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Last updated October 2, 2020

COVID-19 Update & Press Releases

October 2, 2020 Update

Here is an Update from the Ministry of Health that Repeals and Replaces orders from October 30, 2020 with respect to gatherings and events and confirms oral orders of November 7, 2020 with respect to banquet halls and liquor sales.

The Society is monitoring these changes and has sought clarification from the province with regard to our event structure. We will update our findings accordingly.

Here is our Press Release dated October 1, 2020



The organizers of the Greater Victoria Festival Society 39th Annual Santa Claus Parade and the Island Equipment Owners Association 22nd Annual Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive are sad to announce the CANCELLATION of both of the much loved events for 2020.

The past couple of weeks Wendy Watt, the Manager of the IEOA and Kelly Kurta, the Executive Director of the GVFS have had several conversations on the logistics and facilitation of these much loved annual Christmas events for Greater Victoria. With the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic and the inability to safely host our amazing crowds we had to make the decision to not go ahead with the events as we know them, for this year. Our respective Boards of Director’s priorities are to protect the public, the participants and the volunteers and do our part to keep our local community safe.

One of the positive things that comes out of situations like this is that “we adapt and change.” We have done just that and both the GVFS and the IEOA agree that we need to support our community and to continue the purpose of these events which is to raise funds, food donations and toys for our local food banks. This year especially we need to be #Inittogetheryyj and join forces to help fill the shelves of our local donation centers and brighten our community as best we can with the magic of the holiday season.

The Greater Victoria Festival Society will host a 5 week “Light Up The City” campaign beginning the day of the original Santa Claus Parade; November 28 through January 3, 2021.

Event organizers in the city are pooling their resources and collaborating together to coordinate a set of drive through drop off events every Saturday in the ‘core’ municipalities of Greater Victoria. We will accept non-perishable food, new toys and cash donations to pass along to our local food banks, Salvation Army, and Toy Banks. Drive through events will have Santa and Mrs. Claus to wave at, Convoy trucks aglow, music, and more to enjoy as you drive through and drop off your donations. Social distancing practices will be in place at all drop offs. Chek TV and our local media supporters will be your source for information as the details are finalized.

The Greater Victoria Festival Society is also bringing back the Christmas Lighting Contest throughout all 13 municipalities! We will have winners in each ‘core’ municipality and the prizes will be epic! The categories will include homes, apartment/condos, local businesses, community organizations and first nations. “Light Up The City” will be just that! We want everyone to enjoy the glow of Christmas and we could not think of a better way than to ask everyone to show us their spirit and decorate with lights!

Stay tuned for more information about “Light Up The City” campaign over the next few weeks.

We are so excited to see you at a donation drop off location soon!

Yours in kindness,
Kelly Kurta, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Festival Society

Wendy Watt, Manager, Island Equipment Owners Association

March 19, 2020 Update:

It is with a heavy heart the Greater Victoria Festival Society, following the announcement from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Health, have officially cancelled the 122nd Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, the 2nd Annual Douglas Mile and the Festival of Bands, scheduled for May 16, 17, and 18th, 2020.

These are unprecedented times. This is the 1st time in 12 decades of the Parade that it has been cancelled. The 122nd Annual event sees close to 100,000 people lined along the Douglas Street Parade Route, and is the largest event in the City,

The Greater Victoria Festival Society is a non profit organization. The Victoria Day Parade and weekend festivities are the highlight of the Victoria Events Scene, the largest event in the City, and the longest standing parade in Canada. The financial impact of the cancellation is considerable. The May long weekend has 1000 hotel rooms booked for participants alone, not including the thousands of Islanders, Canadians and out of country tourists that descend on the Capital city. Millions of dollars are brought into the City during this weekend.

We are asking our current entries to please be patient with us and in lieu of a refund asking if they consider allowing their entry fee to stand for the 2021 parade. This will help support our organization during these challenging times.

So many people work hard throughout the year to put this event together. In fact, we start planning for the following year, the day after the parade ends.

As a way to thank all our registrants and volunteers, and to keep the spirit of the parade alive, we are setting up a “Virtual Parade.” We want our Canadian and American bands, our multicultural performers, floats, and walking groups to send us your videos, or your pictures of one of your past performances so we can put together a fun, “122nd Island Farms Victoria Salutes Sport Virtual Parade.” We will give out ‘prizes’ for the top bands and the top entries and performances! What is your favorite part of the Victoria Day Parade? Join in some fun while staying at home!

Stay tuned as we will be hosting an online Easter contest as we did with our St Patrick’s Day coloring contest!

We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19. The Greater Victoria Festival Society is making every effort to protect our community. Social distancing and event cancellation is one way we can help take a proactive approach and ‘flatten the curve.’

Thank you to our amazing Community! We will see you again soon!

Nothing on the horizon, sorry!


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  • Capital City of British Columbia
  • Greater Victoria Population 370K
  • Serves as the metropolitan core for a region of 360,000
  • Incorporated on August 2, 1862
  • Over 3 million visitors annually
  • Average of 2,183 hours of sunshine each year
  • Average rainfall is 66.5 centimetres per year
  • 1,600 signature hanging baskets displayed each summer

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