Your Guide to Local Events and Festivals in Victoria BC

Annual events and festivals in Victoria have something for everyone from a night out on the town to a family fun day. We are known as the Garden City but we could just as easily be known for our vibrant live entertainment, artisans, festivals and events.  

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

The activities identified on my list are annual celebrations that we all look forward to. Get your calendar out and schedule time to take in some very cool experiences. Several of these events attract visitors from across the Pacific Northwest and Lower Mainland. Northwest Deuce Days draw fans from around the globe. 

Get ready for world class entertainment!

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - January

Dine Around & Stay In Town

  • food festival with over 50 of Victoria's best restaurants offering set three-course menus at low pricescheck website for locations and details
  • Jan 20, 2023, 12:00 p.m.–Feb 5, 2023, 11:45 p.m.
  • Victoria, BC

Festival of Trees

  • Trees are decorated by local businesses and organizations and on display in the Bay Centre, Victoria
  • You can donate or sponsor a tree in support of BC Children's Hospital 
  • Nov. 17, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023

Ginuary

  • Gin-focused food and beverage tasting festival; learn about the origins of gin making; shop from on-site vendors
  • January 29th, 2023 (also hosting a festival in July) 
  • 835 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC
  • 19+

Gingerbread Showcase

Goldstream Eagle Extravaganza 

  • the end of annual salmon run marks the beginning of the Eagle Extravaganza
  • watch the incredible natural phenomona at the Goldstream Provincial Park
  • December through January

Victoria Whisky Festival 

  • tastings, masterclasses, awards
  • January 19 to 22, 2023
  • Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St
  • 19+

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - February

Dine Around and Stay in Town

  • Jan 20, 2023, 12:00 p.m.–Feb 5, 2023, 11:45 p.m.
  • Victoria, BC
  • food festival with over 50 of Victoria's best restaurants offering set three-course menus at low prices
  • check website for locations and details

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - March

Greater Victoria Flower Count

This annual activity encourages residents to wander into a garden, park or just down your street and count all the spring blooms. The count really is a bit of a promotion to show the rest of Canada and the world what a terrific tourism destination Victoria is. Visit their website to submit your count. 

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - April

Victoria International Kizomba Festival

  • workshops, dancing, socials and afterparties
  • Apr 6–10, 2023
  • Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street
  • Get details here

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - May

Buccaneer Days

  • A fun-filled weekend in Esquimalt with something for everyone including a miidway, dance, free local entertainment in Bullen Park, kids play zone, a parade and more!
  • Bullen Park and Archie Browning Recreation Centre in Esquimalt
  • May 12, 13 & 14, 2023

Highland Games & Celtic Festival

  • International heavy events challenge, pipe bands, Irish and Highland dancers, Celtic music and much more all weekend long
  • Topaz Park (Topaz/Finlayson/Blanshard)
  • May 20 and 21, 2023 
  • 2023 marks the 160 years of this terrific event

Victoria Day Parade

  • featuring over 150 entries including Canadian and American marching bands, musical floats, cultural entries and festive clowns
  • the largest parade in Victoria - usually attended by tens of thousands of spectators
  • Always held on Victoria Day in downtown Victoria

African Cultural Week & AfriCa Fest 2023

  • an annual celebration of African culture through food, music, and arts
  • African Arts & Cultural Society - Issamba Centre
  • 209-2722 Fifth Street, Victoria, BC
  • May 26–28, 2023

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - June

Diner en Blanc 

  • Thousands of people, dressed all in white, all meet for a mass picnic in a public space
  • Registration required - visit their website for details
  • surprise location is only revealed on the day of the event
  • 2023 date to be announced

Oak Bay Tea Party

  • held annually at Willows Park in Oak Bay featuring a parade, midway, pancake breakfast and a floating tea cup challenge
  • Willows Park on Beach Drive
  • June 3 & 4, 2023

Victoria Indigenous Cultural Festival

  • an annual celebration of First Nation culture and heritage with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations
  • Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria
  • Jun 24–26, 2023

TD Victoria International Jazzfest

  • 10/11-day festival featuring jazz and blues music
  • various venues throughout Victoria
  • Thursday, June 22 through to Sunday, July 2, 2023

Victoria Fish & Game Association Annual Outdoor Discovery Day

The Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association’s annual open house held each year on Father’s Day at their 700 Holker Place site located on the top of the Malahat used to be one of our favourite events. A day of adventure was what you could expect with the annual event known as Outdoor Discovery Day. Unfortunately as of June 2022, this event has been cancelled indefinitely. The VFGPA cited recent changes to Canada's gun laws. They did however host a fishing activity open to the public on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Check their website for details of other events they are hosting. 

