Santa’s Barn at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is the ‘mother lode’

This year is the 25th anniversary of Santa's Barn at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens, which proves to be a family favourite year after year.

FOR 25 YEARS

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Santa’s Barn at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens, which proves to be a family favourite year after year.

“It’s very popular — people come once, they come back,” says Woodland Gardens’ Bryan Zimmerman of visits with Santa inside the barn. “I mean I’ve had people now that were kids when their parents brought them — now they’re bringing their kids.

“It’s very unique, it’s very natural, and when they step into the barn they figure they’ve hit the mother lode, you know, this is the real thing; it’s a whole lot different than a mall or anything like that.”

Visits with Santa are by donation and attendees are encouraged to bring their own camera to take photos with Santa. Santa visits the barn on Dec. 15, 16, 22 and 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Woodland Gardens is located about a 15-minute drive north of Courtenay.

While visits with Santa are exciting for the kids, strolling though Zimmerman’s gardens when they’re lit up with what seems like millions of twinkling lights appeals to all ages.

Zimmerman adds more lights and changes how he hangs them each year; lights hang from trees, bushes and water features along the wooded pathways in part of his 24 acres of forested land.

Zimmerman — who is 73 and prepares the gardens all by himself, by hand — says it takes him about six weeks to decorate the property for its Christmas events because of the amount of work involved. For example, last year Zimmerman created an 18-foot inukshuk made out of about 1,700 horseshoes near the entrance to the gardens. The lit-up inukshuk will be there again this year.

Zimmerman notes the effort is starting to tire him out a bit, but when asked why he continues to do it each year, he thinks a few moments before answering: “Just to see the reaction from people is unreal — probably that’s the fuel that keeps me going.”

To add to the holiday feel, the Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble will sing carols at the gardens Dec. 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m.

Zimmerman says these evenings of carolling are always popular, noting this is the 11th year the choir will come out to the gardens to sing.

A bonfire burns on the weekends and refreshments like hot chocolate, mulled cider and hot dogs are available.

The garden lights and Santa’s Barn are open every night from 5 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 1. Admission is $8. Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is at 6183 Whittaker Rd., north of Courtenay.

For more information, visit www.woodlandgardens.ca.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Comox Valley tent event a reminder of housing crisis

A Survival Drive that culminated with a tent event generated a large… Continue reading

Don’t miss this year’s grad fashionistas in Courtenay

Isfeld Secondary hosts the Annual Grad Fashion Show on Nov. 18

Carol Young, an artist who fought for timely cancer treatment in Abbotsford, dies before first solo show

B.C. Haida artist’s exhibit to open Saturday at downtown Seattle gallery

Celebrate Louis Riel Day in Comox

IKI’SIW Métis Association is celebrating Louis Riel Day on Nov. 16

More rain may mean more leachate at landfill in Cumberland

Staff considering ways to mitigate situation of excess leachate at site

VIDEO: Disney Plus adds disclaimer about racist stereotypes

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism

First Nations ‘optimistic’ about road upgrades after Horgan visits site of fatal bus crash

Premier travelled Bamfield Main road, where bus flipped last September and two students were killed

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. man facing 18 charges after hidden camera found in Kelowna winery washroom

The camera was found at Summerhill Winery on Aug. 23

No new rules needed to ensure timely youth justice, Supreme Court says

Charter of Rights and Freedoms says someone charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

Most Read