In the month leading up to opening day, this year on December 11, there is much activity within the grounds as the gardens take on a festive appearance. We missed last year's event, spending time on the Ninth Avenue Trail and in El Rosedal instead.
On the day of the Festival's opening, workers were finishing various displays, grooming the gardens and readying for the crowds. The rains will likely start soon enough, but for now it is dry with a touch of snow and the ponds are frozen over here and throughout the city.
I don't know what I make of the continued commercialisation of the Gardens and its special events, like the Festival of Lights. It seems harmless enough, but where does this hunger for revenue end?
As well, many of the Touch Wood sculptures that we enjoyed through the summer and autumn have been "decorated" with lights or uniforms. Doesn't this detract from the integrity of the art? Is it right to put a halo on a piece of art, or dress up another group as toy soldiers?
And what about this drilling rig in the middle of the pond? I know our provincial government has promised us trillions in receipts from LNG, but really, in VanDusen Gardens? What's next, a pipeline?
Still, there is something magical about this thing, and as we approach the darkest night of the year, there is beauty in these lights.
Photos by Jim Murray