Glenhyrst is Aglow by Michelle Madison-Dick

December is a magical time at Glenhyrst Art Gallery. When the moon settles high in the blackest of skies, curtains of stars mirror the thousands of lights that shine brightly below.

Glenhyrst is aglow. 

It is December 2013. As I walk through the front gates, my eyes are wide with excitement at the sparkling lights that drip from the treetops and illuminate the building facades. 

I am immediately drawn forward by the sound of jingling carols that drift from the middle of the property. I see that there is a Christmas show, with dancing lights and displays that are coordinated to the music. What a sight! I am amongst hundreds of others who are delighted by the show, including children who dance about to the lively beats and erupt with excitement as the Santa figure speaks.  

My attention is then drawn to the tempting smells that escape the Cottage, which has been transformed into a cozy space to both warm my hands and satisfy my stomach. A warm retreat that houses home baked sweets and hot drinks from the Golden Teapot Tearoom, as well as popcorn treats from Original Kettlecorn. Alice’s Restaurant food truck is parked nearby, serving dinner fare to the crowds. With hot chocolate in hand, the chill of the night has evaporated and I continue on.

A little further down the lane is an Artisan Village Sale, located in the Glenhyrst Coach House. I am overjoyed by the concept of purchasing hand made one of-a-kind gifts, from local artisans and artists, for my family and friends this year! What a selection – from jewelry to pottery to knits and paintings, there is something for everyone.

Amidst the excitement is an art gallery, standing tall with open doors and welcoming greeters, exuding such excitement that it appears as though the building itself is alive. This is more than a great art gallery, this is a home. A home that belongs to, and exists for, the community and beyond. The rooms that once existed as living quarters and a beloved retreat now exhibit beautiful, thought provoking and contemporary art pieces. The transformation, in terms of purpose and furnishings, has not compromised the warmth and comforts of the home that used to exist. In fact, they are ingrained in both the structure and the atmosphere, and add to the enchantment of the Joysey Lights at Glenhyrst.  

On display is an assortment of textile works and silkscreen prints by Toronto artist Kai Chan, as well as paintings by local artist Karen Nonnecke. A particular piece on the upper level draws my attention as a silent, yet lively, reflection of what I just experienced outdoors. It is entitled Starry Night, a suggestive textile interpretation of van Gogh’s famous masterpiece that is also reminiscent of the swirls of movement in the outdoor Christmas scenes. 

I return to the night air, where fresh brisk winds pinch at my cheeks and sway the very tree branches where beautiful twinkle lights illuminate the vast grounds of Glenhyrst. There is a quiet magic that exists here. Beneath the glitz and sparkle, there is a glow that exists from within, which beckons my return.

This is the beginning of a tradition. A tradition that is meant to be experienced and shared, relived and loved. This free community event is a shining star in the Christmas Season in Brantford, and all are welcome to experience the magic of Christmas at Glenhyrst!

Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant is presenting 30 days of lights, from December 1 – 30, 2013. The lights will be on from 6:00 to 9:00pm nightly. For further information, including the calendar of events and parking suggestions, please visit or call 519-756-5932.

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