Christmas wonderland in downtown Thunder Bay

Thunder BayRight in the middle of Thunder Bay’s south downtown is the magical “Christmas on the Second Floor” at Victoria’s Cupboard, open to the public from mid-October to December 24. It’s an enchanted place filled with hundreds of delightful Christmas displays, 60 beautifully decorated trees and thousands of Christmas items for unique gifts and home décor.

Victoria’s Cupboard, first established by Marjorie Knutson in 1990 as a small storefront, moved in 2001 to its present location, a 5,000-square-foot two-story heritage-designated building built in 1900 and originally home to the Fort William Daily Times-Journal newspaper (1899-1972).

“A former employee’s mother had a wonderful suggestion to turn the second floor into a permanent Christmas floor,” said Knutson.

She did, transforming the floor into eight colour-coordinated Christmas-themed rooms.

“The Christmas floor appeals to all five senses—smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight. It’s an overall feast for the eyes,” said Knutson.

Even the names of the rooms fire up the senses and each one has hundreds of distinctive Christmas items.

According to Knutson, most people tour the rooms clockwise, starting with the Soft Gold Room where shades of gold, cream and snowy white present a quiet, calming ambience amidst angels, cherubs, gold snowflakes, snowmen and musical instruments.

Next is the North Pole Express Room themed around Mrs. Claus, along with helpers, elves and reindeer. There’s also vintage train sets and Department 56 North Pole Village buildings and accessories.

In the Spiced Orange Room—with its spicy scents of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, combined with the essence of orange—Christmas trees are decorated in shades of copper, brass and bronze with gingerbread and cookie ornaments.

A stroll down Candy Cane Lane takes you to the Cherry Berry Room, a large room divided into two colour themes—soft pastel shades of pink on one side, purple on the other—based on the Nutcracker Suite theme.

Blue, white and silver colours are featured in the Icy Blue Room, giving it a Nordic winter look. Here you’ll find snowflake ornaments, icicles and white-fur treetop angels reminiscent of a by-gone romantic era.

The large Green Ivy Room has a formal Victorian theme (the Bearington Bears are adorable) in half the room, while the other half is Woodland Rustic with hundreds of items, ranging from feathered birds to angels, Santa, stars, snowflakes and wildlife. And the room is home to the legendary Christmas Pickle.

The popular Victorian Red Room has an eclectic mix of sports-related items including sports ornaments (hockey is a favourite) and traditional items like snow globes, “Christmas Story” tableware, Santas and Victorian-related décor.

A cup of hot cider greets visitors to the Cashier’s Room as they browse the large selection of gourmet food items like dips, hot chocolate, mulling spices, cards and a large selection of nativities.

The rooms are creatively decorated by Debra Swanson with Marjorie’s son Peter ensuring everything behind the scenes is hooked up, lit, secured and safe.

Victoria’s Cupboard is located at 115 May Street North, Thunder Bay.



By Elle Andra-Warner