PHOTOS: Lights delight at 33rd annual Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens

Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tradtional carollers offer up Christmas classics at the Butchart Gardens from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the Magic of Christmas. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Tradtional carollers offer up Christmas classics at the Butchart Gardens from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the Magic of Christmas. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
A ghostly Yuletide display of “eight maids a milking” is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas installations at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The garden-wide display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)A ghostly Yuletide display of “eight maids a milking” is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas installations at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The garden-wide display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Karina Allen, 7, and Callie Allen, 5, enjoy the first day of Christmas lights at the Butchart Gardens Dec. 1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Karina Allen, 7, and Callie Allen, 5, enjoy the first day of Christmas lights at the Butchart Gardens Dec. 1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Mayu Tsuruta, who was visiting Victoria from Japan, enjoyed the displays at the 33rd annual Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens Dec. 1. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Mayu Tsuruta, who was visiting Victoria from Japan, enjoyed the displays at the 33rd annual Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens Dec. 1. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
A ‘two turtle doves’ installation is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The festive garden-wide light display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)A ‘two turtle doves’ installation is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The festive garden-wide light display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
A ‘partridge in a pear tree’ installation is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The festive garden-wide light display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)A ‘partridge in a pear tree’ installation is one of a dozen 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. The festive garden-wide light display is on every night from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
The Hamel family poses for a Christmas picture at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)The Hamel family poses for a Christmas picture at the Butchart Gardens’ Magic of Christmas. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors of all ages enjoyed the lights and sounds of Christmas at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Visitors enjoyed ice skating at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Visitors enjoyed ice skating at the Butchart Gardens’ 33rd annual Magic of Christmas Official Light up Dec.1. The Magic of Christmas displays and activities are on every evening until Jan. 6. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

With steaming mugs of hot chocolate in almost every hand, children’s laughter in the air and tens of thousands of candy-coloured bulbs lighting the lush and fragrant Brentwood Bay national historic site, the Butchart Gardens successfully kicked off December with the Christmas spirit.

On Dec. 1 at 5 p.m., the lever came down, the lights went on and the 33rd annual Magic of Christmas officially began.

READ ALSO: Holiday spirit lights up Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay

For the next month, carollers will sing Yuletide classics as crowds traverse the twinkling greenery, taking in the 12 Days of Christmas display that starts with a plump, lone partridge, swinging pleasantly from a tree strung with golden pears. Along the path, turtle doves pose regally from a hanging flight cage before visitors enter a startling green-lit projection on a tree-canopied route that winds past three french hens, seemingly enjoying a meal together.

The sparkling display continues through the carol’s lyrics, leading finally to the 12 drummers drumming. But there’s more than lights – Halfway along their lighted tour, visitors arrive at the Rose Carousel, installed 10 years prior. And near the entrance, couples and families wobble – or glide – their way around the garden’s small ice skating rink.

The garden’s Christmas displays have been delighting locals and tourists for more than three decades, and as the endeavour grows, so does the labour required to assemble – and disassemble – it.

It takes more than 30 crew members nearly nine weeks to install the display, says Josh Bickerton, public relations manager for the Butchart Gardens. And another month to take everything down.

“It really is an amazing tradition,” Bickerton says. “We have visitors from the local community but also from up and down B.C. and Washington state. We have a very strong turnout.”

READ ALSO: A list of where to look for Christmas lights in Greater Victoria this year

Bickerton estimates the number of lights to be in the tens of thousands.

“We encourage anyone to come out and try to count them for themselves,” he says with a laugh.

The Butchart Gardens Magic of Christmas runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6. The Lights are turned on at 3:30 p.m., with optimal viewing around 5 p.m. Staff recommend arriving before 4 p.m. in order to find parking and avoid longer line ups.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council opts to wait until amalgamation study can take place safely in-person

Victoria council, province must weigh-in on next steps for citizens’ assembly

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

Most Read