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Five Free Things to do in Victoria B.C.

Discover a few of the best free things to do in Victoria B.C. in November, December, and January. All activities below are within walking distance of The Fairmont Empress Hotel.

1. The Annual Gingerbread Showcase
Dates: Mid-November – January 2nd.
Location: The Parkside Hotel and Spa (810 Humboldt Street). 
Entry Fee: Free. Organized by Habitat for Humanity. Donations welcomed. 

Gingerbread Showcase

All of the gingerbread creations at the 9th annual showcase were made by Chef’s, and this year’s theme was “Celebrating Canada.”

Below are a few of my favorites;

Christmas is for the Birds

“Christmas is for the Birds,” by Claire Shain. Each Canadian province or territory is represented by a bird native of that area.

Growing up Canadian

“Growing up Canadian,” by Jesika Edison.

Not My Way

“Not My Way or Your Way – Our Way,” by the Adventurers: Irma Rodenhuis & Dibya Shrestha. Both chefs are new Canadians and wanted to reflect the virtues and historical legacy (both good and bad) of the country.

Christmas at the Cabin

“Christmas at the Cabin,” by Michelle Thut. Celebrating the Canadian outdoors.

Canadian Eh

“Canadia…eh?” by Selena Bolton. Canadian Stereotypes.

Happy to be Here

“Happy to be Here,” by Sarah Fraser & Susan Brewster. Showing all the Canada has to offer.

Beautiful Victoria

“Beautiful Victoria,” by Tanya Martin & Brooklyn Forrester. A highlight of all that Victoria B.C. has to offer.

Plan to spend 30 minutes at the Annual Gingerbread Showcase.

2. The Annual Festival of Trees
Dates:  Mid-November – January 2nd.
Location: The Bay Centre Mall (1150 Douglas St). 
Entry Fee: Free. Organized by the BC Children’s Hospital. Donations welcomed.

Festival of Trees

The 26th annual Festival of trees takes up two floors with 83 trees decorated by businesses from the community.

Below are some of my favorite trees;

Coast Capital

Decorated by Coast Capital Savings

Ocean 98.5

Decorated by Ocean 98.5

AGT Electric

Decorated by AGT Electric

Bay Centre

Decorated by Bay Centre


Decorated by Innov8


Decorated by The Wellesley

Plan to spend 30-40 minutes at the Festival of Trees.

3. David Foster Harbour Pathway
The Harbour Pathway offers great views along the water. Still under development, in the end, it is expected to be more than 5km.

Harbour Pathway

Along the path you will be able to see lovely scenic views, float planes landing in the harbor, ducks, totem poles, restaurants and more.

Harbour Pathway Victoria

Harbour Pathway Victoria

Harbour pathway Victoria

You can walk from the downtown area all the way to Ogden Point. Walking the entire pathway can take up to 2.5 hours. For a shorter (20 min) walk stick to the Fisherman’s Wharf area.

Make sure you bring your hat and gloves because it will be chilly, especially if it’s a windy day.

4. Get a Nanaimo bar at Oh Gelato
Dates: Open year-round. 9 AM – 5 PM
Location: 1013 Government St
Cost: Around CAD 5 per person (sorry, this one isn’t free)

Oh Gelato

It might seem a little odd to get ice cream in the winter, but it’s worth it. Oh Gelato has over 60 flavors of gelato with flavors like lemon death, exotica, peach champagne. Nanaimo bar, and forest fruits.


A must try are their Nanaimo Bars, named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. These Canadian desserts require no baking. Made with graham cracker, custard, coconut and dip in chocolate. We tried the original. It was AMAZING.


Nanaimo Bar

They also have Lindt chocolate dipped cheesecakes, and Swiss chocolate dipped pumpkin pies.


Lindt chocolate dipped cheesecakes

Pumpkie Pie

Swiss chocolate dipped pumpkin pies

Plan to spend 10-15 minutes here. Depending on how many flavors you want to sample!

5. Take pictures!
A visit to Victoria is not complete without taking pictures in front of the Parliament building and the Fairmont Empress hotel.

The Parliament Buildings on Belleville Street are beautiful day and/or night. At night during the winter all the building are outlined with Christmas lights. It’s incredibly beautiful. In fact, the entire downtown area is lit up with Christmas lights. It makes it feel like a fairytale city!

Victoria British Colombia

Victoria Parliament Buildings

Parliament at Night

Parliament at Night

Plan to spend about 15 minutes walking the grounds.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel on 721 Government Street is a famous luxury hotel on the Inner Harbour in Victoria. It’s a great place to take some photos inside and out.


If you feel like splurging make a reservation to have Tea at the Empress. It’s worth walking through, even if you aren’t having tea, shopping, or visiting the bar. 

During our last visit, they had a great gingerbread display of Whoville.



Plan to spend 15-20 minutes here walking the grounds (inside and out).

There are many other excellent things to do in Victoria. Other recommended (but not free) activities include The Victoria Butterfly Garden, The Victoria Bug Zoo, The Royal BC Museum, and Butchart Gardens just to name a few! Have fun on your visit to Victoria!

This post first appeared on VoyageFusion, please read the originial post: here

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Five Free Things to do in Victoria B.C.


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