Gar­dens shine bright for Christ­mas

Times Colonist - - Life -

A long tra­di­tion con­tin­ues this year at Butchart Gar­dens with the 32nd an­nual Magic of Christ­mas lights dis­play, fea­tur­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of lights that have taken nine weeks to in­stall.

The only area of the com­plex not lit is the Ja­panese Gar­den.

A key com­po­nent of the at­trac­tion is the 12 Days of Christ­mas theme, which has seen each of the days men­tioned in the song added to the dis­play in suc­ces­sive years. The “12 drum­mers drum­ming” in­stal­la­tion com­pleted the ar­ray in 2004 — the same year as the Gar­dens’ 100th an­niver­sary.

Vis­it­ing Butchart Gar­dens at Christ­mas is a big part of the sea­son for many fam­i­lies. Com­mu­nity groups and tour buses are also a com­mon sight.

An out­door skat­ing rink is fea­tured, as well, along with car­ollers and a brass band.

Work on the dec­o­rat­ing ef­fort is pretty much a year-round task due to the need to fix and re­fur­bish var­i­ous el­e­ments — such as mak­ing cos­metic re­pairs to the swans, geese, hens and other 12 Days of Christ­mas char­ac­ters.

The lights dis­play runs daily from Dec. 1-Jan. 6. The busiest time is usu­ally 4-8 p.m., par­tic­u­larly on week­ends and on clear nights.

It’s begin­ning to look at lot like Christ­mas at Butchart Gar­dens, which has be­gun its 32nd an­nual Magic of Christ­mas lights dis­play. The dis­play runs un­til Jan. 6

Vir­tu­ally ev­ery part of the gar­dens is lit up for Christ­mas, a draw for the Pet­tinger fam­ily, who were vis­it­ing Wed­nes­day evening.

The Butchart light dis­play fea­tures a skat­ing rink, above, and rides for the chil­dren and tra­di­tional car­olling, be­low.

pho­tos by ADRIAN LAM Times Colonist

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