With only a few short weeks until the big day, I thought I would round up all the Mid-Vancouver Island Christmas activities and events happening around town. And at the bottom of the article, make sure to check out the map of the best Christmas light displays!
Oceanside Christmas Activities
Milner Christmas Magic
For a family oriented festival of lights and music, head to Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach. Wander around the lighted trails and gardens and enjoy the Teddy Bear’s cottage, Santa’s Den, and Gingerbread House display. At the Milner House you can also enjoy storytelling, a Christmas giftshop, local musicians, and of course their tearoom.
When: December 16 – 21, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
Location: 2179 West Island Hwy, Qualicum Beach.
Cost: Entry is by donation, with a minimum suggestion of $5.00 per adult and $2.50 per child.
Winter Wonderland Skate
The Regional District elves have been busy transforming Oceanside Place Arena into a Winter Wonderland. Enjoy special lighting and décor, along with a touch of holiday magic, that makes you feel as though you’re skating on an outdoor pond under the light of the stars. Join them for a variety of public skate sessions.
When: Join them for a variety of public skate sessions from December 13 to 31.
There are a few Winter Wonderland Sponsored Skates (which means free admission)
- Saturday, December 17 from 12:45-3:15 pm
Toy Drive and FREE Everyone Welcome Skate
Sponsored by Todd Sjogren, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Tony MacAulay, Notary Public, Anthony Macaulay Notary Corp
- Sunday, December 18 from 12:15-1:45 pm
FREE Family Skate
Sponsored by Parksville Lions & Save On Foods
- Saturday, December 24 from 1:00-3:00 pm
FREE Everyone Welcome Skate
Sponsored by Tim Horton’s
Location: 830 Island Hwy, Parksville
Last Minute Shopper’s Craft Fair
Over 22 vendors have come together to help you match up gifts for those on your Christmas list. While you are there, do a little shopping from the food vendors for your holiday dinner. And if you get hungry while you shop, Chef Stu will be on site with his fresh lunch specials. Enjoy the last craft fair of the season!
When: Sunday, December 18 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Qualicum Beach Community Hall – 644 Memorial Avenue.
Cost: Free admission
Community Christmas Banquet
Enjoy a FREE Christmas dinner at the Christian Fellowship Centre in Qualicum. Enjoy turkey, ham, and all the fixings, as well as a table full of desserts.
When: Friday, December 16 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: 825 Village Way, Qualicum Beach
Cost: FREE! Please bring an item for the homeless – they are looking for hats, scarves, mittens, jackets, sweaters, etc.
Christmas on the Farm
Head to Morningstar Farm for a good old-fashioned Christmas celebration. There will be carol wagon rides, live music, story telling, and crafts. You can also enjoy a bonfire and marshmallows, hot cocoa and popcorn, a coffee at the pop-up cafe, and/or a mulled wine tasting.
When: Saturday, December 17, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Location: 403 Lowry’s Road, Parksville.
Cost: Free admission.
Magical Nights of Light
For the second year the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre is lighting up their grounds with a fabulous display of laser lights. And this year is even bigger and better than ever! It’s a magical display for the whole family.
When: December 16 & 17, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm; and December 20 & 21, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.
Location: 1240 Leffler Road, Errington.
Cost: Admission is by donation.
Christmas Concert at Errington Hall
Enjoy a wonderful mix of stories, skits, seasonal music and Christmas spirit for all ages. Bring your family and get in the mood for the holidays. Coffee and seasonal treats available from the kitchen.
When: Saturday, December 17 at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm).
Location: Errington Hall – 1390 Errington Road.
Cost: Admission is by donation.
Christmas in the Country
Tiger Lily Farm transforms their Covered Riding Arena into a fun winter wonderland, full of trees and friends. Join them for hot chocolate & a cookie while the kids enjoy a pony ride through the Indoor Forest. Bring your Camera for a visit with Santa, and while you are there, create an Evergreen Door Swag to take home. You can also dress up in their live interactive Nativity Scene in the Barn, and visit the animals. Make sure to stop by the Gift Shop for any last minute shopping!
When: December 23 & 24, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: 1692 Errington Road.
Cost: $6 per person, including taxes. Children under 2 are Free.
Nanaimo Christmas Activities
Free Photo’s with Santa (Camo Style!)
Head to Cabella’s for a chance to see Santa in his camo gear, and while you are there get a free photo that is sure to be the talk of the Christmas season!
When: December 17 & 18, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Location: Cabella’s – 6902 North Island Hwy, Nanaimo.
Nanaimo Christmas Trolley
Enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn trolley through Downtown Nanaimo. You can catch a ride at Santa’s Workshop on Museum Way or on Wesley Street in the Old City Quarters. Don’t forget to take pictures, post on social media, and use the hashtag #DowntownNanaimoChristmasTrolley for a chance to win some downtown Nanaimo holiday swag!
When: Saturday, December 17 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm.
Location: 101 Museum Way (or alternate pickup at Wesley Street in the Old City Quarters).
Cost: By donation
Head to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and enter Santa’s Workshop! Enjoy hot chocolate, decorate a Christmas cookie, watch holiday movies, and of course visit with Santa! Don’t forget your cameras.
