December 2, 2013 - 1:58am

Tens of thousands of sparkling Christmas lights have transformed Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Milner Gardens & Woodland into a magical winter wonderland, a perfect destination for families and others who enjoy the spirit of the holiday season.

The annual Milner Christmas Magic event at VIU’s 70-acre wooded forest in Qualicum Beach runs three consecutive weekends Dec. 6 to 8, 13 to 15, and 18 to 22 from 5 to 8:30 pm nightly.

“This magical light and music festival for the whole family features musicians, storytellers, a Teddy Bear Cottage, refreshments and visits with Santa,” says Geoff Ball, Executive Director of Milner Gardens & Woodland. “It’s becoming bigger and more popular each year, and is fast becoming the not-to-be missed holiday event of the season.”

Guests are invited to stroll through beautifully lit pathways and trails, then visit the Camelia Tea Room where volunteers will serve up steaming cups of tea or hot chocolate, as well as desserts and scones for a nominal fee on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sweets, spiced tea and hot chocolate, chili and hot dogs will also be available at an outdoor refreshment stand near the restored 1930’s era Milner House. Two gift shops on the premises will allow guests to shop for Christmas gifts, garden items and souvenirs while enjoying a pleasant evening at Milner Gardens.

Also inside the warmth and comfort of Milner House, children and families will enjoy hearing stories read by Vancouver Island Regional Library volunteers, and live music in the Dining Room from 6 to 8 pm nightly.

Community volunteers began setting up strings of lights throughout the 70-acre site in September. This year, members of the Mid Island Floral Art Club also helped set-up a special Christmas light display.

“Volunteers are the backbone of Milner Gardens & Woodland,” adds Ball. “We appreciate everything they do, especially preparing Milner Gardens for Christmas Magic. We couldn’t put on holiday events like this without their incredible support.”

Milner Christmas Magic, fun for all ages, is a fundraiser to help support programming and enhancements at Milner Gardens & Woodland. Admission is by donation, and free for members and current VIU students who show their membership card.

Shuttle carts are available at the admission gate for people with mobility challenges. Guests are encouraged to dress warmly and bring flashlights for the lantern-lit walk to the Milner House.

Recommended last entry to view the light display is 8 pm.

Milner Gardens & Woodland is located at 2179 West Island Highway in Qualicum Beach. For more information and complete schedule of activities, please go to


About Milner Gardens & Woodland

Milner Gardens & Woodland is a 70-acre property in Qualicum Beach, acquired by VIU in 1996. Home to a protected old-growth Douglas fir forest, Milner includes an established estate garden featuring native and non-native plants, including more than 400 Rhododendron specimens.

Milner’s popular educational program Shoots with Roots teaches children learn about the gardens and woodlands and how to plant, tend and harvest food.

Named one of the ten best public gardens in Canada by the Canadian Geographic Travel magazine, Milner Gardens & Woodland is listed as one of the seven wonders of Oceanside/Parksville/Qualicum Beach. Thousands of visitors come to Milner Gardens each year to attend special events or visit the Camelia Teahouse inside the 1930s era Milner House.


Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6288

E: Twitter: @VIUNews

Tags: In the Community

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