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - July

Buskerfest

Summer time is fun time and that's exactly what you’ll find at Busker Festival - our annual street performer festival in downtown Victoria. Officially known as the Downtown Victoria Buskers Festival (DVBF), the event takes place over 5 days at various locations throughout the downtown area. Sometimes the festival happens in July and other years it has been August and even the early part of September. Check out Busker Central for the most up-to-date information regarding planned festivals.   

What is a Busker Festival?

You’ve probably seen a guitar player strumming along on the sidewalk with their case open. Passersby who enjoy the performance show their gratitude with some coins or a couple bills. Well a buskerfest takes this concept to a whole new level. 

In fact, there are travelling buskers who visit a variety of host cities throughout the summer, perfecting their craft. Professional buskers! 

The type of street performer you will see at the Victoria busker festival are musicians of all sorts, dancers, clowns, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, puppeteers, mimes and living statues.  

Some cities block off an entire section of a downtown road to host their festival.

In Victoria we have so many squares and prominent locations that closing down roads is not necessary.

You can expect to find buskers at Market Square, Bastion Square, the causeway at the Inner Harbour, the newly re-developed Ship Point and possibly other locations along Government Street. 

Busking is Not Begging

Buskers are not simply asking you for money. They put themselves out there to entertain without any guarantee of getting paid or even having an audience.

If you enjoy the performance then it is appropriate to show that by providing a tip. How much you tip is entirely up to you and every bit helps. 

Remember you are under no obligation to tip anybody with an open guitar case but these buskers are not just anybody. They have been invited to perform here because they are good. They are entertainers. Many of the performers you will meet do this for a living and they love it! They are not waiting for their big break – they already made it and now they are performing at an international busker festival!

Show your appreciation by:

Plasterman
  • Getting involved in the show – have fun!
  • Don’t heckle the street performers
  • Play along if you get called up to volunteer
  • Say thanks and let the performers know how much you enjoy the show
  • Tip what you are comfortable with (a few coins if you're passing by; a couple bucks if you stop and watch the show)

See you in the summer!

  • held at various locations throughout downtown Victoria
  • 2023 dates to be announced

Eats & Beats Beach Party

  • live music, food trucks, craft beer garden, street market, climbing wall, paddling, cycling and more!
  • on the beautiful waterfront of Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood
  • 2023 date to be announced

Ginuary

  • Gin-focused food and beverage tasting festival; learn about the origins of gin making; shop from on-site vendors
  • July 29th, 2023 (also hosting a festival in January) 
  • 835 Humboldt Street, Victoria, BC
  • 19+

Gorge Canada Day Picnic

  • Come down to the beautiful Gorge Waterway between Tillicum and Admirals for a parade, pancake breakfast, a market, artisans and multicultural food vendors
  • note Gorge Road is closed for this event and parking can be a challenge. Canadian Tire at Admirals and Craigflower graciously offers parking for the event however it can be very busy; walk or bus if you can
  • always held on Canada Day

Moss Street Paint In

So Many Artists, So Little Time!

The Moss Street Paint In is an outdoor artistic event unlike any other. The ArtGallery of Greater Victoria which is located on Moss Street just south of Fort Street hosts the annual not-for-profit event. 

The event features approximately 100 to 150 established and emerging artists from Victoria and the surrounding areas. Each of the artists is selected for the event based on a competitive process which includes criteria such as excellence of work and originality. 

The basic concept behind the paint in is that artists bring their studio to the street. They are provided space to display their work and they are permitted to sell their work. However the main focus of the event is art awareness and education. This is accomplished by the artists talking with the visitors about their particular form of art, or demonstrating techniques by producing work on site.

Despite the name, paint is not the only medium you can expect to see when you go. The opportunity to meet individuals working in sculpting, pottery, sketching and carving - and learn about each of these artistic processes - also exists. 

The event itself is free but naturally they gratefully accept donations that support the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

And if you can walk the full length of Moss Street without finding at least one piece of art you want to buy, I would be surprised.

With so many fabulous artists in one place, it is very difficult to choose just one.

Of course, who says you have to take home just one piece?

The Moss Street Paint In is a one-day event typically held in mid-July from 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The entire two kilometres of Moss Street is closed to vehicular traffic and lined with the booths of the artists. Past events have seen upwards of 40,000 visitors during that brief 5 ½ hour period. 

