The holiday season officially kicked off on Saturday night, as the 39th annual Peninsula Co-op Santa Light Parade made its way through downtown Victoria.
Despite a downpour, hundreds of dedicated onlookers lined Government Street as more than 50 floats and groups made their way from the parliament buildings to Chatham Street.
Emergency vehicles from around Greater Victoria, boats, trucks, tractors and motorcycles lit up the streets with their Christmas lights while onlookers young and old cheered on.
Bands of all sorts marched without skipping a beat and dancers paused occasionally to show off their moves while volunteers handed out candy canes and even a few small pizzas to children who eagerly stretched out their arms.
The parade was the first since the pandemic started, and organizers extended its route by several blocks on the advice of Island Health to provide more room for physical distancing.
With the streets lined solid as far as the eye could see and smiles on nearly every face, it was clear Victoria was happy to have the holiday tradition return.
Of course, the biggest smiles and cheers were saved for the parade’s last and most important float.
With his sleigh perched atop a float with modifications including a much-needed umbrella, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus officially arrived for the holiday season with smiles, waves and even some singing of Christmas carols for the crowds.
The parade marks the start of the broader Light up the City holiday initiative, which also includes the Island Equipment Owners Association Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive, which leaves Ogden Point on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 5 p.m. and winds its way around the region, landing at Westshore Motorsports Park for 8:30 p.m.
Festivities continue with the Esquimalt Celebration of Lights on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. The parade starts from Canteen Road and makes its way up Esquimalt Road to Esquimalt Plaza, where attendees can grab a hot dog from the Lions Club and join in carolling with school choirs.
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