Celebrate Fishmas at Sidney’s aquarium of the Salish Sea

The Christmas season is fast approaching and the folks at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre are overjoyed to be joining in the festivities.

  • Nov. 26, 2014 2:00 p.m.

Emma Templeman

The Christmas season is fast approaching and the folks at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre are overjoyed to be joining in the festivities.

Their Merry Fishmas Celebrations, which continue on Nov. 29 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (the first event was on Nov. 22), are designed to help bring the Christmas spirit to Sidney.

“Sidney is such a great place to be at Christmas,” said Alison Barratt, the Centre’s Executive Director. “We really wanted to be a part of it.”

The event started last year but only ran one weekend.

“It was such a great success,” said Barratt, “that we expanded it to two weekends this year. It’s our gift to the kids at Christmas.”

While everyone is welcome, the program is particularly targeted towards children with a wide selection of Christmas-themed crafts and activities that are both seasonal and in-keeping with the Discovery Centre’s ecological message.

A wonderful example of this melding of ecology with seasonal fun can be seen in the Christmas ornament craft area.

“Tina Kelly. One of our fabulous volunteers, helps to run this activity,” said Barratt. “She has a knack for bringing things back to life … re-purposing them so that they become these lovely ornaments.

“For example, she shows the kids how you can take an old scratched CD and turn it into a stunning Christmas decoration.  And really, that’s a lot of what we’re about here, isn’t it? We want to show that caring about our environment is always possible, especially at Christmas.”

But it’s not all crafts and seasonal decorations; although Barratt admitted that the staff has had a lot of fun decorating the aquarium for the season.

“We have Christmas carols being sung, movies and special presentations with a decidedly seasonal theme,” she said. “It’s a great family friendly event that fits in perfectly with Sidney’s Christmas celebrations.”

Those celebrations have already made Sidney the place to be if one wants to get into the Christmas spirit. The Sidney Sparkles Parade and the famous sail-by are also happening on Nov. 29 and the whole town has been infused with the season’s spirit. Christmas decorations are everywhere and Christmas music and a general sense of goodwill have come to Sidney, making it an ideal Christmas environment for everyone.

“Sidney really is a Christmas Village, and it’s more than just the decorations and parades,” said Barratt. “The people here really embrace the spirit of the season with their joyful attitudes. It’s a great place to be.”

Of course the Discovery Centre continues to offer its regular series of activities. From Microscope Mondays to Tot Tuesdays to the popular Seniors Tea Talk and Tour every Thursday the Centre still has something for everyone. It’s just that, at this time of year, people may come out of the aquarium humming a Christmas tune, and the smiles may be a little bit wider.

But, then again, that’s what Fishmas … oops; sorry … Christmas … is all about.

— Tim Collins/News Contributor

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