Ride the steam train through a winter wonderland at the BC Forest Discovery Centre at the Christmas Express season kicks off Dec. 1. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Ride the steam train through a winter wonderland at the BC Forest Discovery Centre at the Christmas Express season kicks off Dec. 1. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Christmas kicks off Friday in Duncan; Christmas Express Saturday at Forest Discovery Centre

Downtown Duncan kicks off Christmas, and the next day, it’s time for the Christmas Express

A Christmas Kick-off lights up Duncan on Friday, Nov. 30.

At 5:30 p.m., everything starts at City Square with a welcome, then Santa’s helpers band joins the fun. There’s a horse-drawn wagon, and roasted chestnuts as well.

The tree-lighting and the arrival of Santa Claus by fire truck takes place at 6 p.m. They’ll come in via Ingram Street and set up by Pharmasave.

Santa’s Helper’s Band is back on stage at 6:15 and 7 p.m., with a show at 6:50 p.m. by performers from Carlson’s School of Dance.

Finally, at 8 p.m., there’s the fireworks display.

Meanwhile, on the Community Stage, by Just Jake’s, from 5:40 to 6 p.m., the Queen Margaret’s School String Orchestra will entertain, followed by the Queen of Angels School Primary Choir. From 6:30 to 7 p.m. the DDT Drumline takes over with the Cowichan Valley Concert Band closing the show from 7:05 to 7:40 p.m.

Christmas Express back at BCFDC

And, starting the very next day, the popular annual Christmas Express at the BC Forest Discovery Centre starts its 13-night holiday season.

“We love bringing the Christmas Express out and seeing the magic of the holiday in the faces of everyone that attends. Our attendance has been growing, so we are hoping to exceed previous attendance this year with 13 nights of holiday magic. We invite islanders to come out to see the light displays, enjoy the seasonal music, make a Christmas craft, and ride the Christmas Express train,” said Chris Gale, manager of the BC Forest Discovery Centre.

From Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, and 19-23 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., take the family to enjoy a winter wonderland, as the Christmas Express, a 1910 steam locomotive, travels through thousands of twinkling lights that adorn the 100 acre enchanged woods of the BC Forest Discovery Centre.

The steam train leaves every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and it’s really popular with people from all across the Valley and beyond.

Keep warm with hot chocolate, mini donuts and, this year, chili dogs and bowls of chili.

If you want to reserve tickets, call 250-715-1113 ext. 30 from Monday to Wednesday. The last day for advance purchasing is Wednesday, Dec. 12.

“The Christmas Express is the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year and is paramount to the ongoing operation and maintenance of our antique vehicle collection, our trains, maintenance of the historical buildings and the preservation of an important ecosystem within the Cowichan Region,” said organizers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Duncan initiates pilot project to deal with graffiti

Project based on a successful one in Port Alberni

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read