Friday, October 26, 2012

Tourism BC Christmas-themed Story Ideas, October 2012

Tourism BC Christmas-themed Story Ideas, October 2012
Here is a captivating collection of Christmas-themed Fresh Story Ideas from Tourism British Columbia.

Yuletide celebration, show-stopping sights and visits with St. Nick himself. Christmas is just around the corner, and that means plenty of offerings to charm young and old. Here follows a few of British Columbia's holiday favourites.

BC's Winter Traditions Are Family Affairs

Eager to experience the holiday on a high note? At 1,128 metres (3,700 feet), North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain promises just that with high-flying festivities that include sleigh rides through the forest, glides along the 743-square-metre (8,000-square-foot) outdoor skating rink, Christmas classics at the Theatre in the Sky and a visit with Santa and his reindeer during the Peak of Christmas, November 24 - December 24.

Nearby at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, you'll find family fun of a suspended nature. During Canyon Lights at Capilano, December 1 - January 5, hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights will illuminate the Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure and the nail-biting CLIFFWALK, a thrilling 213-metre (700-foot) walkway comprised of viewing platforms and staircases. Beyond the heart-thrumming views, gingerbread cookie decorating, sing-a-longs, glass blowing demonstrations and more round out the fun.

In Richmond, the historic fishing village of Steveston promises to bring Santa to town in style December 1st. Arriving by whale-watching boat to Fisherman's Wharf, St. Nick will kick off a party that features photos with the man himself, horse-drawn carriage rides, shopping and dining in the village, and plenty more surprises.

Point your compass north, and treat the family to holiday togetherness during the 17th annual Prince Rupert Winterfest, November 30 - December 1. The annual Lighting of the Trees at the Court House, followed by a Saturday pancake breakfast with Santa, a lively parade and an evening on the harbour capped with fireworks and views of ships dressed in festive finery is sure to elicit plenty of ohhs and ahhhs.

Over on Vancouver Island, The Butchart Gardens, near Victoria, provides even more opportunity to take in splendid views during The Magic of Christmas. This 26th annual family favourite, December 1 - January 6, showcases tens of thousands of twinkling lights, an outdoor skating rink, a year-round Rose Carousel in the Children's Pavilion and festive décor spread over 22 hectares (55 acres).

Turn Back the Clock for Historic Christmas Celebration

Once a hub for the province's Gold Rush boom, Barkerville Historic Town still draws crowds, particularly during the holiday season. At BC's largest historic site, yuletide carols, horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowy exploration in the Enchanted Village will, well, enchant during Barkerville's Victorian Christmas celebrations, December 8 - 10. At this Cariboo Chilcotin draw, families can call it a night in a heritage hotel or B&B, start their mornings with a coffee from C. Strouss & Co., peruse museum displays, snag a keepsake from Mason & Daly General Merchants or, perhaps, something pretty from McPherson's Watchmaker's and Jewelry Store.

For holiday tradition that harkens back to the early 1900s, travel back in time to Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum, November 24 - January 4. Festive lights will adorn the village, where visitors can see the 100-year-old Interurban Tram 1223 and take a ride on the fully restored vintage carousel. Additional draws include crafts for little ones, visits with Father Christmas and seasonal entertainment throughout the village.

In Fort Steele Heritage Town, further east in the Kootenay Rockies, family fun means bundling up for a ride through the trees. This turn-of-the-century town brings out teams of Clydesdales during their special event days, which include sleigh rides through the snow. Following time spent in the sleds, you can take an ice skating twirl, hit the cross-country ski trails or warm your fingers and toes with mugs of hot chocolate topped with toasty marshmallows, all next to a roaring bonfire.

It's a ghoulish blast for Discover the Past on Vancouver Island. Here, costumed guides lead historically haunted walking tours of Victoria throughout the month of December; lace up for Ghosts of Christmas Past excursions, each following in the footsteps of the infamous, complete with legends and lore of BC's ethereal city. Following an afternoon of pounding the pavement, head to Craigdarroch Castle for a bit of respite. At this 1890s Victorian mansion, and former home to a wealthy coal baron, guests can admire the seasonal finery or deck the halls with musical performances, rousing entertainment and storytelling in the castle's dance hall.;

British Columbia’s Bright Lights

Nothing says ho-ho-ho like twinkling lights on a tree. How about a whole lotta trees? The evergreen swath at Milner Garden, in Qualicum Beach, provides the perfect setting for seasonal shimmer, and during the year-round draw's annual Milner Christmas Magic, Vancouver Island's old-growth Douglas firs and cedars are decked out in bling, backed by musical interludes and sweet treats in the tearoom November 30 - December 2, December 7 - 9 and December 14 - 19.

Back in Vancouver, Bright Nights in Stanley Park, a yearly fundraiser for the BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund, promises family togetherness with hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts, roving performers, choirs, a “North Pole” featuring Santa and a forest-fringed train ride with over two million sparkling lights, November 29 - January 1. For even more shine amid a flourish of green, take in the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden, December 7 - January 1. This annual showcase of Christmas cheer transforms one of Vancouver's favourite garden settings into a winter wonderland, courtesy of 1.4 million luminescent lights.;

Sing while you sightsee? Hop aboard with the Vancouver Trolley Company and sing to your heart's content during the Karaoke Christmas Lights Trolley Tour, December 7 - 30. Hit the high notes, and take a musical journey through the light displays at Stanley Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Fa-la-la.

The shores of Vancouver offer even more musical merriment, thanks to the annual sea of sparkles during the Carol Ship Parade of Lights. This gathering along Coal Harbour, December 1 - 23, will spotlight boats bedecked in shimmer, complete with a chorus of singing voices.

