All decked out and waiting for Santa. Making spirits bright during the holiday season has become a tradition in the Comox Valley for the past 29 years at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens. Photo supplied

All decked out and waiting for Santa. Making spirits bright during the holiday season has become a tradition in the Comox Valley for the past 29 years at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens. Photo supplied

The Woodland Gardens Christmas experience returns this December

While some folks in the Valley may be dreaming of a white Christmas, others will be heading out to Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens where for 29 years a winter wonderland has been created with thousands of Christmas lights.

Right from the parking lot visitors will be greeted with a stunning display of lights that trim the entrance arbor, festoon Santa’s Barn and are hanging from literally every tree and shrub.

But the lights do not stop there. A walk along the many pathways will quickly get them into the holiday spirit as they are treated with one spectacular display after another.

Each year, Bryan Zimmerman, the owner of Woodland Gardens, seems to outdo himself as he keeps on adding string after string of new lights which he says are only a part of the Christmas experience in the gardens.

Santa Claus also makes a number of visits and is always eager to hear what is on every good little boy and girl’s wish list. His barn is decorated from floor to ceiling with fresh cedar bows, ornaments and, of course, a few Christmas trees that are just waiting to be surrounded by presents on the big day.

A visit with Santa in his barn has become a tradition for many Valley families and he wants everyone to know that he will be there from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7/8, 14/15, 20/21 and 22/23. There will be lots of wishful thinking and smiling faces so don’t forget your camera.

To help everyone really get into the Christmas spirit there are also evening Carol Walks featuring the Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble. The walks will take place on Dec. 22 and 23. They start at 7 p.m. near Santa’s Barn and from there meander along the festively lit pathways. While there are lots of lights it is always wise to bring a flashlight so you don’t stumble over one of Santa’s reindeer.

Making spirits bright is what Christmas at the Gardens is all about. On weekends there’s even hot chocolate, hot cider and hot dogs available to ward off the cool weather. Visitors can also warm up beside the roaring bonfire. Surrounded by log benches it makes for a perfect gathering place.

The tradition of a visit to Woodland Gardens for many Valley families began years ago when the gardens operated as a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm.

Since then the gardens have changed and rather than cut trees visitors are encouraged to enjoy the natural woodland setting. However, what has not changed is the opportunity to have a family outing, sing a few carols and visit Santa.

“Over the years we have come to know many of the families who make us one of their stops during the holiday season,” said Zimmerman. “What we are seeing now are the children, all grown up, who are bringing their own families. That‘s really heart-warming and makes the hundreds of hours stringing the lights all worthwhile.”

The lights are turned on every night from 5-9 p.m. from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. Regular garden admission applies; however, it is $10 when the Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble is performing.

Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is located on Whittaker road just 15 minutes north of Courtenay off the Old Island Highway. For further information visit the website or call 250-338-6901.

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

Just Posted

A man was sentenced to more than a year in jail for a late-night robbery in Courtenay last April. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Late-night Courtenay robbery results in 500-plus days in jail

Heatley’s sentence also includes probation, DNA order, firearms ban

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

The CSRHD board has diverging views on its relationship with Island Health. File photo
Comox-Strathcona board ponders relationship with Island Health

“We have to stand together … to get our share of the health budget.”

The CVCDA Accessibility Project is creating safer ramps at the Courtenay facility. Photo supplied
Accessibility project underway at Comox Valley Child Development Association

Over the past month, you may have noticed some construction underway behind… Continue reading

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Most Read