Light Up the City is both a competition of who has the best Christmas decorations in Victoria as well as a donation drive for those less fortunate.
In 2022 the event runs from the middle of November until the end of December.
For the official Light Up the City website, visit gvfs.ca.
Thrifty Foods Light Up the City in Victoria
Organized by the Greater Victoria Festival Society and sponsored by Thrifty Foods, Black Press and Chek TV, Light Up the City is a relatively recent addition to the Victoria holiday scene. The event began in 2020 and was created as an alternative holiday celebration when the regular Santa Light Parade was cancelled that year. The parade happened in 2021, and it takes place again in 2022. Light Up the City has continued as well and takes place again this year too.
Light Up the City incorporates a few different elements into its festivities. First, there is a Christmas decorations competition. Anyone in the Greater Victoria area can enter themselves into the contest by decorating their home or business and submitting a photo of their place. Winners are decided by an online vote and there are lots of prizes.
There is also a donation part to the event. In 2021, on every Saturday during the run of the campaign there were donation drives set up in each of the region’s biggest municipalities. Items like food, toys and money were collected and distributed to local community organizations. This happens again this year too, although exact details are to be confirmed.
In 2022 Light Up the City runs from November 15th until December 31st.
How to Enter the Competition
Anyone in the Greater Victoria area can enter the Light Up the City competition for no cost. All you have to do is decorate your home, take a picture and submit the photo.
Each entry is submitted into one of five categories. There are apartments/condos, local businesses, community organizations, homes and First Nations communities. In 2021, three submissions in each of those five categories were declared winners and received prizes.
There are no set guidelines for the competition. Just light up your home, business or community and throw your hat in the ring! Last year there was also a map that included where all of the submissions were, so people could drive around and see them all.
To enter the contest in 2022 you need to send an email with a photo of your place to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa Light Parade and Other Events
Another fun Christmas attraction in Victoria is the Santa Light Parade. The same as Light Up the City, it too is free to enjoy and organized by the Greater Victoria Festival Society.
The Santa Light Parade has been a tradition in Victoria for nearly 40 years. It used to run down Government Street each holiday season. New for 2022, the route ran mostly down Douglas Street this year. For more information, see our article about the Santa Light Parade.
As well, during the Light Up the City festival, there are different events to enjoy. In 2021 there was the chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. There was also live music on different nights and other activities for all ages. Events in 2020 were primarily in drive-thru formats due to the pandemic. The 2022 event will likely offer more in-person activities, although exact details are to be confirmed.
As mentioned above, Light Up the City also looks to give back to those in need in the area. There are regular donation drives throughout Greater Victoria over the weeks of the event. All the items donated go to various local organizations helping those less fortunate.
For more information visit the Greater Victoria Festivals Society website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Santa Light Parade
- Butchart Gardens at Christmas
- Lights of Wonder at Christmas
- Victoria Calendar of Events