Christmas in Nanaimo: Christmas arrives downtown

The Nanaimo Lions’s Santa Parade is a big part of the holiday celebrations taking place in downtown Nanaiamo. - Photo contributed
The Nanaimo Lions’s Santa Parade is a big part of the holiday celebrations taking place in downtown Nanaiamo.
— image credit: Photo contributed

You can feel it in the air – Christmas is coming.

Building on the successful holiday season of last year, the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association is putting together an old fashioned style Christmas that will surely lighten the hearts and imaginations of all those who experience it.

From the new Santa’s workshop in the lobby of the Nanaimo Museum and horse-drawn trolleys traversing downtown streets, to Festival of Trees taking place for the first time in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, this holiday season is set to deliver a downtown holiday season like never before.

The exciting launch takes place on Saturday, (Nov. 26) at 9:30 a.m. with Santa and his elves flying into the harbour on board a Harbour Air float plane. Santa then leads his adoring fans to the official opening and ribbon cutting at his workshop in the lobby of the museum.

At 1 p.m., Santa takes his rightful place in the Nanaimo Lion’s Santa Parade that winds along Victoria Crescent, up Commercial Street and finishes on Front Street. Following the parade, Santa will be available for photos and Christmas wishes in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre until 4 p.m.

Santa’s workshop in the museum offers a central gathering place for the public to enjoy Christmas treats, hot chocolate and crafts, have their gifts wrapped by donation (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting Dec. 8), and have photos taken with Santa.

Also new this year is horse-drawn trolley rides, compliments of the DNBIA, which take place the first three Saturdays in December from  noon to 4 p.m. The trolley will have pick up and drop off spots throughout downtown including Commercial Street and the Old City Quarter.

Christmas activities in the Old City Quarter this year include the Light Up A Life campaign, which raises food donations for Haven Society, a Downtown/Old City Quarter Artwalk and two concerts by Allison Crowe (one in St. Andrew’s United Church on Wesley Street Dec. 10 and a free outdoor performance in the Mews Dec. 22).

For more information, please visit or call 250-754-8141.

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