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Santa catching float plane flight to Nanaimo Harbour

Santa Claus and elf entourage kick off holiday festivities in downtown Nanaimo
Winter festivities in downtown Nanaimo will officially start when Santa Claus’s Harbour Air flight touches down in Nanaimo Harbour on Saturday, Nov. 26. (News Bulletin file photo)

Santa Claus is flying into town, but not on his sleigh.

Jolly Old St. Nick will touch down at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, aboard a Harbour Air flight to downtown Nanaimo where he’ll meet up with his entourage of elves and make his way to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre to officially launch Winterfest in downtown Nanaimo.

It’s the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that Santa has returned to the VICC. Santa will find himself in familiar surroundings there at a Gingerbread Village, sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, where children can have their pictures taken with him at no charge. There will be gingerbread decorating, a hot chocolate bar and other activities. Parents should be sure to bring their cellphones for the photo shoot.

The Nanaimo Museum is also hosting activities such as Indigenous storytelling. On Sunday, Nov. 27, magic shows will be hosted at Literacy Nanaimo’s Well-Read Books across the street.

The festivities continue on weekends downtown and in the Old City Quarter until Dec. 18 with a variety of activities happening that include choir singing, magic shows, storytelling, puppet shows and crafts. Santa will be back every weekend for visits and photos.

“It’s all presented by the Downtown Nanaimo Business Association and the Old City Quarter. We’re sort of teaming up on it this year,” said Kim Smythe, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO. “We’ve struggled through a difficult three years and now it’s time to start celebrating like we used to celebrate.”

Title sponsor for this year’s winter fest is Western Forest Products.

For more information and updates on event times and schedules, visit

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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