North Pole moves to MY Place 

Transformed into a holiday wonderland of snow, elves and workshops

WHAT: North Pole Central

WHEN: Dec 17-30

WHERE: MY Millennium Place

Earlier this year Higher Ground Entertainment officials met with an advisory group made up of Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb and the Resort Municipality of Whistler to determine how the MY Millennium Place space could better serve the community.

From discussions, two issues arose: Whistler stereotypically being catagorized as expensive and the need for more family-oriented activities.

As a result, North Pole Central was born. The entire building will be transformed in late December into a holiday wonderland of snow, elves and workshops. Evening and day activities for both kids and adults will be presented and all activities are reasonably priced at costs even locals are unlikely to scoff at.

"The first thing we looked at was what interests kids," said Christian Kessner of Higher Ground Entertainment.

"We came up with tubing and crafting. Kids have never had an alternative to ski lessons. It will enhance the experience of coming to Whistler by providing (Whistler) with a whole new product. The whole angle of the event is to change the perception that Whistler is too expensive and has no community. This is our chance to welcome people to Whistler with good cheer and let them know our community is solid."

From Saturday, Dec. 17 to Friday, Dec. 30, MY Place will host various activities, including photos with Santa, tube park and craft day packages, Whistler Community Days, live shows and movies, and special events such as a Carnival celebration welcoming Santa on a firetruck, community tree decorating displays, storytelling gathering and a gallery offering a global glimpse at holiday traditions. Children can also drop off letters to Santa daily.

"We will have something new everyday," Kessner said.

Children’s events range from three hours of crafting tree decorations, First Nations crafts, masks and painting for $20, to a day of tubing, lunch and crafts for $59.

Adults can take in a dinner and one of five shows, including improvisational comedy from David Jones, voted Vancouver’s Best Comedian in 2003 and 2004. Other shows include the authentic Brazilian dance troupe Ache Brasil Dec. 27 and A Ray Charles Christmas concert Dec. 29. A set dinner menu at the Brewhouse is offered at $22 with show tickets ranging from $16 to $35.

Kessner said officials hope to expand the trial event into a Whistler winter festival complete with a Santa Claus parade and sleigh rides.

"And if it does well, we can have (events like this) throughout the year and I think that is what the community wants, and this is a great building for it," he said.

Join in the festive fun with the first community event, a tree decorating celebration Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. Six local organizations will be decorating trees.

For more information, call MY Place at 604-935-8414 or visit www.myplacewhistler.org or www.whistlerblackcomb.com/todo/kids.

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