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

Based at the Cowichan Sportsplex, Playcare is a program aimed at promoting physical literacy skills through fun and exciting games and activities. (Citizen file)
Free after-school program offered at Cowichan Sportsplex

PacificSport holding Playcare twice a week

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn

Soccer commnity comes together in midst of battle

Kerry Park Islanders defenceman Taylor Webb emerges with the puck from a scrum along the boards during Saturday’s home game against the Saanich Predators. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Optimized results keep Kerry Park Islanders rolling

Several forwards hitting or nearing career highs just six games into season

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

Most Read