If you have company coming to town over the holidays, I can recommend two excellent budget activities with plenty of Christmas spirit. Both are annual fundraisers at elegant downtown Victoria hotels: the Fairmont Empress and the Inn at Laurel Point. Admission is by donation.
FESTIVAL OF TREES
Every year, the Fairmont Empress Hotel donates space and electricity to mount a magnificent display of Christmas trees. Until January 4, 2013, the historic hotel and adjacent conference centre will be showcasing more than 70 elaborately adorned evergreens.
Where else can you see such abundant Christmas creativity?
Each festive tree is sponsored and decorated by a local business, organization, or individual. For a suggested donation of $2, you can vote for your favourite tree.
All money goes to the BC Children’s Hospital. In 2011, the event raised in excess of $110,000 for the cause.
- Fairmont Empress Hotel (www.fairmont.com/empress), 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC
Until January 1, 2013, you can feast your eyes on 25 amazing gingerbread creations, including a working clock (shown here), a classic Prairies grain elevator, a small-scale version of Victoria’s Magnolia Hotel and a complex rendition of the Millennium Falcon spaceship from Star Wars, complete with a hairy little Chewbacca figure.
Amateur and professional chefs have donated time and ingredients to fashion these edible works of art. The Laurel Point’s culinary team invested 70 hours from concept to completion!
The display is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and for a small donation you can cast a vote for your favourite creation.
All money raised will go to Habitat for Humanity Victoria, whose mission is “to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty.”
To see my collection of photos of spectacular gingerbread houses from a previous Gingerbread Showcase at Laurel Point, click here.
- Inn at Laurel Point (www.laurelpoint.com), 680 Montreal Street, Victoria, BC