The town of Ladysmith on Vancouver Island knows how to put on a good show.
The historic village is built into the side of a hill above a protected harbour about 90 KM (56 miles) north of Victoria.
Originally called Oyster Bay, posted signs at the waterfront warn visitors not to eat the shellfish, likely due to Paralytic shellfish poison. The town was renamed Ladysmith in 1900 after the conclusion of the Boer War. There’s a very nice walk along the waterfront between Transfer Beach Park, the marina and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Expect to see lots of dogs, many off-leash and romping with other four-legged friends.
The town pays homage to it’s logging and mining roots with equipment placed along the waterfront walkways and main streets. The young and young-at-heart enjoy interacting with the pieces.
The main street in Ladysmith runs parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway. Every December for the past 3+ decades, Ladysmith decks out the town with holiday lights and starts the season with a parade, festivities, and the big lighting reveal. Approximately 20,000 visitors show up to see the town throw the switch and to participate in the celebratory events leading up to the luminous climax. The Festival of Lights was Ladysmith’s response to a declining main street economy in the 80’s and it’s resounding success is thanks to many volunteers and donations of time, money and lights.
I found the stores all closed by 6pm in early December but I am sure they stay open later on the night of the parade and as Christmas approaches.
After walking around town, stop by the Fox and Hounds for some delicious sustenance and refreshments! The food is excellent! I’ve enjoyed the spinach salad several times and they are willing to substitute the feta for goat cheese for those of us who are dairy free. They do a wonderful job decorating for the holidays too!