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Annual festival in Saanich creates opportunities for families to celebrate harvest season

The Gardens at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific is dedicated to delivering natural learning
Paula McCormick is the youth program leader in the Gardens at HCP, here she is pictured at the Annual Harvest Festival with pumpkins – soon to be turned into festive pumpkin people. (Megan Atkins-Baker/New Staff)

The Gardens at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) hosted its Annual Harvest Festival on Oct. 30, where families had the opportunity to plant garlic bulbs, make bird feeders, look for migrating birds in the wetland, create pumpkin people, and learn about how to protect bats with Habitat Acquisition Trust volunteers at their exhibit.

The fall bird migration walk was led by a nature educator to teach families about what migration looks like at this time of year and why bird species that serve Greater Victoria ecosystems are in need of protection.

Paula McCormick leads youth programs in the gardens and was excited to celebrate the season by hosting educational exhibits and encouraging families to be outdoors.

“Today we’ve set up a number of little exhibits such as planting opportunities – today we’re planting garlic – we’re always looking to connect families with plants and teach them about how to create food security through connection to their own food sources,” said McCormick.

Growing your own food and being self-sufficient is a message that HCP is keen to teach to families and children when they visit the gardens, McCormick added.

There were also opportunities for families to create their own pumpkin people – an annual tradition where children and families participate in workshops to learn how to use pumpkins and gourds to make life-sized creations.

Families are encouraged to bring along old clothing, hats, boots, and more. Pumpkins and straw to stuff the clothing and position the pumpkin people are provided.

McCormick said the annual festival is a wonderful way to celebrate the seasonal changes and harvests from local gardens as Greater Victoria transitions into winter.

To learn more or to get involved visit

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