vancouver and victoria in december

Sep 9th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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vancouver and victoria in december

we are planning a trip to vancouver and victoria (and rest of vancouver island) in december, from dec 26-jan 1. what is the place like this time of the year? are the main tourist attractions open and is the weather bearable with warm winter clothing. there will be 4 of us in this trip and we're thinking of renting a car in vancouver and ferry it across to vancouver island to go victoria and the rest of the island and then ferry it back to vancouver before we catch our flight back to california. is this practical (or even economical?) thanks in advance for all you expert advice !
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 12:42 AM
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I live in Victoria. Usually at that time of year it is a few degrees above freezing. Certainly it is bearable with warm winter clothing. It is likely to be raining, especially in Vancouver and northern and western parts of Vancouver Island. Occasionally we have snow in December/January -- it's not likely, but you never know. You can't cover too much of Vancouver Island as well as Victoria and Vancouver in 6 days. I'd suggest seeing what you want in Vancouver, taking the ferry to Victoria, driving north to Parksville or further if you have the time and then taking the ferry from Nanaimo back to Vancouver.
marshybird is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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thank you for your input. i am starting to re think our vancouver/victoria destination. vancouver and victoria seem like nice cities to stroll around in-i've read about the butchart gardens, granville, gastown, chinatown but on a rainy winter day, we may not get the optimal experience to enjoy the place. we can handle cold weather, the wet is something to think about. please give me your candid feedback about the sensibility of us doing vancouver and victoria in late dec. none of us have been there before. thank you so much again for your input.
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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I live in Victoria; we moved here about a year ago. From our point of view the winters are very bearable indeed, having come from Toronto where winter weather can be very unpleasant. Having said that, in terms of the best time or even a good time to visit this part of the world, I'd suggest that winter doesn't quite make it. It rains a lot and that does interfere with enjoying the things you mention; both Victoria and Vancouver are such wonderful cities, and such a joy to walk around, that it would be a shame for your first trip to be spoiled by rain and chill. We have lots of friends from Toronto that want to come and visit us, and we generally suggest that they avoid the winter months if they can. Spring, summer, and fall are glorious here; winter is less than glorious and my own personal feeling (others may certainly differ) is that British Columbia deserves to be seen at its best.
Meesthare is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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thank you for your candid feedback. i looked at hawaii for possible destination - it is sooooo expensive, we might as well go to london or spend a week somewhere in europe. my challenge is, we don't have much flexibility with dates. my mom (she's a young 71)is visiting from the philippines and we would like to take her somewhere she's not been to. she's been to las vegas (many times), arizona, new york, northern calif. you got any suggestions? thanks again for your candid feedback. your input about vancouver in december might have some us a lot of disappointment and $$$.
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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i meant "might have saved us" a lot of disappointment and $$.
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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It may not be the best time but there are some advantages to off season travel. The plus side of rain is that it's warmer for wandering around Butchart Gardens, which is all lit up at Christmastime. (In December you visit it at night for the lights, not in the daytime.) They even supply umbrellas. Otherwise you might find it bitterly cold. And the Empress Hotel in Victoria will be filled with decorated Christmas trees and the afternoon tea should be cheaper than in the summer. The museum is a good choice any time but especially if the weather is not so great.

But then, London or somewhere else in Europe would be fun too.
April is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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oh, thanks for your feedback. i'd like to hear the "plus" side too. to your point, i thought of going to vancouver bec the fare and hotel rates seemed reasonable in dec. i saw a picture of the lit up victoria (at one the travel guide books) in dec and it looked pretty-like a christmas village. now back to my original plan, would you say the chance for rain is 50-50? i am very much willing to take a chance if this is the case (i'm a bit of a risk-taker).
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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I don't know what the risk would be. It can rain for days and days, although this year has been extremely dry.