Paint In Crowds

What that means is a massive crowd of people. You may want to avoid this event if you are claustrophobic! Careful consideration should also be given to bringing pets or small children simply because it can be difficult to move around and easy to lose someone. 

Again because of the massive crowd of people – getting to Moss Street and finding parking can be a challenge. Your very best bet is to take the bus right to Fort and Moss Street. Other good options are walk if feasible or ride your bike.  If you must drive, then you’ll be looking for parking on one of the surrounding neighbourhood streets (along with thousands of others). Be sure to remember where you left your vehicle!

If you are an artist wishing to be considered for an invitation to participate or you would like to be involved as a volunteer, visit the events section of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s website under “Gallery Paint-In” for details and the application forms. 

Northwest Deuce Days

  • The largest gathering of Ford Deuces anywhere in the world
  • The festival attracts over 1200 vintage vehicles including pre-1952 hot rods and street rods
  • Held on the streets surrounding the inner harbour
  • Festival has been happening approximately every 3 years since 2000
  • Next Northwest Deuce Days scheduled for 2025
  • Read more here
orange deuce

Splash Around Town (formerly Symphony Splash)

  • Ten-day summer music festival featuring ticketed performances at venues around Victoria along with a series of free concerts at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park and on the Lawn of the BC Legislature
  • July 22 to 31, 2023

Summer Sounds Series

  • Free music in the park; different musical group every week
  • Sidney Beacon Park Bandshell, 9801 Seaport Place, Sidney
  • every Sunday in July and August from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Admission free

TD Victoria International Jazzfest

  • 10/11-day festival featuring jazz and blues music
  • various venues throughout Victoria
  • Thursday, June 22 through to Sunday, July 2, 2023

The Phillips Backyard Weekender 

  • Intimate, outdoor concerts held at Phillips Brewing & Malting Co "backyard", 2010 Government Street, Victoria
  • Previous years have included concerts in May, July and August; check their website for line-up and dates
  • 19+

Victoria Flamenco Festival

  • Live Flamenco music showcasing local and international dancers, singers, guitarists and percussion
  • Hosted by the Flamenco de la Isla Society; various locations - see website for details
  • July 22 to 29, 2023

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - August

Dragon Boat Festival

  • Dragon boat racing, entertainment and food trucks
  • The only Dragon Boat Festival in Canada to take place in a working harbour; takes place in the waters off Ship Point in the Inner Harbour, Victoria BC
  • August 11-13, 2023

Ryder Hesjedal's Tour de Victoria

  • Traffic-controlled, mass-participation cycling event throughout Greater Victoria
  • Race lengths vary from 15km to 160km plus free kids ride
  • Next race scheduled for August 19, 2023
  • Visit their website for details, route maps and registration information

Summer Sounds Series

  • Free music in the park; different musical group every week
  • Sidney Beacon Park Bandshell, 9801 Seaport Place, Sidney
  • every Sunday in July and August from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Admission free

Victoria Fringe Festival

  • 11 days of Indie theatre featuring local, national and international artists
  • Live events and shows at various venues throughout Victoria
  • End of August to Labour Day weekend
  • August 23, 2023 to September 3, 2023

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - September

Classic Boat Festival

  • Up to 100 classic boats take over the harbour; some open to the public to board and tour
  • Operated by the Maritime Museum of BC who incorporate marine-related exhibitions into the weekend
  • Located on the docks of the Inner Harbour in downtown Victoria BC
  • Festival takes place on Labour Day weekend
  • Admission by donation

Esquimalt Ribfest

Saucy, Smokey, Divine Goodness!

One of the best traditions of fall is the Esquimalt Ribfest. And when you hear the word ribfest, you likely conjure up images of juicy, smokey, meaty deliciousness. But do you also see a brand-new community turf field and field house? The volunteers behind Esquimalt’s Ribfest certainly do and every year they are getting closer and closer to their own “field of dreams”.   

But first the ribs and festival behind the fundraising. 

If you are from Eastern Canada or US, you may be familiar with a rib festival. My hometown of London Ontario boasts that they are Canada’s first and biggest and the festival runs for 5 days over the August long weekend. They’ve been at it since 1985. Here in Esquimalt, they have been holding their event over 3 days in early September, since 2014. 

What Can You Expect at Ribfest?

