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Updated for 2019! 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

Parksville Holiday Light Up

Location: Parksville Community Centre – 132 Jensen Avenue

When: Friday, November 29 at 6:00 pm

Tour the Festival of Trees in the community centre at this free family-friendly event. Get pictures with Santa, decorate cookies, enjoy some hot chocolate and popcorn, and listen to carolers. There will be a food truck on-site, and a Kid’s Market will be set up.

Trees will continue to be on display for public viewing from December 1 through to January 2.

City of Parksville Cookies and Carols Christmas Light Up

Location: Parksville Civic and Technology Centre – 100 Jensen Avenue East

When: Tuesday, December 3 from 12:30 – 1:30

Council and city staff invite you to attend the first Cookies and Carols Christmas Light Up. It’s a free event for all ages. There will be carols sung by a local choir and you are encouraged to sing along. As the Christmas tree is being lit, snack on the provided cookies.

Nanoose Bay Christmas Crawl Studio Tour

Location: Various locations around Nanoose Bay. Maps can be picked up at the Studio Tour Information Centre – (Nanoose Place – 2925 Northwest Bay Road )during tour hours.

When: Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Enjoy a self-guided tour of Nanoose Bay artists and artisans. Meet the makers and browser their local studios.

Milner Christmas Magic

Location: 2179 West Island Hwy, Qualicum Beach.

When: Friday to Sunday for the first three weeks of December

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.

Milner Christmas Magic takes place on three consecutive weekends: Dec 6-8, 13-15, and 18-22, 2019 from 5 pm – 8:30 pm (with last entry 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

Location: 830 Island Hwy, Parksville

When: Join them for a variety of public skate sessions from December 14 to 31.

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.

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

  • Saturday, December 15 from 12:15 – 2:15 pm – FREE Everyone Welcome Skate. Courtesy of Parksville Lions and Save On Foods
  • Tuesday, December 17 from 7:00 – 8:30 pmFREE Teen Skate (13 – 18 years old)
  • Saturday, December 21 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm – FREE Everyone Welcome Skate – courtesy of MP Gord Johns
  • Tuesday, 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 – sponsored by Tim Hortons. Advance tickets are required.

Enjoy the last skate of the year on Winter Wonderland. Enjoy 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 with Santa

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

When: Saturday, December 21 from 1:30 to 5:00 pm.

Regular admission applies.

Echo Players Live Theatre

Location: Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach – 110 W 2nd Avenue

This year enjoy The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This heartwarming holiday comedy is adapted from the best-selling children’s book of the same name. In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggles to put on a church Christmas pageant and is faced with casting some of the most awful kids in history.

Running on select days and times from December 15 – 28th

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

Deck the Docks

Location: Deep Bay Marina – 180 Burne Road, Bowser

When: Saturday, December 14 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Celebrate the holiday season with holiday lights, carolling, hot dogs and much merriment at the Deep Bay Marina.

Christmas on the Farm

Location: 403 Lowry’s Road, Parksville.

When: Saturday, December 14, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

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.

Cost: $5.00 per person

Magical Nights of Light

Location: 1240 Leffler Road, Errington.

When: Fridays and Saturday evenings only (from 6:00 – 8:00 pm) from December 6 – 21.

For the 5th year in a row, 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!

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.

Cost: $5.00 per person (children 12 and under are free, but do require a ticket). Parking at the North Island Wildlife Centre also requires a ticket.


Nanaimo and Area Christmas Activities

Festival of Lights

Location: Downtown Ladysmith

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 28th, 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.

Gingerbread Village

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

When: Saturday’s (November 30, December 7 and December 14) from 12:00 – 4:00 pm

B. Gallant Homes has created a gingerbread 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 a delicious cookie (while supplies last). And then vote for your favourite gingerbread home. Photos with Santa are available, plus a colouring contest.

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

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

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!

  • Free Photos with Santa: November 16 – 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

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

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 will have you laughing along as they explore the tension between extravagance and simplicity that many of of us experience at Christmas.

Friday’s: December 6 & 13 – 7:00 pm

Saturday, December 7 & 14 – 4:00 & 7:00 pm shows

Sunday, December 8 & 15 – 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:

  • Wednesday, December 18 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Frank Crane Arena (2300 Bowen Road) – Regular admission rates apply.
  • Friday, December 20 from 3:45 – 5:15 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre – this one is a FREE event courtesy of Coast Capital Savings.

Dunk with Santa

Location: Nanaimo Aquatic Centre – 741 Third Street

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 21 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Regular admission rates apply.

Christmas Express

Location: BC Forest Discovery Centre – 2892 Drinkwater Road, Duncan

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.

Dates:

Friday, Dec 6; Saturday, Dec 7 & Sunday, Dec 8
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

 Friday, Dec 13; Saturday, Dec 14 & Sunday, Dec 15
4:00 pm – 9:00 pm (train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30).

Wednesday, Dec 18 to Monday, Dec 23
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.


Nanaimo Live Theatre

The Harbour City Theatre presents A Christmas Carol. Enjoy this family classic live on stage until December 15. Great for all ages! To purchase tickets online head to the HCTA

Location: 25 Victoria Road, Nanaimo

When: November 21 – December 15

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.