As for visiting other parts of Vancouver Island, I wouldn't make definite plans for that. The highway north over the Malahat can be frosty or snow in fast. (Of course, it can be completely dry and clear.) Also, in regards to returning to Vancouver for the flight out, I would give a day's leeway. Sometimes ferries are cancelled due to winds.
April is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 03:30 PM
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Vancouver will also have lots of Christmas events going on (festival of christmas trees etc). Saying that, it is a very real possibility that it will rain your entire trip. Some years are drier than others, last year it rained all of Dec and Jan, pretty much without a break. It is a beautiful city though, even in the rain!
jamikins is online now  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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I was raised about a hour south of Vancouver, over the U.S./Canada border and spent many Christmas and New Year holidays in Vancouver and Victoria. The winter rain is not a downpour, it is more misty, but it can last for a few days. It is entirely possible to get out and do things in the rain with a warm sweater, water-proof shoes and a rain coat. You can stop for hot tea or hot coffee to warm up, visit museums, art galleries, go shopping, linger in bookstores. The hills and mountains are beautiful with the rain clouds drifting across them and the foggy mist plays around the islands and coves. It can also be sunny, clear and cold, too.

With a good coat and waterproof shoes, I wouldn't hesitate to visit Vancouver and Victoria during the holidays - it is always beautiful and there are lots of ways to keep warm and happy.

Best Regards,
juliaelzie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:52 PM
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A side note...Butchart Gardens has a Twelve Days of Christmas display with everything from the partridge in the pear tree to the twelve whatevers. Very impressive...they do a great job.
Bobmrg is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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thanks to all of your responses. i'm now back to planning a vancouver vacation. would you suggest that we stayed one night in victoria and return to vancouver the next day? i checked hotel rates in victoria, the rates i saw at cheaphotels are actually very reasonable. around $80-100 CAD for the category that's acceptable to us.
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 08:36 PM
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I am glad you are going to visit our beautiful province. I would definitely book at least two nights in Victoria. It is charming at Christmas. You would be disappointed I think if you didn't spend at least two nights there. As someone who lived most of my life in Vancouver and have spent 15 years in Victoria I can tell you that the rainfall is not nearly as bad in Victoria as Vancouver so you stand a better chance there if it should be a rainy time. The other thing is you could be lucky and have sunny warmer weather. I have experienced snow, rain and 60 degree temperatures at Christmas over the years.(in fact we spent a Christmas in Orange County visiting my brother and it was warmer in Vancouver that year. You might be lucky and get one of those beautiful warmer dry times. I know you will enjoy yourselves whatever the weather.
traveller69 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Hi anaheimwoman,

I go to Vancouver 20 to 25 times a year, during almost all months, and I generally advise that such a trip is a good alternative.

HOWEVER, while the rest of us express belief that the "weather is not THAT cold" (etc, etc)... I think that YOU should be hearing in our words the idea that a southern California woman will be QUITE COLD in Vanc. or Victoria in late Dec.

That means "dress very warmly" in your terms, even if on the very odd day/year we can reach 60 degrees along about that time. (almost no real chance of that happening, and almost surely it would come with gloomy rain and a chill in the air if it did)

I was in Vancouver this last Super Bowl Sunday and the weather was crystal clear and the scenery stunning. Merely driving around town that day afforded a number of picturesque settings.

Hopefully gas prices will continue to fall and you will be able to afford lots of drive time to give your mom the full sense of the place.

It isn't like you'll be hell bent on looking for Canadian food or anything... (have you ever in your life addressed anyone who approached you and said: "where can I find a good Canadian restaurant?")

Bring your mom up to Vancouver and envision a trip which entails a great deal of driving around to see the sites and routine stops to visit specific places.

For added emphasis: the wet weather up here will put a CHILL in your bones like you never get down south when it is pouring, and the freeway exit ramps are swamps for an hour or two, and every idiot on the road thinks that ramming on the brakes is helping them to navigate in the wet weather.

Just dress warmly, and yes, put a "50/50" possibility on rain on any given day... it could be a bit cooler and be incredibly sunny out with no rain as well... (shrug)

NorthwestMale is offline  
Sep 11th, 2006, 09:13 PM
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mr northwest,
thanks for your candid feedback. we're going to vancouver in our full cold weather battle regalla (thermals and all)i think you have the right image in mind, i've lived in so calif all my life and have the pores and skin layer adapted to mild climate. i remeber visiting in laws in calgary in march 2 yrs ago. we californians were freezing to death, our canadian relatives are dressed in short sleeved shirts and shorts enjoying what they call chinook(sp?) and my mom from the philippines, who's used to 90-120 degrees, with 80% humidity. she'll have to wear 10 layers of clothing. this may sound funny to those who are used to cold climates but then again we laugh at our relatives from the philippines who come to the US during spring months ( april-may ) and are freezing to death in a balmy 60-70 degree weather.
anaheimwoman is offline  
Sep 13th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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