A complete round up of all the Vancouver Island Christmas Activities and Events.

Mid-Vancouver Island Christmas Activities

Updated for 2018! The following list is a round-up of the best Mid-Island Christmas activities and events happening in the Nanaimo and Oceanside areas.

Vancouver Island Christmas Activities and Events

Oceanside Christmas Activities & Events

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 gift shop, local musicians, and, of course, their tearoom.

Location: 2179 West Island Hwy, Qualicum Beach.


Milner Christmas Magic takes place on three consecutive weekends: November 30 – December 2; December 7-9; and December 14-19 from 5 pm to 8:30 pm (last admission at 8 pm).

Cost: Entry is by donation, with a minimum suggestion of $5.00 per adult and $2.50 per child.

Shuttle carts are available at the entrance gate for people with mobility challenges.

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.

Location: 830 Island Hwy, Parksville

When: Join them for a variety of public skate sessions from December 15 to 31.

There are a few Winter Wonderland Sponsored Skates (which means FREE admission)

  • Saturday, December 15 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
    MP Johns Holiday Skating Party
    Free admission and skate rentals courtesy of MP Gord Johns
  • Saturday, December 15 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    Toy Drive Skate
    Bring a donation of unwrapped toys, or a cash or cheque donation, and get a free skate. Sponsored by Todd Sjorgen and Tony MacAulay
  • Tuesday, December 18 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm
    FREE Teen Skate (13 – 18 years old)
    Admission and skate rentals are free, courtesy of RDN Youth
  • Monday, December 24  from 1:00-3:00 pm
    FREE Everyone Welcome Skate
    Sponsored by Tim Horton’s
  • New Year’s Eve FREE Family Celebration from 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Enjoy the last skate of the year on Winter Wonderland, join the family fun pond hockey, make a craft, listen to great entertainment and join in the early countdown at 8:00 pm. Food will be available to purchase at the event. Admission and skate rentals are free courtesy of Tim Horton’s, Parksville.

Tickets are required and are available December 10th at either Oceanside Place Arena or Ravensong Aquatic Centre.

Holiday Swim

Head to Ravensong Aquatic Centre for the annual holiday swim and join in reindeer pool games and a visit with Santa.

When: Saturday, December 22 from 1:30 to 5:00 pm.

Regular admission applies.

Echo Players Live Theatre

Peter Pan 

Peter Pan is the classic story of the mischievous little boy who flies and refuses to grow up, preferring, instead, to live in mysterious Neverland, sharing adventures with the lost boys, pirates, fairies, tick-tocking crocodiles and, occasionally, real children. This family orientated musical includes song, dance and action that will enthral and engage every child from five to one hundred and five.

Directed by Julian Packer

Running from December 13th – 30th, 2018 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.

Location: Village Theatre – 110 W 2nd Ave, Qualicum Beach

To purchase tickets, please visit the website of ECHO Theatre.

Christmas on the Farm

Head to Morningstar Farm for a good old-fashioned Christmas celebration. There will be carol wagon rides, live music, storytelling, 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.

Location: 403 Lowry’s Road, Parksville.

When: Saturday, December 15, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Cost: Free admission

Magical Nights of Light

Again this year, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre is lighting up their grounds with a fabulous display of laser lights. It’s a magical display for the whole family. There is also hot chocolate to enjoy and Santa may be there too!

This year admission is by pre-purchase only! Tickets can be bought online, or at the Bear Den Gift shop at NIWRA.  Due to limited parking, there is also a FREE shuttle available from Craig Street Commons. Shuttle passes will be issued upon event ticket purchase.

Location: 1240 Leffler Road, Errington.

When: Fridays and Saturday evenings only (from 6:00 – 8:00 pm) from December 7 – 22.

Cost: $5.00 per person (children 12 and under are free, but do require a ticket).

Christmas in the Country

Bring your family to this unique Christmas Event. Visit the animals in the Barnyard, Dress Up in their Live Nativity Scene, Make and Take home an Evergreen Door Swag. Kids can take a Pony Ride through the indoor Winter Forest, Visit Santa and enjoy a snack.

Location: 1692 Errington Road.

When: December 23 & 24, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Cost: $6 per person. Children under 2 are free.


Old Fashioned Christmas

Head to the Parksville Museum for an old-fashioned Christmas. Enjoy photos with Santa, treats, music, crafts, stories and model trains.

Location: 1245 Island Hwy East, Parksville

When: Sunday, December 2 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Polar Express

Based on children’s author Chris Van Allsburg’s modern holiday classic of the same name, The Polar Express revolves around a young boy who longs to believe in Santa Claus but finds it quite difficult to do so, with his family’s dogged insistence that all of it, from the North Pole, to the elves, to the man himself, is just a myth.

This all changes, however, on Christmas Eve, when a mysterious train visits the boy in the middle of the night, promising to take him and a group of other lucky children to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. The train’s conductor, along with the other passengers, helps turn the boy’s crisis in faith into a journey of self-discovery.