Ribbers – professional chefs who specialize in preparing grilled meats – compete as a team against other teams of ribbers for coveted prizes such as Best Ribs, Best Sauce and People’s Choice. They generally use wood smokers with chips of cherry, hickory, apple or plum wood. Experienced ribbers may mix woods for their own unique blend. In addition, every team also has their own take on a top secret meat rub, sauce blend and smoking time. If you want to elevate your own grilling game, I highly recommend these spices and rubs from Triple Smoke made here on Vancouver Island in Shawnigan Lake.

Menus will feature pork and beef ribs and some vendors may also have a chicken option. But as the name implies, it’s mostly about the ribs. Saucy, smokey, divine goodness!

Of course, you’ll want some cold beverages to enjoy with those ribs and for guests 19+, there is a good variety of craft beers and ciders to choose from. 

What else is at the Esquimalt Ribfest Festival?

  • Great live music
  • Free kids’ activities
  • Variety of fair-type vendors (you’ve got to have mini-donuts at a festival, right?)

Although it is free to attend, this is a fund-raising event and donations are encouraged. After covering the costs of the event, all money raised goes to the Esquimalt Firefighters Charitable Foundation and the Esquimalt Ribfest Society. The money stays in the community and helps fund some local charities and some activities for the youth of the community.

Enter the field of dreams.One of the recipients of the proceeds is the group trying to bring an all-weather playing field (now known as Es-Whoy-Malth Community Field Collaboration) to E-town complete with lights for year-round use, a grandstand and field house with change rooms and washrooms.It is a lofty goal, but the momentum is building and so is the bank account. The project has collectively raised more than $330,000 and is now applying to various levels of government for additional funding. 

  • There are no pets, no smoking and no credit at the Esquimalt Ribfest – bring cash or access the ATM machines on site. 
  • The festival relies on volunteers. If you'd like to help out, be sure to contact them
  • Ribfest takes place at Bullen Park. 
  • September 8 to 10, 2023

Great Canadian Beer Festival

  • Canada's oldest craft beer festival, entertainment and food trucks
  • Located on the field at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria
  • 2023 dates to be announced

Luxton Fall Fair

  • Agricultural fair featuring various displays and exhibits, midway rides, games, handicrafts and product booths
  • Located on the Luxton Fair grounds located at 1019 Marwood Avenue in Metchosin
  • Admission by donation
  • September 23 to 24, 2023

Rifflandia

  • Live music festival featuring a variety of music on the stages at Royal Athletic Park (all ages) and various other venues throughout Victoria (some 19+)
  • September 14 to 17, 2023

Saanich Fair

  • Agricultural fair with a midway, games, food vendors, entertainment and a market
  • Located at the Saanich Fairgrounds at 1528 Stellys Cross Road, Saanichton
  • Free parking, pricing for fair admission and midway wristbands will be announced prior to the event 
  • 155th fair will take place September 2-4, 2023

Victoria Fringe Festival

  • 11 days of Indie theatre featuring local, national and international artists
  • Live events and shows at various venues throughout Victoria
  • End of August to Labour Day weekend
  • August 23, 2023 to September 3, 2023

Victoria Wine Festival

  • The Victoria Wine Festival is a much-anticipated annual event for the city's wine enthusiasts. Each year, vendors from around the globe gather in victoria to showcase wines of all kinds.
  • Sept 18–24, 2023
  • The Powerhouse, 2110 Store Street, Victoria, BC
  • 19+

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - October

Goldstream Salmon Run

  • Experience awesome mother nature with the never-disappointing annual salmon run at Goldstream Park
  • Thousands of salmon will return to the place of their birth to reproduce
  • Salmon begin returning in mid-October and will continue until early-December
  • Read more about Goldstream Provincial Park here

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - November

Festival of Trees

  • Trees are decorated by local businesses and organizations and on display in the Bay Centre, Victoria
  • You can donate or sponsor a tree in support of BC Children's Hospital 
  • Nov. 17, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023

Gingerbread Showcase

Every year, at the annual Gingerbread Showcase in Victoria, gingerbread house ideas are transformed into marvellous creations, all in support of Habitat for Humanity. The annual event is building a reputation as a premier family-friendly holiday tradition not to be missed.

Each year attracts more entries and more visitors and raises more money for Habitat for Humanity. In 2020 a whopping $102,000 was raised during the 7-week event, with all of it going directly to support build projects in Greater Victoria. 

