For those looking for a Christmas destination that still has the cozy feeling that only the âGreat White North' can provide, Vancouver Island has a wide variety of seasonal activities and festive accommodations available.
From a traditional Christmas dinner with ocean views in Oak Bay and a gingerbread house building competition along Victoria's Inner Harbour, to world-class cold-water surfing in Tofino and downhill skiing in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island offers four very different Christmas experiences: A traditional Christmas in Oak BayThe Oak Bay Beach Hotel is offering two festive accommodation packages for guests visiting family and friends in town or celebrating the holidays at the hotel. For the month of December, the Holiday Bed and Breakfast Package features three nights in an elegantly appointed room, a full English breakfast each morning, daily wine tasting, complimentary valet parking, use of the seaside mineral pools, steam sauna and fitness centre, and a take-home memento. The package starts at $350 Cdn per person based on double occupancy. An extra person is $195 and the cost of the package for a single person is $582. On top of the room nights, services and amenities included in the bed and breakfast package, for those staying between Dec. 23 and 26, 2012, the Christmas Holiday Package includes a Christmas Eve buffet dinner and an evening tour of The Butchart Gardens, a Christmas Day grand brunch and a traditional four-course Christmas Day dinner. The Christmas Holiday Package starts at $600 Cdn per person, based on double occupancy. An extra person is $451 and the cost of the package for a single person is $838. Guests of Oak Bay Beach Hotel can make their stay extra special as âHarmony for Christmasâ featuring Stan Davis and Friends will bid a warm welcome to the holiday season with an original musical comedy. Enjoy âHarmony for Christmasâ in the David Foster Foundation Theatre, while tucking in to a three-course dinner. Tickets to the December âHarmony for Christmasâ dinner theatre performances are $89 Cdn per person, while tickets to the Dec. 16 & 23, 2012 matinee and Afternoon Tea are $69 per person. Prices do not include taxes and gratuities.A festive feast for the eyes and the stomach in VictoriaInn at Laurel Point is throwing down the piping bag and issuing a challenge to pastry chefs, cake creators, cookie decorators and cupcake architects across the country: start contemplating your gingerbread house design in anticipation of the annual Canada's National Gingerbread Showcase.Professionals and amateurs are invited to go head-to-head in their respective categories to create the most elaborate, decorative gingerbread creations using 100 per cent edible ingredients. First, second and third places will be awarded by an expert judging panel. Heading into the fourth year, Inn at Laurel Point is upping the icing sugar with the goal of creating a national event that attracts gingerbread house builders from across the country. Not only will this create an even bigger feast for the eyes and the imagination, it will also support a very worthy cause â Habitat for Humanity Victoria and its efforts to make affordable homeownership possible for low-income families living in the Victoria region.All gingerbread houses are displayed on-site following the competition where the public is invited to view the creations and, in exchange for a donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria, vote for their favourite. The showcase will be launched Nov. 24, 2012 and the gingerbread houses are on display until Jan. 1, 2012. Last year's showcase had a record 25 entries and raised more than $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity Victoria.As part of the showcase, Inn at Laurel Point is offering a Gingerbread Package from Nov. 24, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013 that includes one-night accommodation; a special gingerbread welcome amenity; gingerbread dessert for two in AURA; and complimentary parking. The package starts at $124 Cdn plus taxes, based on double occupancy and subject to availability.And, straight from the North Pole, Santa Claus will be enjoying Sunday brunch at Inn at Laurel Point throughout December. Kids are invited to bring their parents along where they can eat, meet and snap a photo with the man in red. Prices for the Santa Claus brunch series are $39 Cdn for adults, $30 Cdn for seniors (65 and wiser) and children 6 - 10 are $19.50 Cdn.A surfing and storm watching paradise in TofinoLeave the stresses and snow of the holiday season behind and join Long Beach Lodge Resort on the beach and in the water. Tofino is known for its world-class winter surfing, and Long Beach Lodge Resort is situated on one of the top beaches for big winter swells. Experienced surfers can don a wetsuit, hood and booties before tackling the big waves and cool water and take advantage of the Surf Club Centre, a fully equipped building where guests can change, shower, decompress, and even warm up in a private hot tub and sauna following their out on the waves. For those that prefer to remain warm and dry, Long Beach Lodge Resort is also well-situated for storm watching from the cozy, comfort of an ocean view room or the Great Room.Celebrate the season with Long Beach Lodge Resort's 12 Drinks of Christmas, Dec. 24, 2012 to Jan. 4, 2012; this event features a new cocktail each day, paired with fresh-baked Christmas goodies served in the iconic Great Room. Long Beach Lodge Resort will also be serving a traditional Christmas dinner with a West Coast flare; New Year's Eve offers another scrumptious meal with two sittings. During the holiday season, accommodation in a beachfront lodge room, the majority of which have spectacular ocean views and fireplaces, starts at $199 Cdn based on double occupancy; or a rainforest cottage featuring two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a living area with gas fireplace, and a hot tub, start at $449 Cdn based on quad occupancy. And, for those who book this Tofino Tidings package prior to Nov. 20, 2012 will receive a special early booking discount; and, the longer a guest stays, the less they pay. A winter wonderland at Mount Washington Alpine ResortWhite Christmas enthusiasts can enjoy the plethora of snow-based activities at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, from world-class skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing, there is a snowy activity for every member of the group. With an average snow fall of 1,150 cm, Mount Washington Alpine Resort anticipates a Dec. 7, 2012 opening day and the opening of night skiing to start Dec. 20, 2012. Mount Washington Alpine Resort will be celebrating the holiday season with a non-denominational Christmas Eve service; a Pepsi Torchlight Parade and fireworks on Boxing Day (viewable from the Alpine Lodge); and New Year's Eve events for the whole family including a family carnival with games, entertainment and food, an Ozone Tube Park party and a adults-only bash at Fat Teddy's Bar & Grill. As Mount Washington gears up for the holiday season, several Comox Valley properties are offering rates, many with Ski & Stay packages starting from $84 Cdn. Properties include the Anco Motel; Travelodge Courtenay; Best Western Plus: The Westerly Hotel; Old House Village Hotel & Spa; Crown Isle Resort; Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa; The Cona Hostel; and The Riding Fool Hostel. While the alpine receives substantial snowfall, the Comox Valley remains mild enough to feature golf year round. Golf packages start at $92 Cdn based on double occupancy, with six courses to choose from. And, the truly adventurous can create a custom Ski & Golf Package. For more information call the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre at 1-855-400-2882.-30-Note to editors: High resolution photos are available.Media Contacts: Brian Cant, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-896-3844 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org Kate Rogers, Tartan Group: 604-682-8811, 604-880-1494 (cell) or email@example.com