Things are about to get wild — again — in the Thompson Okanagan during BC Wildlife Park's 15th annual Wildlights Celebration, December 14 - January 6. Gather the gang and head to Kamloops for an eye-popping showcase of 380 shimmering rope-light sculptures and over 600,000 twinkling lights, alongside wagon rides, a Wildlife Miniature Train, a Giant Maze and a spectacular nightly Laser Light Show.

Further east in the Kootenay Rockies, Rossland may rock the ski crowd, thanks to nearby RED Mountain, but this funky little community is also sure to stir the holiday spirit during the 18th annual Rekindle the Spirit of Christmas, December 1. This festive day unfolds with a Reindeer Prance Parade featuring Santa Claus, a winter market, carolling, bonfires and the lighting of the town Christmas tree.

The Great Outdoors offers even more fantastic views during Prince George's Northern Lights Festival, November 28 - January 1. Pile Mom, Dad and every little one into the car for this scenic drive through Connaught Park, where you'll ohh and ahh over animated displays that include everything from Santa's reindeer frolicking in the snow to artful arrangements of prehistoric creatures.

Show-Stopping Sights and One-Of-A-Kind Keepsakes:

Set on 32 hectares (80 acres) of field and forest near Armstrong in the Thompson Okanagan, Caravan Farm Theatre charms audiences with original seasonal productions amid a snowy alfresco setting. Old Nick, December 11 - 31, weaves a tale about the man in red's beginnings as a lonely miner — his journey of redemption and self-discovery offering a new twist on modern day traditions. Tip: to take in this family fare, be sure to bundle up for the sleigh ride that transports audience members from scene to snowy scene.

Looking to kick your purchasing power into overdrive? Then head to Whistler's annual Bizarre Bazaar, and peruse the eclectic mix of holiday-inspired crafts and creations from over 100 artisans from the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, Lower Mainland and beyond at the Whistler Conference Centre, November 24 - 25. While in this four-season mountain town, be sure to take in even more festivities at nearby Millennium Place. Here, an impressive offering of Canadian music and dance is presented year-round by the Arts Council Performance Series, with the holidays offering even more reason to stand up and cheer.

November 24 - December 24 marks the third annual Vancouver Christmas Market, where festive celebration is a veritable showcase of German holiday traditions. The alfresco market, set at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, promises one-of-a-kind treasures and tasty treats along rows of wooden booths; be sure to nibble German Bratwurst and Brataepfel (stuffed baked apples), sip Gluehwein (mulled wine), take in boisterous entertainment or hop on for a spin on the outdoor carousel. Post-ride, be sure to take a peek at the intricate, handmade crafts, featuring works from select artisans, including Käthe Wohlfahrt, Germany's top Christmas ornament and décor company.

With over 50 vendors offering fresh produce, crafts and artisanal food, Vancouver's Granville Island promises fabulous shopping year-round. In December, though, browsing for the ideal locally crafted treasure is sure to get a whole lot more festive, thanks to roving performers, carollers and plenty of sweet seasonal treats. At the nearby Vancouver Aquarium, the annual Luminescence promises to splash into the season, November 22 - January 22. What's in store? An aquatic light show, partially powered by electric eels, 4-D Polar Express viewings in the theatre and glimpses of Scuba Claus.;

Take your holiday adventure on the road and cruise along Nanaimo's Cedar-Yellowpoint Artisan's Country Christmas Tour, November 15 - 18. This motorized adventure plots a course through a wealth of Vancouver Island artisan studios, shops and farms for tasty and textural self-guided tours. Should you wish to continue the road trip, make your way back to the mainland and head waaay north to Dawson Creek, “Mile 0” of the Alaska Highway. Here, collectors can snap up locally produced photography, drawings, watercolour, oil and acrylic paintings, sculptures, pottery and even jewelry during the South Peace Art Society Christmas Show & Gift Fair, November 17 - January 5.;

Happy New Year!:

Before the countdown to the new year begins, why not say farewell to the old with a bang?

For celebration of the family-friendly sort, take in the evening's roster of festivities throughout Whistler Village. You could keep it cosy, and head to one of two indoor parties (one of which includes a Youth Dance), or opt instead to take it outside for skating on Whistler Olympic Plaza, views of the Fire & Ice show, a NYE kid's countdown and a Village Square dance celebration that's topped off with a dazzling fireworks display at midnight.

In the Thompson Okanagan, it's time to party at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon with a Torchlight Parade, bonfires, fireworks and a host of festivities throughout village hotspots including the Den, The Saloon, the Bulldog and Long John's Pub. The smallest members of the family will light up the night at Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, with a Glowstick Parade, followed by First Flight Big Air Invitational — a demonstration of slopestyle acrobatics, complete with spotlights and a DJ. At evening's end, the Torchlight Descent down Sundance, capped off with fireworks, is sure to see the New Year in with a bang.;

A Kootenay Rockies celebration at Panorama Mountain Village, near Invermere, promises no less, with its offering of carolling, snow fort building, cosy campfires, festive menus at one of the many mountain eateries, a Torch Light Parade and a fireworks finale. At Kicking Horse Mountain Resort near Golden, head to the plaza and simply take it all in with an evening that includes a Glow Stick Parade, Torch Light Parade and fireworks display. If you wish instead to cheer the new year with a cosy dinner, head to the resort's Eagle's Eye — the highest elevation restaurant in the country at 2,350 metres (7,700 feet) — where you can count down the clock with a delectable sky-high five-course winemaker's dinner. We'll drink to that.;

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