Barb Stokes shows off her Halloween decorating talent on her Norma Court home in Esquimalt. This is the eighth year that Stokes has gone all out Halloweening her home.

Barb Stokes shows off her Halloween decorating talent on her Norma Court home in Esquimalt. This is the eighth year that Stokes has gone all out Halloweening her home.

Victoria promoted as Halloween destination

Local businesses are getting on board with Tourism Victoria’s initiative of turning the city into a Halloween tourist destination.

  • Oct. 28, 2015 6:00 a.m.

— Pamela Roth

Local businesses are getting on board with Tourism Victoria’s initiative of turning the city into a Halloween tourist destination.

For the last few weeks, Darlene Hollstein, general manager of the Bay Centre, has enjoyed watching people pass by the two windows on Fort Street that have “living portraits.”

The portraits, one of a man and another of woman, interact with viewers for about 20 minutes with moving eyes, scary faces and some gruesome moments.

“It’s super cool. It’s not for the young or weak at heart,” said Hollstein. “Victoria is well known for its excitement around Halloween and this is just part of it.”

The city also worked with local artist Steve Milroy to create ten black cats with solar powered illuminated eyes that were installed throughout the downtown core. Orange and green lights are also up on the trees of Government Street, and an interactive bat mural is housed at the visitor centre.

In addition, the Clipper overnight has a haunted Victoria Tour, the Delta is hosting outdoor movies, hotels are offering scary packages, and the Magnolia Hotel has done up a map for guests with haunted spots they can cycle to.

A festival-like atmosphere with kids booths, mazes, pumpkin carving and beer tasting took place around the Bay Centre on Sunday.

Victoria’s tourism industry enjoyed an unusually busy summer, with significant growth in hotel rates and revenue — in some cases the best in years. Year to date, occupancy is up 3.97 per cent and the average daily room rate is up $11.28. Tourism Victoria is now trying to build its off-season business as well.

“We’ve been working very systematically to build reasons for visitors to come in the off season,” said Tourism Victoria CEO Paul Nursey, noting the organization began its successful Christmas campaign about three of four years ago. Another initiative focused on romance is held in February.

“We haven’t had a strong off-season historically, but compared to the rest of Canada we’re a great destination to visit during the off season.”

Tourism Victoria started pushing Halloween tourism last year, and has been working with the local business community to make it bigger this year. Invitations were also sent out to travel writers and media to spread the word about the city’s spooktacular feel at this time of year. At least seven key journalists have visited Victoria in October.

So far, getting the business community on board with celebrating Halloween has been an easy sell. When asked why Hollstein wanted to be part of it, she replied:

“Why not? It’s just adding something extra for the families and consumers to participate in….We’re all kids at heart.”

For more information visit TourismVictoria.com/Halloween.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read