria, British Columbia has been designated 'Best City in the Americas' by the readers of prestigious Conde Nast Traveler Magazine a number of times. Vancouver Island has also been selected as 'Best Island Destination in North America' by the same readers. This is a region where there is a constant hum of stimulating cultural, sporting and recreational events. Check our list of 'Happenings' to see if we can help you make a visit to our island community as thrilling and memorable as possible.
We aim to provide a reasonable list of major events on this page. For a more detailed list you can also see Tourism Victoria's list of Current Events.
John Lennon's 1965 Phantom V Rolls Royce is back up on display in the foyer of our illustrious Royal BC Provincial Museum a few blocks from Dashwood Manor. Come and stay. Winter is a great time to visit Victoria to see the museum and other fine attractions - besides, our snowdrops are blooming right now and daffodils are starting to form buds!
Victoria Film Festival. Victoria's biggest and longest running film festival. Tickets priced from under $10. Phone for details 250 389 0444.
Check our local playhouses and event centres for theatre, music, dance and art exhibitions. Royal Theatre and McPherson Theatre Belfry Theatre Save on Foods Arena Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Chinese New Year Celebrations with Victoria's vibrant Chinese community and our exceptional Chinatown in the heart of downtown. Sample teas and tasty delicacies, browse through exhibits of local merchandise related to the gentle art of relaxing with a cup of your favourite brew. Victoria's Tea Festival.
Dine Around Victoria Over 50 participating restaurants offer great deals on three course dinners. The special menus are $20, $30 and $40 per person. Stay at Victoria’s heritage bed and breakfast, Dashwood Manor, and let us help you sort out the fantastic from the reasonable, and let us help you with reservations.
Would you like to be a Victorian? Yes, you can each year in March as you join the locals for Be a Tourist in Your Own Home Town. There are almost 60 attractions to choose from. A $10 ticket gives you $500 in value for Victoria’s services and attractions.
Annual TC 10K Run Walk. Canada's second largest 10km race passes Dashwood Manor's dining room each year just around breakfast time. Join in the excitement as thousands of runners and walkers race along the scenic seafront of Dallas Road. 2010 event is the 21st annual race and it takes place April 25th. See TC 10K Run for more details.
Whale Watching Season Begins! Early May through September, Visit the world of our orcas, the Killer Whales, with a three or more hour trip aboard one of the many whale watching operators in Victoria. Learn from trained and experienced naturalists about this dramatic and exciting animal while you have a great time exploring Victoria's waterfront aboard safe and comfortable vessels. Ask us to book a tour for you.
Swiftsure International Yacht Race The 67th Swiftsure International Yacht Race of 2010 includes a return of some of the classic racing yachts from the 1950s and 60s and many land-based activities for the whole family around Victoria's Inner Harbour. The Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which takes place on the third weekend each May, is one of North America’s most challenging overnight offshore competitions. The Juan de Fuca Strait’s daunting combination of occasional fog, unpredictable winds, strong tides and tricky currents tests seamanship, strategy, stamina, tactics, and teamwork. http://www.swiftsure.org
Annual Highland Games and Celtic Festival. May 2009 celebrated the 72nd annual games with two exciting days of events featuring a wide range of Scottish and Celtic.
The Victoria Mother's Day Garden Tour This benefit for the Victoria Conservatory of Music has become a Mother's Day weekend tradition. The two-day self-guided tour takes participants through ten of Victoria's most beautiful private gardens.
Annual Mother's Day Paint-In and Craft Fair This free family event showcases over 100 of Vancouver Island's finest artisans and crafters. The Paint-In is set in a breathtaking outdoor setting at the magnificent Hatley Castle and its surrounding gardens.
Butchart Gardens Night Lighting Displays Enjoy the stunning illuminations at Butchart Gardens each evening from mid-June to mid-September. This is a special and unique experience, a favourite time for many folks who love this amazing garden.
Oak Bay Tea Party This is an annual event staged along the lovely Willows Beach, a ten minute drive from Dashwood. Parade, childrens' midway, air show and lots of food and entertainment.
Victoria's International JazzFest Great annual event taking place in a variety of venues around Victoria. Enjoy 10 days and nights of the coolest music in town. The biggest summertime music festival on Vancouver Island, Jazzfest promises jazz, blues, gospel, and world beat music of the highest calibre. More than 250 musicians in more than 60 performances entertain at venues around the city. See Jazz Victoria for details.
Victoria Pride July 1st to 7th 2013
Victoria Pride Society's mission is based on empowerment. We empower those
who are - or think they might be - gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender,
two-spirited, intersex, friends and allies.
Victoria Pride fosters learning
and empowerment through social celebration and networking. We strive to create a
better public understanding of our community’s history, courage, diversity and
We're ready to make Pride 2013 the best yet! Mark your calendars, Pride 2013 is
July 1 - July 7! Parade and festival will be held on Sunday, July 7. Pride
Parade starts at 12 noon at Government and Pandora, and the Festival open
immediately after at MacDonald Park in James Bay. See you there!
Moss Street Paint-In The 23rd annual Moss Street Paint-In happens July 17, 2010. Over 100 artists gather to exhibit their work and demonstrate their techniques outdoors along the scenic, tree-lined Moss Street. Meander along with the expected crowd of up to 20 000 from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to Dallas Road. http://www.aggv.bc.ca
Sooke Fine Arts Show July 25 - August 3, 2009 Sooke Arena at 2168 Phillips Road. This exhibit features the work of more than 200 artists of the region. Watercolor, acrylics, installations, sculpture, photography, traditional and modern abstract and realistic.
