Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens ablaze with Christmas lights

Bryan Zimmerman may have thousands of rhododendrons in his backyard, but it's a sure bet he has more Christmas lights.

Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens near Courtenay are all lit up for Christmas.

Bryan Zimmerman may have thousands of rhododendrons in his backyard, but it’s a sure bet he has more Christmas lights lighting up the night sky.

Zimmerman’s Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens sparkle with thousands of lights hanging from trees, bushes and lit wooded pathways, a tradition which grew from Santa’s Barn years ago.

“It’s kind of a family tradition,” explained Zimmerman. “But we don’t do it exactly the same every year.”

Zimmerman’s garden lights are displayed throughout a portion of his 24 acres of forested land, located about a 15-minute drive north of Courtenay.

The walk begins and ends at Santa’s Barn — a building decorated with Christmas trees, candles, garland and, of course, lights.

Zimmerman has lost count as to how many thousands of feet of lights he’s collected and hung over the year, but does admit there are more than in previous years.

“To open in December, I start (decorating) in early October, and it’s an ongoing process. I am continually replacing, adding and changing lights,” he said.

With about a 50-50 split between traditional incandescent and LED lights, Zimmerman’s display also includes handcrafted lit decorations in the shape of balls, trees and a shooting star.

Two new additions this year to the garden include an inuksuk made out of horseshoes and sparkling trees now frozen in a pond, he noted.

To add to the holiday feel, the Cantiamo Choral Ensemble will perform at the gardens Dec. 18, 21, 22, 23 at 7 p.m. along with visits from Santa Dec. 17, 18, 22 and 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The garden lights and Santa’s Barn is open every night from 5 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 3.

Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is located at 6183 Whittaker Rd., north of Courtenay. Admission is $8.

For more information, visit

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