Habitat for Humanity Victoria - Gingerbread Showcase
gingerbread17
gingerbread14
gingerbread10
gingerbread18

All photos credit: Habitat for Humanity Victoria - Gingerbread Showcase

And to help get the creative gingerbread house ideas flowing, the organizers of the Gingerbread Showcase designate a theme each year. Recent years have seen themes such as Around the World, Celebrating Canada, No Place Like Home and Come & Join Our Neighbourhood. The theme for 2022 is Magical. But the bakers aren’t restricted to make houses. In fact, they prefer to call them “creations”.

There are a few rules that all bakers – amateurs and professionals – must abide by:

  1. Each creation must be on a solid 24" x 24” plywood base that is provided.
  2. No part of the creation is allowed to extend over the edge of the base. 
  3. The creation must be a minimum of 18” in height (these are some serious dimensions!)
  4. Everything has got to be edible (except that plywood of course)
  5. You are responsible for getting it to the display location and setting it up (this is where Buddy from Cake Boss would come in handy – his team knows how to move creations without toppling them over!)

If you decide, heck I don’t want to just look at all these masterpieces, I want to participate and make my own, then there’s a few things you need to know.

  • First impressions matter – make yours a beauty. 
  • The judges will want to see your creativity and originality, how well you interpret the theme as well as your use of gingerbread.
  • They’ll want to see the techniques you used and skills you have demonstrated. 
  • And the baking engineers will be interested in the structural integrity of your creation. 

Awards will be given in areas such as the best professional and best amateur, best first impression and best interpretation of the theme.

Maybe you don’t want to enter the competition but just get a few ideas for some gingerbread baking with friends or family. The very best way to get inspired is to head out to the annual Gingerbread Showcase. In 2022 it is being held at  The Parkside Hotel and Spa from Saturday November 26, 2022 until Monday January 2, 2023

Get more gingerbread house ideas from some past years of the Gingerbread Showcase 201620172018, 2019.

Goldstream Salmon Run

  • Experience awesome mother nature with the never-disappointing annual salmon run at Goldstream Park
  • Thousands of salmon will return to the place of their birth to reproduce
  • Salmon begin returning in mid-October and will continue until early-December
  • Read more about Goldstream Provincial Park here

Santa Claus Parade

  • An evening parade with a new route beginning in 2022; parade begins in front of the Legislature on Government Street, and ends at Douglas and Fisgard Streets
  • November 24, 2022

Annual Events and Festivals in Victoria - December

Festival of Trees

  • Trees are decorated by local businesses and organizations and on display in the Bay Centre, Victoria
  • You can donate or sponsor a tree in support of BC Children's Hospital 
  • Nov. 17, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023

Gingerbread Showcase

see November for details

Goldstream Eagle Extravaganza

  • When the salmon run is over, the eagle show begins at Goldstream Provincial Park
  • Guaranteed "awe" is what you'll experience when you see hundreds of eagles in the trees and swooping overhead as they gorge on the leftover salmon carcasses
  • Early December until January
  • Read more about Goldstream Provincial Park here

Goldstream Salmon Run

  • Experience awesome mother nature with the never-disappointing annual salmon run at Goldstream Park
  • Thousands of salmon will return to the place of their birth to reproduce
  • Salmon begin returning in mid-October and will continue until early-December
  • Read more about Goldstream Provincial Park here

Lighted Truck Parade

  • Officially known as the IEOA (Island Equipment Owners Association) Annual Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive
  • The parade begins at Ogden Point and weaves its way through town, ending in the Western Communities
  • Visit the website for parade route and anticipated arrival times at major intersections

North Park Multicultural Festival & Community Skate

  • A celebration of culture and diversity with food, arts, crafts, performances and activities
  • Located at the Save On Foods Memorial Arena at 1925 Blanshard Street in Victoria
  • December 18, 2022 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • Sun, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Find tickets for shows, events and festivals in Victoria. 

When planning to attend some of the larger events and festivals in Victoria that draw crowds in the tens of thousands, it is important to have a strategy for when the show is over.

If you must drive, then parking several blocks away from the celebration area and bringing a wagon (we use ours for so many things and I love that it folds up for storage) or stroller works well. 

If you are taking BC Transit home, consider walking to one or two bus stops before where the large crowds are. You will have a better chance on getting on a bus before it gets too full to accept more passengers. It can sometimes be a lengthy wait (seemingly longer with children or in inclement weather) to get a bus after large events downtown. 

Our handy monthly guides will help you plan your visit to Victoria with everything you need to know about the weather, how to dress, foods in seasons and even more events listed for each month. 

Did we miss one of your favourite festivals and events? Use our Contact Us form to tell us about it and include photos if you have them. 

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