The miniature train ride at Minter Country Garden in Chilliwack will not be making spirits bright this Christmas.
Master gardener Brian Minter and the store team spends several weeks every November preparing a magical experience for visitors, with thousands of twinkling lights, holiday displays, and the crowning glory: a miniature train ride for festive fun.
But not this year.
“As many folks who have recently visited the store know, Brian took a tumble on Labour Day Weekend and as a result fractured his neck in three places,” according to a Minter family statement on the Minter Gardening Facebook page.
The beloved B.C. gardener is still on duty, answering garden-related questions at the Young Road store in Chilliwack as he heals from the injury. But unfortunately his day-to-day chores, and those of the team, had to be adjusted and curtailed for the Christmas season — and into the future.
They are also struggling to fill current staff vacancies, which adds to the challenges.
Consequently the Minter family made the difficult decision this week to cancel the miniature train ride that runs through the store for 2018. From testing lights, to moving sections of the greenhouse to lay the tracks, and bringing in large anchor trees, it takes considerable time and effort to bring the train ride all together, before, during and after the December celebrations.
“Given the extensive preparations needed for the event, and specifically the train, after a great deal of consideration we have made the decision that the miniature train ride will not be part of our holiday activities this year,” reads the Minter family’s post online.
The first rideable train ride started outdoors at the Minter Country Garden store in 2002. In recent years it was brought from outdoors to indoors to provide an all-weather activity.
They still plan to create beautiful lighting displays, cool vignettes, funky photo-ops and fantastic entertainment at the Young Road store in Chilliwack this year. The Minter celebration will run December 1-23.
But they acknowledge despite the cancellation of the Christmas mini train, there are many other options across the region.
“We are also fortunate enough to live in an area that is rich with holiday spirit and, as such, there are several family friendly events from Agassiz through to North Vancouver to participate in and enjoy.
“We thank you very much for your understanding, and wish you a merry and bright season ahead. Sincerely, The Minter Family,” the post concluded.