If the holiday spirit moves you

Somae Osler, with the support of her husband Richard, turns on a tree light in memory of her mom during the annual Hospice Light Up in Memory tree-lighting ceremony at Cowichan District Hospital on Dec. 4.  - Andrew Leong
Somae Osler, with the support of her husband Richard, turns on a tree light in memory of her mom during the annual Hospice Light Up in Memory tree-lighting ceremony at Cowichan District Hospital on Dec. 4.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

There’s a little bit of everything available this holiday season to boost folk’s Christmas spirit and spring senses into full swing in Cowichan.

• Why not start with a viewing of Chemainus Theatre’s classic holiday story It’s a Wonderful Life?

The stage adaptation of the 1946 Christmas movie classic runs Wednesday through Sundays until Dec. 23, with matinee and evening shows.

News Leader Pictorial reviewer Peter W. Rusland said moviemaker Frank Capra would have liked the merry, musical version.

“Sure, it’s hard to beat the creative depth of his 1946 Christmas classic — and the aw-shucks epiphany of Jimmy Stewart,” he writes. “But theatre director/choreographer Peter Jorgensen’s cast and stage band poured us a stiff shot of pre-yuletide cheer during Friday’s heartfelt opener.

• If traditional music is your thing, mark down Dec. 15, 2 p.m. on your calendar.

Winter Harp is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with an 11-city western Canada Christmas tour, including a stop at the Cowichan Theatre.

“On stage, Winter Harp’s extraordinary musicians, clad in glorious medieval attire, perform a collection of music, songs and stories in celebration of winter and Christmas,” states press material.

Musical repertoire ranges from heartwarming carols and songs to Celtic, medieval, and world tunes.

“Dozens of candles light the stage, with breathtaking backdrops of cathedral and snow,” organizers have promised. “Add in the beautifully carved instruments, and the entire show takes on the look of a luminous pre-Raphaelite painting, with golden Celtic and classical harps, drums, tambourines, temple bells, flutes and an assortment of beautiful ancient and rare instruments.”

• If you’re looking for Christmas nostalgia, the folks over at the Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives have something up their sleeves.

They’re featuring a train display with glimpses of Duncan’s heritage buildings built from Lego.

“Ecole Cobble Hill student Geoff Arrowsmith, 11, constructed models of five heritage buildings especially for our Christmas display, including Duncan City Hall, the Duncan Garage, the Cowichan Merchants Building, the Duncan Train Station and the Cowichan Creamery,” states a press release. “Displayed in a snow-covered ‘City of Duncan’, the heritage buildings, and passenger train running through the town, create a charming seen of Christmas past.”

This display is on view until Dec. 20. The museum is open Wednesday to Fridays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m.

• Cowichanians are also being encouraged to hop on board the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre’s 1910 steam locomotive as part of its annual Christmas Express event/fundraiser.

“All aboard a 1910 steam locomotive through thousands of twinkling lights adorning the 100 acre woods of the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre for the Christmas Express,” sums organizers. “Thousands of visitors over the years have made this a Christmas tradition of attending this colourful and entertaining event.”

The event, which also includes light displays, seasonal music, and Christmas crafts, runs on weekends until Sunday, Dec. 22, with the addition of Monday, Dec. 23. The centre opens at 4 p.m. on these dates with train departures every 20 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m. and the last train leaving at 8:30 p.m.

• Merridale Cidery is hosting its first-ever and free Enchanting Christmas Orchard Walk.

“Imagine twinkling lights on the trees, perhaps a dusting of snow on the orchard floor, and a cup of mulled cider to warm the soul,” states organizers. “Our Christmas Orchard Walk will surely enchant the whole family, but also provide romantic overtures for couples looking for a romantic stroll. Busy like Santa’s elves, we are currently creating holiday displays.”

The stroll starts at Santa’s workshop (formerly known as the oxidation hut), and finishes at the Elf’s Work Shop, otherwise known as the faery mining village.

“Along the lit path, you will encounter other familiar favourites such as Frosty and Rudolph.”

Folks can stop by on Thursdays through Sunday evenings during the holiday season.

• And of course, taking in a live nativity scene is on many folk’s must-do lists.

And there are two options in Cowichan.

One is Shawnigan Alliance Church’s annual display on 1603 Wilmot Avenue Dec. 14, with shows at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

“Every year we have around 100 volunteers who all take an end, serving and showing the community the story of Christmas,” explained Deborah Gammer. “This year the script is our first in the trilogy and the fourth time we have performed it.”

Crafts and carols are also on deck for the 10th-anniversary event.

And carrying on the tradition is also the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its Nativity Pageant Dec. 22 at 1815 Tzouhalem Road with shows at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

• Finally, folks looking to get active over the holidays will be tickled to hear Cowichan community centres are offering Christmas skates, including Fuller Lake Arena (Dec. 20, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), Kerry Park Arena (Dec. 15, 1 to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 4:30 p.m., and 6:30 to 8 p.m.) and Island Savings Centre (Dec. 22, 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 to 4:15).

The Cowichan Aquatic Centre’s also getting in on the fun with a Breakfast with Santa Dec. 22 featuring a visit with Mr. Claus, a breakfast (9:30 to 11 a.m.) and chance to swim with the jolly fellow and his elves (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Aquatic Centre staff are also promoting an Underwater Santa event Dec. 13, 6 to 9 p.m. where folks can pose for a photo with St. Nick under water.

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