1.Ladysmith Festival of Lights
2016 marks the 29th year that the Ladysmith Festival of Lights has been in operation. This event is fuelled by a community effort, with a board of directors working year round to get everything ready for 6 weeks of dazzling Christmas light craziness! Their light up is on Thursday, November 24th, and includes a lit parade, a tree light up, and a fireworks display.
It has been a pleasure working with the Ladysmith Festival of Lights for the past two years. We are working together to replace their hundreds of thousands of incandescent lights with LED bulbs, including the “Chuck Perrin” Tree at the north end of town. Last year, we put 3500 lights in it, using two BC Hydro bucket trucks and a crane!
As the organization is a non-profit, they have to look for creative ways to fund the light up. Last year, they started an “adopt a tree” campaign, where residents could purchase a certain number of strings on each tree for $100 each. The Nanaimo airport sponsored the redecorating of the Chuck Perrin Tree, which is the crowning jewel of the festival. For an inside scoop on how the Ladysmith Festival of Lights works, (and for some funny footage of our Vancouver Island crew), check out this video:
2.Tofino Winter Lights
Tofino Winter Lights is the brainchild of George Patterson, Executive Director of the Tofino Botanical Gardens. We have been working with him since last winter to develop a new kind of light festival — one that is hardly geared towards Christmas at all. Of course it will be open around the same time that all other Christmas light events will be open, but this one is filled with features such as light “tapestries”, and beautiful dream catchers built with 5mm mini lights that are hanging in the trees.
The gardens are filled with exquisite sculptures, which are illuminated as well. There is even a field of jelly fish, with twinkly tentacles!
If you have the chance to venture to Tofino this Christmas, make sure to stop by the Tofino Botanical Gardens. It is spectacular, and not to be missed.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria is iconic as they come, and it is an honour to play a large role in Christmas at the hotel. The Empress is in the middle of a two-year renovation, which is quickly transforming the inside from an old-fashioned, classic looking establishment, to an incredibly luxurious space with ecor that is the perfect mix of old and new. The last few years have been lots of fun working on this property, as our design must change each year to meet the requirements of the renovation.
While we have to spend several weeks decorating the grounds, our partners at Greenscape Décor spend one night with a large team turning the inside of the hotel into a Christmassy wonderland. This is supplemented by the “Festival of Trees” fundraiser, which has returned to the hotel this year after a small break to make way for renovations.
Head down to the Empress this Christmas if you’re looking for a festive place to hang out. Enjoy one of their many holiday offerings, including a three-course holiday lunch, which can be enjoyed while admiring the beautiful decorations!
4.Annual Lighted Truck parade!
The first Saturday of December marks Victoria’s Annual IEOA Truck Light Convoy, which is exactly as the title suggests: a bunch of big trucks that are covered in Christmas lights parade through Victoria as dusk falls, driving light all over the city!
This event is both bright and loud, as vehicle operators can’t help but to honk their horns. The parade starts at Ogden Point, and travels through several parts of Victoria including downtown and Oak Bay Village. If you go to the parade this year, keep your eyes out for our lights!
Every year, the Butchart Gardens hosts what has become known as a world-renowned Christmas light festival. The entire grounds are decorated with millions of tiny lights, creating a wonderland that fills even the saddest with joy! Butchart Gardens hosts an incredible light up annually on December 1st, where a large switch is flipped to power the entire installation. Seeing the Gardens come to life in that moment is nothing short of breathtaking!
To add to the wonder, scenes form the Twelve Days of Christmas are placed throughout the Butchart Gardens. There is an outdoor skating rink installed in the main courtyard, and hot chocolate flows at the adjacent café. Carollers serenade guests every night as well, on their way to the beautiful indoor carousel. All in all, visiting the Butchart Gardens at Christmas is a glorious wintertime activity for all people young and old. There is guaranteed to be something there for everyone!