Butchart Gardens gears up for the holidays

Gardens kick off 26th year of festive displays on Saturday, Dec. 1

Alejandra Resendiz puts some of the finishing touches on the lights at Butchart Gardens Nov. 27. The gardens officially open for Christmas Dec. 1.

Alejandra Resendiz puts some of the finishing touches on the lights at Butchart Gardens Nov. 27. The gardens officially open for Christmas Dec. 1.

The Butchart Gardens open their gates for a 26th year of festive Christmas displays and entertainment on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The world-renowned gardens feature the traditional displays that include tens of thousands of coloured lights and Christmas decorations including evergreen boughs and wreaths of holly and winter berries.

The displays take about two months to set up said public relations liaison Graham Bell and the gardens shuffle around staff from various departments each year to achieve the grand displays that light up the gardens.

“We have staff move positions from areas where we don’t need them so we have as many hands as possible working on the lights and displays,” Bell said, adding the gardens even have one of their chefs from the restaurant helping out getting the thousands of lights up.

Again this year the Twelve Days of Christmas displays will be tucked away in various locations around the gardens and traditional caroling and music will be featured from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Piazza every night.

“It’s going to be the traditional Christmas that everyone has come to know Butchart for,” said Bell.

The gardens will also be featuring outdoor skating again this year on their 465 sq. m (5,000 sq. ft.) ice surface during admission hours.

Those interested in skating can drop in at their leisure or can book a scheduled time by visiting the gardens’ visitor information centre. Skate times run on the hour and last for 40 minutes and skates are available for rental for those that don’t have their own.

For more information on the holiday season at Butchart Gardens call 250-652-4422 or visit butchartgardens.com.

Victoria Royals hit the ice Dec. 9 at The Butchart Gardens

From 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 the Victoria Royals will be at The Butchart Gardens. The public will have a chance to skate with the players, meet the team and get autographs. Don’t forget your camera!