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Winter Wonders 2022 kicks off at Hamilton’s RBG

The weather outside may have been frightful on the rainy and chilly night of Nov. 27, but plenty of people’s nights were merry and bright when they visited the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) to enjoy the Winter Wonders experience. 

The Winter Wonders event sees Hendrie Park converted into a 1.5 km trail decorated with all sorts of lighting displays.  

Guests enter the park through a tunnel leading out of the Camilla and Peter Dalglish Atrium, passing by a red tree made of poinsettias. 

The park is filled with the sound of holiday music, and teahouse employee Yasmina Alahkim said guests and staff are already getting in the holiday mood. 

“It’s been quite busy, but it’s been really fun and actually very enjoyable working it,” Alahkim said. 

Leading through the Helen M. Kippax Garden is the “Blanketed In Snow” exhibit where the soft sounds of nature play through hidden speakers and lights dotted along the trail shift colours.

Friendly staff guide visitors around to ensure that guests can see all of what the park has to offer. 

The lighting displays are far more than run-of-the-mill Christmas lights. Each garden in the park has its own theme, such as Prehistoric Grove’s “Ice Floats” exhibit, which is a serene path lit up by glowing inflatable icebergs. 

While they walk through the park, guests can purchase something warm to drink or grab a bite from one of the various food vendors located throughout the park. All the alcoholic beverages are from Ontario-based brands. These include mulled wine made with Peller Family Merlot and hot chocolate mixed with Wayne Gretzky Canadian Cream, topped with candy canes and whipped cream. 

The magic of the Winter Wonders experience brings in many families. Some, including the family of Hana Fleet, come back year after year. 

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid so I’ve kind of grown up coming to Winter Wonders,” Fleet said. “It’s definitely interesting growing up coming here and then actually working here and seeing all of the work that gets put into it.”

Inside the Rose Garden Tent, guests could listen to classic Christmas carols sung by the SWAG Quartet.

The cost of admission ranges from $20 for adults to $16 for children ages 4 to 12, and only $5 for RBG members. 

Winter Wonders will run every Wednesday through Sunday from Nov. 23 – Jan. 8. 

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