Friday, December 16, from 2:00 – 6:00 pm, with Santa visits from 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Saturday, December 17, from 11:00 – 5:00 pm, with Santa visits from 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Sunday, December, from 12:00 – 4:00 pm, with Santa visits from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Location: Lower level of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre – 101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo.
B. Gallant Homes has created a gingerbread house cookie decorating event for children and families in support of the Salvation Army. Join them at Santa’s Workshop (aka the Vancouver Island Conference Centre) where they have all the ingredients you need to design your delicious dream home (while supplies last). And then vote for your favourite.
When: November 28 – December 18, from 12:00 – 4:00 pm.
Location: 3rd Floor of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre – 101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo
Cost: Admission is by donation, with a suggested minimum donation of $5.00. All proceeds go to the Salvation Army to help shelter community members in need.
Nanaimo Museum Capturing Christmas Exhibit
The museum’s collection of cameras and historical photographs will highlight Christmas’ past in the Harbour City. Get into the Christmas spirit while catching a glimpse of how the community has changed over the years.
When: December 1 – January 6
- The Museum is open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Location: Nanaimo Museum – 100 Museum Way.
Cost: Admission is by donation to a local charity.
Singing Christmas Tree
Generations Church presents the 24th Annual Singing Christmas Tree. Their giant tree is filled with a 50 voice choir singing new and old Christmas songs. This, along with a drama presentation and light show, is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Friday, December 16 – 7:00 pm
Saturday, December 17 – 4:00 pm
Saturday, December 17 – 7:00 pm
Sunday, December 18 – 7:00 pm
Location: Generations Church – 1300 Princess Royal Avenue, Nanaimo.
Cost: Tickets are FREE, but you must get a ticket in advance to the show you wish to attend. Tickets can be picked up at the following locations:
- Generations Church – 1300 Princess Royal Ave, Nanaimo (behind Terminal Park Mall). Office Hours: Monday – 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, and Tuesday-Friday – 9:00 am- 5:00 pm
- The Buzz Coffee House – 1861 Dufferin Crescent (Across the street from Country Grocer off of Bowen Road) Monday to Saturday – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Christian Book & Music Centre – 2-1200 Princess Royal Ave. Monday-Thursday & Saturday – 9:00 am – 5:30 pm, Friday – 9:00 am-9:00 pm.
For more information, and the ability to get tickets online, go to the website of Generation Church .
Winter Wonderland Skate – Nanaimo
Frank Crane Arena will be transformed into a “Fantasy Theme”. These skate sessions only cost a loonie (some are even free!) with all skate and helmet rentals for free. Drop in during any of the public skate times with your friends, family or co-workers. All sessions are ‘Everyone Welcome’ unless otherwise stated.
When: December 26 – 30
Monday, December 26
- 11:45 am-1:15 pm (sponsored by Roto-Rooter)
- 1:30-3:00 pm (sponsored by Heatherbrae Builders)
Tuesday, December 27
- 10:00 – 11:30 am (sponsored by Long Lake Physiotherapy – FREE Parent & Tot Skate)
- 11:45 am-1:15 pm (sponsored by Nanaimo News Bulletin)
- 1:30-3:00 pm (sponsored by Pepsi)
- 3:15-4:45 pm (sponsored by Pepsi)
- 7:45-9:30 pm (sponsored by Pepsi)
Wednesday, December 28
- 10:00 -11:30 am (sponsored by Ocean’s Edge Orthodontics – FREE Family Skate)
- 11:45 am-1:15 pm (sponsored by WOLF Radio Station)
- 1:30-3:00 pm (sponsored by Miranda Construction – FREE Skate)
- 3:15-4:45 pm (sponsored by WAVE Radio Station)
- 7:45-9:30 pm (sponsored by VIU – FREE Skate)
Thursday, December 29
- 10:00 – 11:30 am (sponsored by Ryan Vending – Parent & Tot Skate)
- 11:45 am – 1:15 pm (sponsored by PlanetClean)
- 1:30 – 3:00 pm (sponsored by Caledonia Fire Protection)
- 3:15-4:45 pm (sponsored by Shaw Electrical Services)
- 7:45-9:30 pm (sponsored by Cimco Refrigeration)
Friday, December 30
- 10:00 – 11:30 am (sponsored by Windley Contracting – Family Skate)
- 11:45 am – 1:15 pm (sponsored by Tim Hortons – FREE Skate)
- 1:30-3:00 pm (sponsored by Tim Hortons – FREE Skate)
- 3:15-4:45 pm (sponsored by Tim Hortons – FREE Skate)
- 7:45-9:30 pm (sponsored by Tim Hortons – FREE Skate)
Location: Frank Crane Arena – 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo.
Cost: $1.00 – unless otherwise noted.
Best Christmas Light Displays for the Mid-Vancouver Island Area
Pack the kids in the car, turn up the Christmas tunes, and head out on a mini-road trip to view these fantastic light displays around the neighbourhood!
In case the image below doesn’t link properly, click on this MAP LINK.