Tofino Botanical Gardens has unveiled its third annual Winterlights celebration. Festivities will run from Nov. 30 to Jan. 6. (Photo - Pablo Palma)

Tofino Botanical Gardens offer a constellation of winter lights

“Tofino Winterlights is a truly magical experience.”

ERIN LINN MCMULLAN

Special to the Westerly

At the entrance to Tofino Botanical Gardens is George Patterson’s beautiful light installation, the Virgin of Guadalupe, welcoming you to Winterlights, its third annual festival of art and light. Her cloak of stars shines as golden pinpoints amidst purple, magenta and blue-hued LED lights. An oasis on the dark Multi-Use Path.

“The idea is we have a celebration of light and darkness,” says Patterson, of the outdoor light gallery, which, like Butchart Gardens’ Christmas display, encourages locals and tourists of all ages to enjoy this curated experience during the holidays.

READ MORE: Winter Lights shine in Tofino

A new feature this year is a maze open to the night sky.

This West Coast holiday tradition interprets an electric light display dating back to Christmas, 1882. Just two years after his former employee, Thomas Edison, patented the light bulb, Edward Hibberd Johnson showcased his tree strung with 80 hand-wired red, white and blue lights in his New York townhouse’s parlour window.

“Tofino can be one of the darkest places in the world. If you live here, it’s a long, dark winter. Why not have Winterlights?” muses Patterson, who would love to see the idea spread throughout town.

READ MORE: A garden of earthly delights in Tofino

“Tofino Winterlights is a truly magical experience, a core of warmth and celebration for the community and those visiting the West Coast during these darkest days of the year,” says Esther Celebrini.

“I’ve been performing at the Winterlights for the past three years and have really enjoyed Darwin’s Cafe; the professional upright piano and intimate setting for vocals makes it a wonderful venue for jazz. I will be playing many pieces I love that celebrate this beautiful season: Nutcracker excerpts, Christmas classics, winter lullabies and songs about love and peace.”

READ MORE: Soulful session kicks off Winter Music Series in Tofino

The festival’s pass invites you to enjoy live entertainment and events often. A holiday sampling includes: performances by singer-songwriter Vanille and Tofino-Ucluelet choir to movie nights; children’s activities from puppet shows to Santa photos; holiday wreath making and a celebration of cookies.

Tofino Arts Council’s “Words in the Winter” features the Dec. 30 “Night Write” studio with Tofino Poet Laureate Joanna Streetly. Writers of any skill-level can “gather, take inspiration from the night and reflect on the passing of the year.”

Even in the most inclement weather, watching the halo of lights through the café’s rain-glazed windows is a treat, along with a hot drink—mulled wine/cider/cocoa—and cookies.

Winterlights runs from November 30, 2018 to January 6, 2019. Festival pass: $15 (Adults), $12 (Seniors), $10 (TBG Members and Students), Children 12 & Under Free. www.tofinowinterlights.com

READ MORE: Conceiving new Experiential artists’ hub for Tofino

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

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read