Victoria Festival of Trees Takes On Its 20th Year
A quintessential element of Christmas is the tree. There are so many ways you can dress one up. Beads, tinsel, sparkly balls, bears, candy canes or paper craft, no matter how you choose to decorate a tree there is always a way to make it your own.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the 20th annual Festival of Trees at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia. After a splendid afternoon tea, we wandered the halls of the hotel soaking in the colorful, dazzling and sometimes just plan bizarre ornaments that adorned more trees than I could count.
One tree was decorated with hundreds of paper cranes, while another was covered in shoes and feathers. Books covered a 5 foot evergreen, making way for its’ opposite sister tree with famous Nintendo game characters and even a few Wii games still in their packaging. My favorite had hundreds, if not thousands, of Christmas wishes attached to the branches. People wished for love, happiness, lost loved ones, world peace and even pickled eggs.
Why were all of these trees in the hotel? For charity of course. For the past 20 years the Fairmont has hosted the Festival of Lights, one of four running this year in different cities around British Columbia. Viewers could vote for their favorite tree by making a donation to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Each donation vote is entered into the People’s Choice Award Citizen Prize. Ten thousand votes raised $110,000 last year alone.
Because of the benefactor of the donations, many trees took on a whimsical, very kid-friendly theme. Dek’s favorite was one covered in construction vehicle toys. Even better, they had a table full of the toys for kids to try out. I’m going to guess this was a strategic move so curious little fingers would leave the tree alone. Smart move people.
How is your city celebrating and giving back this Christmas season? Are there festive teddy bears, ginger bread houses or trees? Go out and find a new tradition to explore with your kids. You won’t be sorry.
Know Before You Go:
- The Victoria Festival of Trees runs 7 days a week, 24 hours a day now through January 6, 2012.
- It is free to view the trees, but a minimum $2 donation is requested per vote. All donations go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
- Kids are welcome to check out the trees. Many are even geared towards their interests.