Victoria’s Upper Harbour will look a little different this holiday season as the first lights went up Friday (Nov. 18) on a 42-foot metal Christmas tree.
The tree, which is at Point Hope Maritime Ltd., will spark the holiday spirit for Greater Victoria as a part of the Ralmax Group of Companies’ harbour light-up.
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto and Bruce Williams, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO, did the honour of stringing the tree with the first of 2,100 lights.
The 5,500-pound tree is part of a new ferry tour called Victoria Harbour Lights: A Winter Dream, that for the month of December, will light up the community.
The tree was created by United Engineering Ltd. and took just over a week to build, with five people working to make it a reality.
In an effort to increase tourism in Victoria during the off-season, Ralmax – which owns Victoria Harbour Ferry and the other companies involved in the project – will launch the ferry tour on Dec. 2.
“It’s a really extraordinary opportunity to change the base of the visitor industry in the winter,” Alto said.
Barry Hobbis, general manager of Victoria Harbour Ferry, said he is expecting 7,000 bookings for the inaugural season, which will go until Dec. 30.
The tree is just one of many displays spectators can see this holiday season. There will also be 3D animated displays on many buildings and bridges in the Upper Harbour, designed by Limbic Media.
A 45-minute narration, told from a child’s point-of-view, along with music will accompany the ferry tour, but spectators can still view the lights from land.
“I think people might expect it to be simple, but they’re going to see something very unique and moving,” Alto said.
With the lights and animation, Relmax hopes to bring attention to Victoria’s industrial harbour and draw visitors downtown to support local businesses.
“I sincerely think it will change the landscape of tourism in the winter,” Hobbis said. “It’s a beautifully narrated story.”