Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

DOWNTOWN DIALOGUE: Lights of Wonder connects with community

Jeff Bray

Downtown Victoria Business Association

The Downtown Victoria Business Association and our 1,500 members have created something special: an all-ages, all access, free outdoor holiday extravaganza.

From Dec. 13 through Dec. 30, we invite you and your loved ones to enjoy Lights of Wonder as often as you’d like. Come share the magic of the season, sip some hot chocolate, take a selfie or two under our canopy of lights, and then explore other downtown Victoria venues.

Lights of Wonder offers Greater Victoria a reason to bundle up, get outside, and explore all that downtown has to offer. This will be the largest, free, outdoor light display of its kind in Greater Victoria and is Downtown Victoria’s big gift to the region.

For the first-ever Lights of Wonder at Centennial Square, the Downtown Victoria Business Association is partnering with four social organizations to support the work they do in our community. While entry to our holiday extravaganza is free, donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of our community partners.

We have designated one day a week (Thursdays through Sundays) at our Giving Booth for Our Place Society, the Soup Kitchen, CFAX Santas Anonymous, and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Our Place serves over 1,200 nutritious meals and 1,000 snacks per day, while providing a safe and dignified environment for people to shower, receive clean clothing, find their place in the community, and connect with experienced, professional support staff.

The Soup Kitchen, located in the basement of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, is open Monday to Friday, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., and all holidays except Christmas day. The Soup Kitchen serves up to 300 clients a day.

For 42 years, CFAX Santas Anonymous has supported local families living with poverty by providing Christmas hampers containing food for the holidays and children’s gifts.

And, BC Children’s is the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to the care of children. Last year, more than 93,000 patients visited the hospital — which not only includes its acute care centre, but also its research institute, mental health facility, and rehabilitation centre.

To bring Lights of Wonder to life, Downtown Victoria is seeking 100+ volunteers (aged 16 or older). The deadline to apply is Nov. 29. Volunteering at Lights of Wonder is a great way to build connections, meet new people, and experience this unprecedented community event.

To learn more or sign up as a volunteer go to www.lightsofwonder.ca.

Jeff Bray is the executive director with the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

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