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Explore: Puppy Playdate, Govt. House tours, Pancakes and Pajamas

Upcoming events: Howlidays Puppy Playdate on Friday; Government House Tours on Saturday; Pancakes & Pajamas on Saturday
Marie Zirk, executive director at B.C. Humane Society, has her arms full of puppies set to attend Howlidays Puppy Playdates at Accent Inns Victoria on Dec. 8, 2023. VICTORIA HUMANE SOCIETY

A playdate with puppies

Get your fill of puppy love by spending quality time with a group of nine puppies at the B.C. Humane Society’s Howlidays Puppy Playdate, at Accent Inns Victoria, Dec. 8.

This is the second year of the event, where attendees can meet the cuddly companions, enquire about becoming foster parents, consider giving them a fur-ever home or donate towards other animals in care.

Started in Victoria last year, the event proved so successful that the society has expanded to touring the province, with stops in Kamloops, Kelowna and Burnaby as well as a return to the city.

“We are facing a surge in surrendered animals and overpopulation concerns in remote B.C. regions,” said Penny Stone, executive director at B.C. Humane Society. “We had it under control before the pandemic and now it’s right back — and worse — than before. It’s the worst I have seen in my two decades in animal welfare.”

The society currently has 76 puppies in its care.

If people are not ready to adopt, but are ‘pet-curious’, an alternative is to become a foster parent.

“We have found that some people who have never had a pet before make for the best foster parents,” said Stone.

The hotel chain will be donating 10 per cent of every leisure stay in December to the society. The hotel chain has welcomed a lion (he was doing a movie shoot), llamas and snakes — in addition to dogs and cats over the years. It donates $1 from every pet fee it charges guests to the B.C. Humane Society.

The Howlidays Puppy Playdate is free to attend. It runs 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at Accent Inns Victoria, 3233 Maple St.

Festive tours of Government House

Take free guided tours of Government House, the residence of the B.C. Lieutenant Governor, decked out in its holiday splendour, this Saturday and next.

The tours will be led by a pair of docents, who will cover the history, points of interest, art and architecture of the structure, the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. It has been the official residence of the Hon. Janet Austin, the province’s 30th Lieutenant Governor, since 2018.

There are three tours per Saturday. Tours are between 35 to 45 minutes long and there is a maximum of 30 participants per tour.

Visitors are free to linger after the tour to wander and explore the more than 20 gardens that make up the grounds of Government House. The gardens are cared for year round by hundreds of volunteers with the Friends of Government house Gardens Society.

The tours are free to join, but registration is required. Tours are given at 10, 11 a.m. or noon Dec. 9 and 16 (the last of the year). Free parking onsite. B.C. Transit routes #11 and #14 stop on Fort Street at Joan Crescent, three blocks away.

For more information, or to register, go to

Wear pyjamas for a good cause

Enjoy a fun-filled morning, including a decadent brunch buffet, festive games and activities at the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s Pancakes & Pajamas fundraising event, at the Hotel Grand Pacific, Dec. 10.

This is the third year of the signature fundraising event for the foundation, a celebration of the holidays for children of all ages, all while supporting a vital cause.

As the name of the event suggests, attendees are encouraged to come to the table in their cosiest pyjamas.

Stay afterwards for games and activities, including story-time with Santa for the little ones.

“All funds raised at Pancakes & Pajamas support Jeneece Place and Q̓ʷalayu House, our homes away from home in Victoria and Campbell River, along with our Bear Essentials program, benefiting Island children and youth,” said Veronica Carroll, the foundation’s CEO.

The event is free for children under two, $25 for children 2 to 12 years old and $75 adults. Guests can choose between a 9 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. brunch seating, Dec. 10. The event takes place a the Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St. Tickets are available on

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