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Many New Year's events cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

New COVID-19 restrictions announced on Dec. 21 have led to the cancellation of a number of traditional New Year’s celebrations, with only a handful still proceeding.
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Organizers have cancelled the New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim at the south end of Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

New COVID-19 restrictions announced on Dec. 21 have led to the cancellation of a number of traditional New Year’s celebrations, with only a handful still proceeding. Be sure to check with organizers to make sure the event is still proceeding.

UPDATE: Organizers of the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim at the south end of Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood have cancelled the event.

New Year’s events in Greater Victoria

• The Starlight Investments’ Lights of Wonder, a free ­outdoor light display in Centennial Square, will ring in the New Year with two countdowns on New Year’s Eve, with hot chocolate, popcorn and treats sold on site.

The first countdown will take place in the lead-up up to 9 p.m., so families can celebrate while avoiding overtired children.

The second will count down to midnight, with the lights turning off for the season shortly after midnight.

Organizers emphasized that Lights of Wonder is not a party but an open-air option to celebrate the new year safely with the people in your bubble.

Lights of Wonder is organized by the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

• You can go swimming at Saanich Commonwealth, Panorama and the Oak Bay Recreation Centre on New Year’s Day. There is free admission from noon to 2 p.m. for adults and 2 to 4:30 p.m. for children at Oak Bay only. Victoria’s Crystal Pool will be closed on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s events in the Cowichan Valley

• The Cowichan Community Centre is hosting a New Year’s Eve Family Celebration, with gym activities, a bouncy castle, a photo booth and ice skating.

An early countdown takes place just before 8 p.m., with noisemakers and prizes.

Admission is $2. Skating admission is $2 and rentals $3.25 (pre-registration required). The event runs from 3 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the Cowichan Community Centre, 2687 James St. in Duncan.

Events that have been cancelled

• There will be no New Year’s Day levee at Government House this year. Levees planned by the City of Victoria, the District of Saanich, the Township of Esquimalt and the Bay Street Armoury have also been cancelled.

• The polar bear swims from Glass Beach in Sidney, Whiffin Spit in Sooke and Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood have been cancelled.

• Activate 2022, a family-friendly New Year’s Day event set for Jan. 1 at the Beban Park Recreation Centre in Nanaimo, has been cancelled.

parrais@timescolonist.com