Victoria Day and May Events 2023
Posted by Niels Madsen on
May is an exciting month in Victoria, with plenty of events and activities to enjoy, from art to music to festivals. One of the main highlights is Victoria Day, a statutory holiday commemorating Queen Victoria’s birthday, who of course the city is named after. Take a look at our curated list of top things to do in May and experience the best of what the city has to offer!
Beach Food Weekends
Where: Esquimalt Lagoon
When: Weekends May - September
Website: All Dates
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, head to the Lagoon Beach along Ocean Boulevard in Colwood for eats from your favourite local food trucks in the fresh air by the ocean between noon and 7pm. Starting in May there will be live local music on Saturday evenings from 5 to 7pm on our rustic beach stage near the bird sculptures and portable washroom building.
Victoria Beer Week
Where: Various Venues
When: May 5 -13
Cost: Various Fees
Website: Ticket Info
Victoria Beer Week is a week-long festival showcasing BC craft breweries in unique event settings across Greater Victoria. With a focus on education and diverse craft beer selection, VBW 2023 will feature more than 50 BC craft breweries. Victoria Beer Week launched back in 2014, it has since become a successful annual festival creating craft beer ambassadors out of regular beer consumers.
King Charles III’s Coronation Afternoon Tea Experience
Where: Fairmont Empress
When: May 6
Website: Coronation Specials
To celebrate King Charles III’s coronation, we’re hosting a special afternoon tea featuring our finest scones, clotted cream & jam, savouries, sandwiches, and delectable desserts. On Saturday May 6 we’ll be pouring the king’s favourite Darjeeling tea, served with milk & honey. Take your time in the elegant Lobby Lounge, an airy space that channels turn-of-the-century elegance with modern refinement. Guests will be served a special macaron decorated with the official emblem of the king’s coronation and receive a commemorative menu to take home as a keepsake to celebrate this momentous occasion.
Emergency Preparedness Fair 2023
Where: West Shore Parks & Recreation
When: May 7
The Victoria area has a 32% probability of a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years. Now is the time to make sure you and your family are prepared for a power outage, earthquake or tsunami. The Regional Emergency Preparedness Fair is a fun and informative way to learn more about how to be prepared for emergencies and about the many emergency resources available in our area. Check out cool emergency vehicles, equipment and emergency supplies as well as interactive activities for the kids, food vendors, giveaways, draws and more. Everyone welcome!
Hills to Shore Studio Tour
Where:Various Points in Saanich
When: May 13 - 14
Website: See Map
Now in its 16th year, the Hills to Shore Artists Tour is a free, self-guided tour of artwork in artists’ studios across the Gordon Head, Mt. Tolmie and Cadboro Bay areas of Saanich. It is held over two days, May 13 and 14 from 11 AM to 4 PM. Bring mom for a Mother’s Day outing and shop original paintings, fabric art, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, and garden art. Chat with the artists and watch them work. Many surprises are in store, including free draws.
Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour
Where: Various locations
When: May 13 -14
Cost: $40 for two-day passes
Website: Victoria Conservatory of Music
Join us for this beloved community event celebrating mothers, music, and our rich garden culture right here in the city of gardens. Now in its 41st year, we feature eight springtime garden gems from all over Greater Victoria. Each one unique and sure to inspire. Two-day passes are $40 (plus service charges where applicable) and include exclusive access to each garden and to our plant sale! It’s a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day while supporting the VCM’s efforts to keep music education, performance, and wellness thriving in Victoria.
Ilinca Ghibu "Exhibition of New Paintings"
Where: West End Gallery
When: May 13 - 25
Cost: Free to Browse
Ilinca Ghibu presents her premiere exhibition in Victoria. Using a unique floral language that characterizes her process, Ilinca's style is expressive, spontaneous and colourful. Her brushstrokes and her palette are the tangible results of her imagination. Painting flowers is an excuse to explore materials and techniques following her emotions, experiences, and moods.
Luxton Spring Fair
Where: Luxton Grounds
When: May 18 - 21
Cost: Free Grounds Admission, Wristbands $45.00 per day
The next Luxton Spring Fair is held over the Victoria Day long weekend, and will feature a wide range of exhibits, demonstrations and a midway, as well as vendors and great fair food!
Emily Carr Walk, Talk, Lunch & Learn in the Morning
Where: James Bay Inn Hotel
When: May 20, 10:00 am
When Emily Carr wasn't travelling to Haidi Gwaii, San Francisco, England, Brittany, Cornwall and France to attend art schools or giving drawing classes to children in Vancouver, she spent the rest of her life in various residences within four blocks of each other where her three eldest sisters also lived. Emily died three blocks from where she was born at Carr House, now a national and provincial historic site. Put on some comfortable shoes and come to experience the life, art and legacy of Emily Carr. We'll check out the House of All Sorts where Emily unhappily ran a rooming house from 1916 - 1935 and the historic houses where her two eldest sisters lived. Emily wrote short autobiographical stories of these residences that we can keep in mind when we them.
Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival
Where: Topaz Park
When: May 20 - 21
Cost: Free for children under 12, $15 to $35 for one to two day passes, and age dependent
Website: Ticket Info
The Victoria Highland Games is a family-focused weekend of Scottish and Celtic arts and culture including pipe band competitions, Scottish Highland dancing competitions, Heavy Events (e.g. caber toss, hammer throw), Scottish country dancing, fiddling performances, Scottish/Celtic and folk music bands, Scottish Clan and genealogy booths and displays, historic military demonstrations and displays, Scottish/Celtic food and merchandise vendors. For adults 19 and over there is a Single Malt Whisky School and a Wine Tasting School. There is also an excellent line up of local Celtic bands performing at the Celtic Music Tent. There is a large FREE children’s entertainment area.
Victoria Day Douglas Mile
Where: Summit / Douglas Street
When: May 22 at 8:45 am
Cost: $25 or $30 registration fee for adults, $20 or $25 for youth or seniors
Website: Contact Info
The Victoria Day Douglas Mile is your opportunity to run or walk down Douglas Street starting at Summit & Douglas to the finish line at City Hall in front of the Victoria Day Parade. Note: All participants must be able to finish the Mile distance within 25 minutes. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 finishers for men and women donated by the Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club. There will be post event awards, draw prizes and snacks/drinks in Centennial Square beside City Hall immediately after the event.
Victoria Day Parade
Where: Douglas Street
When: May 22
Cost: Free to watch
The Thrifty Foods 123rd Victoria Day Parade presented by CHEK TV on Monday May 22, 2023 starting at 9am - Douglas and Finlayson to Douglas and Courtney. The Greater Victoria Festival Society will host a world class event showcasing our diverse cultures and celebrating "That 70's Parade)with various business and non-profit organizations. We are thrilled to be back and we dedicate 2023 to all of YOU!
The Victoria Historical Society’s May Talk
Where: James Bay New Horizons
When: May 25, 7:30pm
Cost: $5 or free for VCH members,
Dr. Jordan Stanger Ross and Dr. Michael Abe, Past Wrongs, Future Choices: Japanese History in Canada. What do we owe each other in times of crisis? The University of Victoria has served as the hub of two major partnerships –Landscapes of Injustice (2014-22) and now Past Wrongs, Future Choices (2022-29) — focussed on the mistreatment of people of Japanese heritage (Nikkei) during the 1940s. Canada was not alone in causing needless harm to Nikkei civilians. Allied countries across the Pacific conflated race and citizenship, interning, incarcerating, and expelling innocent civilians. Democratic societies fell into the abyss of racism at home, even as they fought fascism abroad. In this talk you’ll learn about efforts to address this history in Canada, as well as Canadian leadership of an international team asking how we might learn from the past to build more just futures.
Sealion Medieval Market Demo
Where: Heritage Acres Main Field
When: May 26 - 28
Cost: $10, under 19 free
Website: Tourism Victoria
Medieval Market with a Demo from the local branch of the SCA. The SCA is a non-profit worldwide organization with over 60,000 people who re-create the Middle Ages from 600 to 1600 AD through songs, dance, clothing, weaving, combat, archery, metalworking and much more. Honour, chivalry and courtly love are valued highly in our society. We bring our knowledge, skills and love of history together in a safe and fun environment for all to enjoy.
Where: Centennial Square
When: May 26 - 28
Website: More Info
Africa Fest strives to promote an environment in which all Canadians take full advantage of dynamic cultural experiences, celebrate African histories, and heritage, and participate in building creative communities in which all Canadians are welcome to experience and learn through dynamic cultural experiences and exchanges. The active celebration and honouring of African histories and heritage is a medium whereby we can all participate in building creative communities. Africa Fest contributes to British Columbia's and Victoria's communities by emphasizing the importance of African and Caribbean arts, culture, and heritage.
Celebrating Home - Civic Orchestra of Victoria
Where: Dave Dunnet Community Theatre
When: May 27, 2:00 pm
Cost: $10 - $25
The Civic Orchestra of Victoria presents Celebrating Home - a concert which offers a selection of works written by composers about their own countries. Together we will take a journey viewing the homelands of Sibelius, Dvořák, Coulthard, and Brahms through their own musical interpretations. In Prayer for Elizabeth by Jean Coulthard one may even find a nod to Canada and our own history.
Where: Cadboro-Gyro Park
When: May 28
The MS community is built by the support and connections made by participating in MS Walk. However, you choose to walk, know that your participation and fundraising moves us closer to meeting today’s challenges and finding tomorrow’s answers for all Canadians living with MS.
Oak Bay Half Marathon, Relay, 10km & Dairyland Kids 1km
Where: Windsor Park
When: May 28
Cost: Various Registration Fees
Website: Racer Info
The half marathon will start at 8:00am at Windsor Park. After winding its way through the charming downtown core and historic residential setting of Oak Bay, the course loops out and back along the scenic seaside route of Beach Dr and finishes back at Windsor Park. The course is certified. Walkers are more than welcome to join the Oak Bay Half Marathon fun and festivities. Walkers and runners who plan to take over 2hrs 30min now have an option to start at 7am. Every finisher of the half-marathon, 10k & relay will receive a souvenir medal. Kids run finishers will receive finisher ribbon.