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

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read