Spring Things to do with Toddlers: Festivals & Events in Victoria

I’ve mentioned before how my husband, daughter and I love to go on weekend adventures. We head out first thing in the morning (well “first thing” for a family with a toddler!), as soon as we can all get dressed and packed up. Then we return back home in time for Baby E’s afternoon nap. Although recently it looks like Baby E might be getting ready to drop her nap (mixed emotions about that)!

I am constantly on the lookout for events, festivals and activities that we can explore. Maybe it’s my background as a teacher, but I love to research and plan outings. I search online for event listings and info, and add them all to our phone calendars. Then we see which events we can make it to. That might sound a bit crazy, and it does take a bit of work to gather everything .. but we really love exploring new events around town, so it’s worth it! I’ve found a bunch of Spring events (April through June) and I thought I would share what I have put together. Just in case anyone living in the Sidney/Victoria area might be interested! I have never been to a number of the events listed here, so I can’t vouch for them just yet. But I am excited to check them out! I will note the events that we have taken Baby E to in the past.

As I come across new events, I’ll add them to this list. I’m planing to do another post for summer when it gets closer (it feels close, with the sunshine this week!)

Spring Events & Festivals (April – June 2016):

Children Count Resource Fair, 10am-1pm
Held at Brentwood Elementary School, this event is for children ages 0-6. This free event will include: displays and information about community services for families and children, story-time, music, arts and crafts, bouncy castle, snacks, and much more.

NatureHood Storytime: Birds, Beaks & Babies, 10:30-11:30am
This free event is held at the Sidney-North Saanich Library, and will include story time and activities for children. Recommended for children ages 3-5, but open to everyone.

SUNDAY APRIL 17th, 2016
Saanich Cycling Festival, 11am-3pm
This free event has 8 celebration sites, but the main one will be located at Saanich Hall on Vernon Avenue. This site will have: a bike rodeo, stage entertainment, cycling obstacle course, bike parade, face painting, giant board game, bouncy castle, and more.

MAY through OCTOBER, 2016
Moss Street Market, Saturdays 10am-2pm
The market is always a fun place to wander around on a sunny Saturday!  You can find various fresh fruits/veggies/crafts/art for sale, yummy lunch options, and even a kids tent with crafts and activities.

SATURDAY MAY 7th, 2016
NatureHood Storytime: What’s Under the Rock?, 10:30am-11:30am
This event will include storytime and exploration of the rocks and tidal pools. Bring suitable shoes for getting wet! Recommended for children ages 3-5, but open to everyone. Meet at the Scuba Diver statue above Glass Beach on the Sidney waterfront.

SATURDAY MAY 7th, 2016
Island Savings Family Sport & Recreation Festival, 11am-3pm
This is a free event designed to inspire families to be active, and give children and parents the chance to try out new activities (rock climbing, tennis, rugby, zip-lining, and more).

SUNDAY MAY 8th, 2016
Mother’s Day Paint-In and Craft Fair, 10am-4pm
This is an outdoor festival held at Royal Rhodes/Hatley Park, and it’s always a fun day. The festival features artists, entertainers, food, and kids activities and crafts. We have been in the past, and enjoyed exploring the park and all of the activities and vendors.

THURSDAY – SUNDAY MAY 12th – 15th, 2016
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days, varied hours
Buccaneer Days has events for all ages, including: a midway, dance, free entertainment, kids zone, parade, and more.

FRIDAY – SUNDAY MAY 2oth – 22nd, 2016
Victoria International Kite Festival, varied hours
This event is held at Clover Point in Victoria, and includes activities such as: Kites with Lights, professional kite fliers, open skies, kids activities, food village, kids kite making zone ($3 charge), and more.

SATURDAY – MONDAY MAY 21st – 23rd, 2016
Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival, 8am-7pm Sat/Sun & 9am-5pm Mon
This (paid) event is held at Topaz Park, and highlights include: Celtic music and entertainment, children’s entertainment area, food court, falconry and medieval sword demos, Heavy Event Challenge, sheep herding, and much more. We have taken Baby E to this event in the past, and there was so much for her to see and enjoy. We loved the duck herding!

MONDAY MAY 23rd, 2016
Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, 9am-11am
This 2 hour parade is my very favorite parade of the year! We took Baby E to this parade 2 years ago, and she was absolutely mesmerized – for the entire 2 hours! The parade has wonderful music (Canadian and American marching bands), tons of floats, cultural shows, clowns, and performers. It begins at Mayfair Mall and continues along Douglas Street, ending at the intersection of Douglas Street and Humboldt Street.

SATURDAY MAY 28th, 2016
Selkirk Waterfront Festival, 10am-3pm
This is a small but fun festival that includes rides, a Family Fun Zone, international food court, and street market (complete with arts and crafts). We have been to this event in the past, and although small, Baby E has enjoyed wandering around and checking out all of the activities.

SATURDAY – SUNDAY JUNE 4th – 5th, 2016
Oak Bay Tea Party, 7:00am-9pm Saturday and 7:00am-7:00pm Sunday
It’s been years since I’ve been to this event, but it is advertised to include: a parade (Saturday at 10:30am), entertainment on the stage, a midway, kayak rides, children’s activities, bath tub race, and much more.

What’s That Ask a Nat, drop-in event 10am-1pm
Held at Island View Beach Regional Park, this is a drop-in event where you can borrow dip nets and explore the tidal pools and marine life. CRD Regional Park Naturalists will be on hand to help identify the critters that you find!

SATURDAY JUNE 4th, 2016? (date not yet advertised)
Brentwood Bay Festival
The Brentwood Bay Festival is typically held on the 1st Saturday of June, and includes a pancake breakfast, parade, entertainment, face painting, farmer’s market, and more. We have been to this event with Baby E before, and enjoyed exploring everything that was available for families.

SUNDAY JUNE 5th, 2016 *New Addition*
World Oceans Day, 11am-5pm
World Oceans Day is being held at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, and is “a day to celebrate the oceans that surround us, educate people of the diversity of marine life in the Salish Sea, Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Fisherman’s Wharf, and show how making small changes in our everyday life can add up to a big difference to the planet”. This event will include a scavenger hunt, Sammy the Seal, face painting, First Nations traditional dancers, silent auction, and more.

SATURDAY JUNE 18th, 2016 *New Addition*
Heritage DanceFest, 12-5pm
Heritage DanceFest is an afternoon of free music and dance held at the Cameron Bandshell at Beacon Hill Park. Bring a blanket and enjoy a wide variety of cultural dance performances from over a dozen local dance groups.

SATURDAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 18th – 19th, 2016
Father’s Day Summer Fair, 10am-4:30pm
This is a long standing event at Heritage Acres, which focuses on the olden days. We have never been to this event, but have been to others at Heritage Acres which have been wonderful.

SUNDAY JUNE 19th, 2016
Car Free Day 2016
This event (2nd annual!) will feature vendors, activities, entertainment, and more. It takes place on Douglas Street, downtown Victoria.


It should be a fun Spring, filled with both favorite and new adventures. If you live in Victoria/Sidney, and have other favorite events, please feel free to share!


*Photo by Mandy, taken at Butchart Gardens, 2016

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