Stinking Fish Studio Tour The 10th annual Metchosin and East Sooke artisan tour happens July 24, 2010 - August 2nd. Explore this idyllic rural community within easy reach of Dashwood Manor and discover some great artisans and beautiful pieces. www.stinkingfishstudiotour.com
Butchart Gardens Fireworks Displays July – September, Butchart Gardens. Outstanding, highly-acclaimed fireworks in Butchart Gardens' magnificent setting every Saturday night over the summer months. Lavish shows dazzle visitors with their unique blend of spectacle and music. Bring warm clothing and a cover to sit on the ground.
Symphony Splash July 31, 2011. Downtown Victoria's Inner Harbour The highlight of the August long weekend is Symphony Splash. Victoria's Inner Harbour is transformed to a concert venue of gargantuan proportions. The orchestra and guest performers are set up on a barge directly in front of the Parliament Buildings. Powerful speakers carry the sound to the thousands who ring the harbour to listen. The concert traditionally closes with The 1812 Overture, complete with guns and the carillon. This free event is not to be missed.
Annual Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, Downtown Victoria's Inner Harbour The dragons return to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Teams from across North America will race across a 500-metre Laurel Point to the Royal London Wax Museum. This is the only dragon boat festival in Canada to take place in a working harbour. Be sure to witness the Taoist priests “awaken the spirit of the dragon” in an ancient and colourful rite that blesses the dragon boats on Friday afternoon. The races begin early the next morning and finish with the fastest competitors fighting for supremacy on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the thrilling races, spectators can enjoy a variety of live performances on two entertainment stages, participate in fun Asian crafts in the Kids’ Tent, or savour tantalizing dishes in the Forbidden City’s food court.
Victoria's Fringe Theatre Festival
Various locations around Victoria near the end of August. Independently produced alternative theatre from around the world; of the oldest annual Fringes in Canada. Several downtown locations, all within walking distance. See the website or phone: 250 704 2500 for more information.
Saanich Fall Fair, Saanich Fairgrounds. Western Canada's oldest continuous agricultural fair, with a midway, livestock and produce competitions.
Old English Car Show at Fort Rodd September 13, 2009. Members of the Old English Car Club of British Columbia present over a hundred vintage British vehicles on the grounds of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
The Inner Harbour of Downtown Victoria's Annual Classic Boat Festival Up to 100 classic and power boats from throughout the Pacific Coast and beyond. Includes parade up Gorge Waterway, Schooner Cup, Classic Open Sail races, and sailpast.
Royal Victoria Marathon Downtown streets and waterfront areas. Race length is just over 42 kilometres along the Victoria waterfront, through James Bay neighbourhoods, onto Dallas Road, past Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, Ross Bay Cemetery and Hollywood Crescent area.
Haunted Horse Drawn Trolley Tours Take a ride back in time with Victoria Carriage Tours. Meander the dark streets of the James Bay district and hear the spooky stories of this most haunted neighbourhood on the west coast. Enjoy a 50 minute, fully narrated tour, with stories and anecdotes from local historian and ghost guru, John Adams, whose detailed research helps bring the true life of early Victoria residents to life. Informative, fun … spooky!
Tours run from October 22 to 30th each hour from 6pm through 9pm. We can reserve ahead for you. Just email to let us know which day, which hour and how many guests! Cost: $15 per person. (Seniors $11)
Recharge your holiday spirit in Victoria, B.C.
In Victoria, Christmas comes to life in the warm glow of festive décor found everywhere from the stately illuminated Legislative Buildings to horse-drawn carriages decked out for the Christmas season.
Our cobblestone streets are filled with friendly locals and historic architecture that shines with pride and tells the tale of a time when the holidays were enjoyed at slower pace and giving was less commercial - a way of life that still exists in Victoria today.
You can relax completely in Victoria over the holiday season, but that doesn't mean there aren't a ton of things to do. We have a plethora of holiday experiences to choose from. Please check back here on November 12 to learn more about Christmas in Victoria, download special offers and book your holiday escape!
Annual Out of Hand Christmas Craft Fair Over 150 professional craftspeople from across Canada. Victoria Conference Centre.
Butchart Gardens, The Twelve Days of Christmas December 1 – the first couple of days in January. Spectacular lighting and decorations make the gardens a magical and wondrous place. Strolling carollers, a festive brass band and children’s entertainment add fun and creative interest to a visit. Bring your skates and enjoy few turns on the outdoor ice rink created each December for an unusual and special treat.
A Touch of Saltspring, Christmas Craft Fair Artisans from Saltspring Island and other Gulf islands show and sell handmade crafts. Candles, stained glass, wooden bowls, chocolates and wonderful preserves, gourmet sausage and cheeses, clothing and wooden toys and more! There’s something for every age and every taste. Located at the Panorama Leisure Centre near Victoria International Airport. Call 250-655-6351.
Christmas at Craigdarroch Castle Beautifully decorated for the festive season. Visit and enjoy seasonal music, theatre and storytelling, including a formal Curator’s Dinner on December 10th, Sweet Night Music on December 17th and Hogmanay, a Scottish New Year’s Celebration on December 31st. Call for details 250-592-5323.
Inner Harbour Promenade Dickens’ theme with costumed buskers, carollers creating an old-time Christmas walk!
Lighted Ship Parade Magical parade through Victoria’s fabulous Inner Harbour.
Annual Navy Ships’ Lighting Contest See our hearty mariners’ festive work with the ships and buildings of CFB Esquimalt.
Handel’s Messiah Victoria Symphony at the Royal Theatre.