The Downtown Victoria Business Association has purchased a $500,000 light display that will illuminate Centennial Square every December for many years to come.

The light display is the latest December offering from the DVBA which in year’s past has installed a skating rink and ferris wheel in the square as ways to attract people into downtown during the holiday season.

“It will be something we haven’t seen here on Vancouver Island, the scale is very significant, it’ll be the whole square,” said Jeff Bray the DVBA’s Executive Director at an announcement Thursday.

While the display is currently being fabricated by a company in North Vancouver, the organization was able to provide sketches of what the display could look like. It says it will be a smaller scale version of a large light display called “Enchant Christmas” that has lit up Seattle’s T-Mobile Park in recent years.

Unlike Seattle’s light display which can cost up to $30 for an adult admission, Victoria’s event called “Lights of Wonder” will be free to the public.

The attraction will allow visitors to walk through a large lightscape and take entertainment and local vendors. The organization is also considering offering a beer/wine garden.

The DVBA says it was spending about $130,000 in holiday festivities every December and believes the purchase, which will be paid off over five years, is a smart investment that can be used well into the future.

Last December holiday decorations in the capital city became national news after a controversial motion from Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt. Isitt wanted the city to review its budget for holiday spending.

The DVBA says the decision to purchase the attraction had nothing to do with repairing the city’s holiday reputation.

In addition to the light display, the organization will continue several of its other holiday offerings including carolers.

“We saw that this was a way to really get the whole region and the whole island into downtown and spend the evening with the shops and the restaurants,” said Bray.

The DVBA plans to open the light village on December 13 and keep it open until the end of the month.

Joe Perkins