Illustration of the upcoming Lights on the Lake festivities, set to bring even more Christmas joy to Harrison Hot Springs this winter. (Tourism Harrison)

BC village transforming into winter wonderland this holiday season

Harrison Hot Springs will be filled with lights, events and Christmas trees

With nature, a lake and small-town charm, Harrison Hot Springs is already a summer-time destination. But its new initiative to bring in winter season tourism is turning the Village into a Holiday wonder, complete with lights, Christmas trees and a cabin-style performance to ring in the New Year.

Located only a one and a half hour-drive from Vancouver, Harrison is a popular day or weekend trip for city folk who want to enjoy a picturesque mountain range and lake view. Now visitors can enjoy the view and vibe of Harrison with a holiday twist.

A ‘Christmas Tree Trail’ will run from Nov. 23-Jan.13. The ‘trail’ is a re-imagination of the “Celebration of Trees” event that was once held exclusive to the Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

The event will work with businesses in the Village to create a Christmas tree trail that takes visitors to different decorated trees at a variety of locations. Visitors and locals alike can pick their favourite trees as they visit coffee shops, retailers and restaurant in the charming Whoville-esque Village.

And then there’s the new ‘Lights on the Lake’ initiative, set to take Harrison’s well-lit holiday season to the next level when the walkway around the Lagoon includes a ‘12 days of Christmas’ display.

Winter lights in Harrison are enjoyed by many, but this year’s ‘Lights on the Lake’ will take the holiday feel ‘to the next level.’ (Tourism Harrison)

With time, the Village hopes to acquire more lights and decorations to create a display similar to the “Lights at Lafarge Winter Lights Display” in Coquitlam, according to Harrison Tourism director Robert Reyerse, who spoke to the Observer about the ‘bright’ idea back in February.

“[Harrison] is a pretty well-decorated Christmas light destination at this point,” he said. “We want to take it to the next level.”

In a media release from Tourism Harrison, Reyerse outlined a three-year plan to grow the light display.

“Next year, the light displays will be placed around the lagoon, creating a wonderful 1.5 kilometer walk of visual magic, and year 3 brings additional displays building on Harrison’s nature and wildlife themes,” he stated.

“We have encouraged visitors to hike our mountains, bike our countryside, and paddle our waters. This light festival gives everyone another reason to visit us during the winter, while also highlighting the beautiful outdoors that our community is located in.”

This winter, the inaugural lighting occurs Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. with festivities beforehand that include complimentary hot chocolate, treats and a roving Sasquatch. The lights will be on from dusk until 11 p.m. from Nov.24-Jan.28.

Related: More funding for Harrison tourism projects on the horizon

Finally, ringing in the New Year will be a night to remember with a rustic experience at the Harrison Memorial Hall where attendees will enjoy a performance from Ryan McAllister and the North Country Gentlemen. Games, decor, champagne and a one of a kind venue will make sure it’s a New Years Eve to remember. Unlike the other (free!) events, the New Years performance will be ticketed, but prices are yet to be determined.

“Working with the Village, we hope to turn the two month Christmas period into a new peak occupancy time for the hotels, restaurants and retail operations,” Reyerse told the Observer.

Will Harrison be the Lower Mainland’s very own Whoville? We can’t say for sure, but there’s no doubt that the tiny Village will be full of Christmas cheer this winter.

Along with the CP Holiday Train, Kilby Christmas dinner and non-stop holiday events, the Christmas season is shaping up to be another busy, joyful time in the Agassiz Harrison area.

Related: Harrison to re-market public hot springs as ‘bathhouse’

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