'Forest of Wishes' pops up outside Chateau Victoria

Times Colonist Christmas Fund logoSimply making a wish can help those in need enjoy Christmas, thanks to the Chateau Victoria.

The downtown hotel has created a new charity event called Forest of Wishes, with money raised going to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. Forest of Wishes starts today and runs through Jan. 2. In exchange for a donation, people get to contribute their wish to the forest.

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“They get a little bauble with a piece of paper and they can write a wish on it, then put that in the bauble and hang it one of our trees out front,” said hotel administrative assistant Yvonne Kemeny.

The wishes will be as private as you want them to be, she said.

“People won’t even really see them,” she said. “It’s just your own personal wish.”

The minimum donation is $5, with tax receipts issued for donations of $20 or more. Donations can also be added to bills at the hotel’s Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar or Clive’s Classic Lounge.

All participants are eligible for a prize draw. First prize is a two-night stay in a Chateau Victoria penthouse for up to four people, and a chef-hosted dinner at Vista 18.

For years, the hotel hosted the Pancakes with Santa community breakfast. In its 13 years at Vista 18, the event raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Christmas Fund.

“We didn’t want to just stop our donations to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, so we thought we would do something else,” Kemeny said.

The trees are now in place and ready to be adorned, she said.

“We’ve got a nice little forest happening, [with] a vintage carriage and some winter wonderland figures. We’ve got an owl and a fox and a squirrel out there, they’re all lit up.”

Chateau Victoria general manager Brenda Ollis said Forest of Wishes has been created to be part of downtown Victoria’s tradition of “embracing the holiday spirit.”

The Times Colonist Christmas Fund helps people in need in Greater Victoria. Last year’s fundraising total was close to $294,000.

Christmas Fund volunteers work with the Salvation Army and the Mustard Seed Street Church to ensure that as many hampers and gift certificates as possible get to those who need them. Proceeds also help put on the Mustard Seed’s annual Christmas dinner, which welcomes over 1,000 guests for a holiday meal.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

How to donate

The Times Colonist Christmas Fund helps people in need in Greater Victoria through the Salvation Army and the Mustard Seed Street Church. It has been a vital part of the Christmas season here since 1956.

Names of Christmas Fund donors will be published in the Times Colonist over the next six weeks.

To donate:

• Fill in the online form here [link].

• Mail a cheque, payable to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund Society, to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.

• Use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday to Friday. Outside those hours, leave a message and your call will be returned.

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