Starring the voices of Tom Hanks, Josh Hutcherson, and Michael Jeter, this holiday season it’s time to believe!

Location: Sid Williams Theatre – 442 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay

When: Sunday, December 2 at 12:00 pm

Admission is by donation

Santa Train

The Annual Santa Train is running again this year courtesy of McClean Mill Historic Park.

The train leaves the Station at 3100 Kingsway St, Port Alberni at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm. 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm on Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9th ONLY.

This is a 45-minute ride with Santa and his helpers.

The cost is $6.50 per person for all ages. ( Under 2 years on your lap is free).

Book online.  Reservations are recommended as these trains typically sell out in advance.

Nanaimo and Area Christmas Activities

Festival of Lights

Ladysmith will be ignited with the life of thousands of twinkling Christmas lights to get you into the Christmas spirit. This magical event kicks-off downtown Ladysmith Thurs. Nov 29th, at 3:00 pm. Santa will arrive at 6:30 pm with the Parade at 6:45 pm followed by the Aggie Hall & Christmas Tree light-up. Fireworks at 8 pm! Street entertainment, food concessions, Christmas Craft Fair, LIVE entertainment on stage, shopping and more!

For those that can’t make it to the lighting up ceremony, the dazzling display of lights will be on until January 10.

Location: Downtown Ladysmith

Gingerbread Village

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.

Location: 3rd Floor of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre – 101 Gordon Street, Nanaimo

When: Saturday’s (December 1, 8, & 15) from 12:00 – 4:00 pm

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.

Santa’s Wonderland

Enjoy the magic of Christmas inside every Cabela’s Canada and Bass Pro store from November 22 – December 24. Visit with the big guy himself at Santa’s Wonderland and receive a free photo, make a free holiday-themed kids’ craft and participate in daily activities and games leading up to Christmas. Don’t forget to tag #CabelasWonderland in your photos with Santa for your chance to win a Cabela’s gift card!

Location: Cabela’s – 6902 North Island Hwy, Nanaimo.


  • Free Photos with Santa: November 17 – December 24, Mon-Sat from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sundays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Crafts: Weekdays, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Cost: FREE!

Singing Christmas Tree

Generations Church presents the 25th 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. This year’s performance takes a ‘behind the scene’ look at the very first Christmas.

Location: Generations Church – 1300 Princess Royal Avenue, Nanaimo.


Friday, December 7 & 14 – 7:00 pm

Saturday, December 8 & 15 – 4:00 & 7:00 pm shows

Sunday, December 9 & 16 – 4:00 & 7:00 pm shows

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.

Skate with Santa

Two sessions to choose from. Join Nanaimo Parks & Rec for a skate with Santa, prizes, draws and some hot chocolate and treats.

Location & Times:

  • Tuesday, December 18 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Frank Crane Arena (2300 Bowen Road) – regular admission rates apply.
  • Friday, December 21 from 3:45 – 5:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre – this one is a FREE event courtesy of Coast Capital Savings.

Winter Wonderland Candyland Skate

The Frank Crane Arena will be transformed into a “Candyland Theme”! These skate sessions only cost a loonie – and some are even free, thanks to many generous sponsors! All skates and helmets are included for free.

Drop in during any of the public times with friends, family and colleagues. All sessions are everyone welcome unless otherwise stated.

Dec 26 ~ 11:45 am – 3:00 pm
Dec 27 ~ 11:45 am – 4:45 pm & 7:45 – 9:30 pm
Dec 27 ~ 9 am-noon Pancake Breakfast sponsored by Cross & C. CPA & Nanaimo Kinsmen Club
Dec 28 ~ 11:45 am – 4:45 pm & 7:45 – 9:30 pm
Dec 29 ~ 11:45 am – 4:45 pm & 7:45 – 9:30 pm
Dec 30 ~ 11:45 am – 4:45 pm & 7:45 – 9:30 pm

Location: Frank Crane Arena – 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo

Dunk with Santa

Be on your best behaviour with Santa in the pool…or show him how NAUGHTY you can be by trying to dunk him in the dunk tank!

When: Saturday, December 22 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Nanaimo Aquatic Centre – 741 Third Street

Regular admission rates apply.

Christmas Express

13 nights of Holiday magic can be found at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. Hop on the Christmas Express steam train and enjoy the many festive lights, decorations, and displays.


Saturday, Dec 1 & Sunday, Dec 2, 2018
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

Friday, Dec 7, Saturday, Dec 8, & Sunday, Dec 9, 2018
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

Friday, Dec 14, Saturday, Dec 15, & Sunday, Dec 16, 2018
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

Wednesday, Dec 19, Thursday, Dec 20, Friday, Dec 21, Saturday, Dec 22, & Sunday, Dec 23, 2018
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

This event fills up fast, so best to pre-purchase your tickets. Purchase at the gift shop or by phone: 250-715-1113 ex 30.

If you feel I have missed an event for the Nanaimo or Oceanside areas, please let me know so that I can add it to the above list.

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on Nov 28, 2018

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