Here in Cowichan, the weather outside really isn’t that frightful, which gives you ample opportunity to get your holiday shopping done and maybe even treat yourself to a mini pre-Christmas getaway. From sensational experiences to fabulous shopping, Christmas truly is made in Cowichan.
Check out these 10 ways to experience the best of our season.
1. Follow the Light!
The Ladysmith Festival of Lights is a magical holiday tradition on Vancouver Island. Thousands of lights are strung up along the historic First Avenue creating an enchanting holiday display. Head out to Ladysmith on November 29th for the Light Up Parade and make this part of your family’s holiday tradition.
In Duncan, stop in at the Christmas Kickoff on November 30th. Live music, horse and carriage rides, fireworks and a visit from Santa transform downtown Duncan into a winter wonderland.
Follow Santa at the Lake Cowichan Country Grocer Santa Parade on November 25th. This fabulous parade finishes with a tree lighting and of course, hot chocolate and cookies!
Get your holiday shopping kick-started and enjoy a night of seasonal festivities at Chemainus’ Moonlight Madness on December 7th. More information to come!
2. Shop til you Drop
Each community in Cowichan has a unique shopping area that is perfect for picking up one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list. Swing into Duncan and stop at Cardino’s Shoes for the shoe lover on your list, or in Chemainus, stop in at Beyond the Usual for the outdoor adventurer in your family.
Visit the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery from November 30 – December 23 for their Christmas Art Show, where the gallery turns into a gift shop filled with original locally-crafted treasures.
3. O Tannenbaum
Picking the perfect tree is an essential part of the Christmas season. Douglas fir, Grand fir, Noble fir, Rocky Mt. fir — whatever kind of tree you’re looking for we have it in Cowichan.
Bring the family out to Cowichan and choose your own from the rows at the Lakes Road Tree Farm, the Cowichan Valley Christmas Tree Farmor the Sahtlam Tree Farm. You’ll find the perfect tree for your family and make a memorable experience while you’re at it!
4. Enjoy a Christmas Play
From November 16 – December 30th ‘Little Women’ is on the stage at the Chemainus Theatre Festival. This beloved holiday story is a buoyant musical of romantic escapades, sibling rivalries, and Christmas wishes. Before you watch the story unfold book a seat at the Playbill Dining Room and enjoy a seasonal preshow meal!
5. Come Home to the Farm
Merridale is the new owner of one of the brightest privately owned light displays on Vancouver Island. Visit the farmhouse in Cobble Hill and be transported to a winter wonderland. With thousands of twinkling lights, decorations, festive food, holiday shopping and entertainment — it’s a Christmas evening that won’t be forgotten.
Christmas at the Farm starts on November 23rd and continues every Friday through Sunday until December 23rd.
6. Stop in at an Open House
This time of year is perfect for getting to know our local businesses at their Holiday Open Houses. Here’s a quick list you won’t want to miss. Check out our Holiday Calendar for a full list of events this season!
Emandare Vineyard– November 24, 11am-5pm. Enjoy a warm fire with hot chocolate and marshmallows in the courtyard, local Christmas cookies and get an exclusive taste of the much-anticipated release of the 2017 Marechal-Cabernet Foch.
Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit– November 25, 1:00-4:00pm. Bring the whole family out to the Circuit for an afternoon with Santa, hot chocolate and treats, live music and charity raffle.
Westholme Tea Farm– November 30 – December 2, 10am-6pm. Find that perfect gift among the Cowichan teas and beautifully crafted ceramics from Margit Nellemann. For tea lovers, check out their brand new Herbal Tea Advent Calendar!
Blue Grouse Estate Winery– December 1 – 2, 11am-5pm. Experience holiday music, lunch, wine tastings and stock up on holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Also get a taste of Blue Grouse’s special holiday wine release of their 2016 Estate Pinot Noir, 2016 Black Muscat and the new Fortified Black Muscat.
7. All Aboard!
The holidays aren’t complete in Cowichan without a stop on the BC Forest Discovery Centre’s Christmas Express. Bring the entire family to the Centre for holiday carols, hot chocolate, a visit with Santa, and of course a ride on the Christmas Express. Tour the 100-acre property and kick-start your Christmas spirit!
The festivities start on December 1st. Check out the full list of train times right here.
8. Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa will be visiting the Villa Eyrie every Saturday and Sunday in December, and yes, although he’s a very busy man, he will also be there on Christmas Eve from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. If Santa isn’t enough of a draw, visit the Villa Eyrie in December for lunch or dinner and check out their brand new Christmas light display!
Over at the Mill Bay Marina, have brunch with Santa on December 9th and 16th. Bring out the entire family and enjoy the holiday season with a festive brunch at Bridgemans Bistro, children under 12 will be treated with free pancakes!
10. New Years Eve
Ring in the new year with a 3-course dinner at the Satellite Bar and Grill at the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club. Or if you’re looking for a fabulous way to start 2019, book a seat at their New Year’s Day Brunch, or better yet — do both!
From all of us at Tourism Cowichan we wish everyone safe travels this winter and a very happy holiday!