Work is underway to bring a Nordic-themed Christmas display to Uptown Shopping Centre. (Black Press Media file photo)

Work is underway to bring a Nordic-themed Christmas display to Uptown Shopping Centre. (Black Press Media file photo)

Outdoor skating rink, road mural among holiday festivities at Saanich mall

Santa dons a clear mask for photos at Uptown this winter

Those looking for holiday fun will soon be able to take a spin on a temporary skating rink at Uptown Shopping Center.

In honour of the festive season, the mall is preparing a Nordic-themed display on the pedestrian boulevard – the inner parking lot that closed to vehicle traffic in May – which will include a 40-foot ice rink and a large mural created in partnership with local artists, said Kristy Lowes, marketing director for Uptown.

Construction of the ice rink begins on Nov. 24 and is expected to be complete by Nov. 27, she said, adding that bubbles of up to six people will be able to book exclusive skate time on the ice online starting on Dec. 1. Each group will have the rink to themselves for 30 minutes and staff has allotted 15 minutes for sanitizing between reservations.

Ice time costs $10 per group of six and skate rentals are available for $2 with proceeds slated to go to an as-yet-unnamed charity. The rink will be open from noon to 8 p.m. every day until after Christmas.

A 150-foot, hand-painted road mural will accompany the ice rink and various other holiday displays along the boulevard. The mural is being created by artists Tierney Milne and Rhys Farrell and is expected to be unveiled on Nov. 28 with the rest of the attractions, said Kara Chomistek, president of Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture.

Victoria artists Mateusz Napieralski and Caitlin McDonagh have also been recruited to craft a chalet for skaters to enjoy.

Lowes said the mall also acquired several outdoor seating and dining “globes” to provide covered, lit space for patrons. She explained that with COVID-19 putting a damper on Uptown’s usual holiday festivities, staff wanted to find “thoughtful and safe ways” to bring cheer to shoppers and “create a winter feel in our city that doesn’t really get winter.”

Some holiday favourites will still return in 2020 including the 52-foot Christmas tree and photos with Santa at his cottage. Photo appointments can be made online until Dec. 23 and attendees are expected to follow COVID-19 protocols including participating in temperature checks, wearing masks before and after the photo and social distancing.

St. Nick will be separated from guests as he’ll be seated behind a wall of Plexiglass and his face will be visible in the photos because he’ll wear a clear mask.

To book skating time or a photo with Santa, visit shopuptown.ca.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

ChristmasSaanich

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