There are plenty of ways to spend the first day of the new year in Greater Victoria, including getting a head start on those exercise-related resolutions and taking in some live music.
Start the year off at the Lieutenant Governor of B.C.’s New Year’s Day Levee at Government House (1401 Rockland Ave.) with light refreshments and entertainment. They will be accepting donations for the Cridge Centre for the Family, cash preferred. Doors open at 10 a.m., music and remarks will begin around 11 a.m., and the event wraps up at noon.
The City of Victoria will also be holding a levee from 10 a.m. to noon at Victoria City Hall. Complimentary refreshments will be provided by Chef David Roger of Songhees Seafood & Steam, and musical entertainment will be performed by Hal Fraser on piano. Parking will be free downtown at city parkades and on-street meters on New Year’s Day.
The Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, located at 2775 Quadra St., is offering free admission on Jan. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The facility invites you to start the new year off with some fitness from noon to 1 p.m. with Fitness on the First, a full-body workout for anyone 13 years of age and older. The fitness centre will also host an Everyone Welcome Fun Swim from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
If you prefer your swims to be of the polar variety, Polar Bear swims are being held at Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood at 11:30 a.m., Whiffin Spit Park in Sooke at 11:30 a.m., Glass Beach near the end of Beacon Avenue at noon, Banfield Park in Victoria at noon, and Taylor Beach in Metchosin at 2 p.m.
In Oak Bay, enjoy a four-kilometre community walk with the Oak Bay mayor and council from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The procession will be leaving the Oak Bay Recreation Centre lobby at 12:30 p.m., with coffee and tea provided in the Upstairs Lounge from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Also at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre, locals can enjoy free fitness sessions including jazzercise class from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the indoor sports field, fitness studio orientations, 15-minute private tennis lessons from 1 to 3:30 p.m., an Everyone Welcome skate from 12:30 to 2 p.m., and pool access from noon to 4:30 p.m. Donations will be collected for Kid’s Sport on New Year’s Day.
For a green option, the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society is hosting a gathering at Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary and Nature House at 1772 Millstream Rd. A guided nature walk starts at 1 p.m., followed by a 20-minute presentation on what’s happening at the sanctuary, and Stories from the Land from 3 to 4 p.m. Mulled cider, herbal teas, and gourmet popcorn will be available. This event is free for members and children, and otherwise by donation.
Victoria Orienteering is holding the first race of the year in Beacon Hill Park from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Orienteering is a sport where participants find various checkpoints with only a map and compass. Membership is required for this event, so arrive early to fill out any paperwork. The cost is $8 per map, but only $5 for returning members and free for first-timers. For more information go to the New Year’s Day Orienteering Levee Facebook page.
For something more classical, consider having A Viennese New Year with Ballet Victoria and Victoria Symphony at the Farquhar at the University of Victoria. Singers join dancers for an afternoon of music and dance featuring the work of Johann Strauss. Tickets are $50 to $70 and can be found at victoriasymphony.ca.
For a quiet start to the new year, join Lanny Pollet on the flutes and recorders, and Denis Donnelly on the Irish harp and guitar at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria. Join them at at 5575 West Saanich Rd. from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to enjoy traditional acoustic music from many cultures with no announcements and no applause. Admission by donation.
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