One of the best places to spend Victoria Day and the May Long Weekend is in Victoria where the city celebrates with a festival and various other activities.
In 2022 Victoria Day was on Monday, May 23rd. The annual parade took place this year for the first time since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the parade there was a series of performances in downtown Victoria on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, plus other activities elsewhere in the region.
To learn about the parade see our article about the Victoria Day Parade or visit the Greater Victoria Festival Society‘s website. To learn about other activities on the weekend as well, continue reading.
Victoria and the May Long Weekend
Victoria Day is a statutory holiday that celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria who lived from 1819 to 1901. It’s this queen after whom the City of Victoria was named. The occasion is celebrated all across Canada, but especially in British Columbia’s capital city, on the Monday before May 25th each year.
In 2020 and 2021, many events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some events were able to take place in virtual formats, but large in-person gatherings were prohibited for the most part. In 2022, more events were able to take place.
A lot usually happens in downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour on the May Long Weekend. Some of the best events that take place most years include the following:
- Victoria Day Parade – a large parade featuring over 100 floats, with the procession beginning at Mayfair Mall and continuing down Douglas Street. (The 122nd parade took place on May 23rd in 2022.)
- Festival of Performances – numerous performances at the Parliament Buildings and elsewhere in celebration of Victoria Day. See below for details. (May 21st, 22nd and 23rd in 2022.)
- Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival – a family-friendly Scottish festival that happens at Topaz Park. (May 21st and 22nd in 2022.)
- Luxton Spring Fair – a fair with fun carnival rides, food trucks and more in Langford on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the May Long Weekend.
Victoria Day Performances
Free performances take place in downtown Victoria on the Saturday and Sunday of the May Long Weekend. On those two days there is live music outside the BC Legislature. They happened on May 21st and 22nd in 2022.
Lots of marching bands come to Victoria for the parade. They travel from all around BC and even from the United States. In addition to playing and marching in the parade, many of them perform for free on the Saturday and Sunday.
On the Holiday Monday (so on May 23rd in 2022), there was more live entertainment at Centennial Square near Victoria’s City Hall. The parade runs from 9 am until around noon. After that there are free activities and entertainment in the square. Admission is free!
The Victoria Day Parade
Victoria’s Victoria Day Parade is one of the biggest and longest parades in Canada. Not many parades go on for a full three hours!
The parade takes place on the Holiday Monday. It starts at 9 o’clock in the morning at Mayfair Mall at 3147 Douglas Street. The floats, bands and other parade entries meet and set up in the mall’s parking lot. From there the procession makes its way down Douglas Street all the way to Humboldt Street (which is by the Empress Hotel).
Tens of thousands of people line the street to see the parade. There are lots of floats, marching bands, clowns, VIPs in cars, military vehicles, emergency vehicles, collectible cars and other entries by local businesses and community groups.
Victoria Day Parade Marching Bands
To get an idea about what the Victoria Day Parade looks like, and the wide variety of marching bands that participate, check out the following video.
The video shows scenes of the parade from a couple of years before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the video is on the bands. There are lots of floats, emergency vehicles, clowns and even boats sometimes too! They just aren’t included in the video.
So many marching bands participate in the parade. Many are school bands, some of which come up on tour from the United States. There are also military bands, bands with drums and bands with bagpipes. They all make the parade a wonderful experience, and many of them perform around downtown Victoria at other times on the weekend too.
To learn more about what happens on Victoria Day, and for a video that shows more of the parade, see our article about Victoria on the Victoria Day Long Weekend.
For a list of other events in the city at other times of the year, see the Victoria Festivals & Events Calendar.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
To learn about what’s happening on the May Long Weekend in the Lower Mainland, see the Vancouversbestplaces.com website.