City of Burnaby, British Columbia Canada

By Hitomi Gilliam AIFD

floral team with eco sculptures

Since 2020, amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been delighted to infuse the City of Burnaby, a neighboring city to Vancouver, Canada, with the spirit of Joy and Whimsy through our annual Woodland Christmas tradition. This contract involves a fabulous team I assemble each November to transform the EcoSculptures which are planted in season but dismantled late fall, to be decorated with a broad assortment of Christmas greens from the Pacific Northwest and a random collection of cuttings, botanical treasures from the City Park and Landscape crew.  The special EcoSculpture Department maintains a vision to bring Fun, Whimsy and Imagination to all their City parks and green spaces to put Eco-Sustainability in the forefront, in their public art to be enjoyed by the community.

reindeer sculpture

There were 28 EcoSculptures in all to complete this season to be installed in groupings in 8 locations throughout the city.  They included several Owl families which this year went ‘Gnomish’, Eagles, Cranes, Bears, giant Salmon, and a team of 8 Sheep which were recruited to pull the Santa’s Sleigh decked out as Woodland Rein-Sheep.  The Whimsicality in the imagination to design each year differently…. to add special personalities to the woodland creatures… is the job for our creative team.  We work side by side with the EcoSculpture team with total crew of 6 to 10 pairs of hands working to craft the unique characters which come to life in the city’s Civic Square, the Library, the Schools to bring smiles to everyone. 

designers working on a sculpture

We work on every detail that create intrigue, curiosity, leading to imaginative storytelling and conversations with children and families. The holiday season is family time….  City of Burnaby want to entertain imagination through these woodland creatures with importance placed on Eco-Sustainable Artistry.  All the sculptures and supplies implemented to create fits into REUSE to REDUCE… all the tools and components are used and dismantled and reused again and again. Sourcing of botanicals are as local as possible with some of the best materials coming from selective prunings and from clean-up after wind storms.  Absolutely no invasives are used.  The general vibe is Natural Woodland Organics with fun and whimsy…. perfect way to teach the importance of Eco Sustainability to their citizens.  We are ever so grateful to be included in this annual mission. It is gratifying to hear observers on the street commenting that the display gets better and better each year.

floral artists by their scuplture

The Creative Team is led by Brenna Quan AIFD, Aniko Kovacs AIFD Emc, Susanne Law AIFD Emc, Debbie James, Shirley Burns, Larissa Mead and Hitomi Gilliam AIFD.