After missing last year because of LRT construction, the giant Christmas tree has returned to downtown Edmonton.
The Edmonton Downtown Business Association will light the tree with a small ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 16.
“This year, we wanted to bring some Christmas cheer back to the area,” DBA executive director Ian O’Donnell said. “We realize that is important for the city but also to bring people to our main public square.”
The usual spectacle that comes with the tree lighting will be scaled back this year, as much of Sir Winston Churchill Square is still being taken up by LRT construction.
O’Donnell said safety concerns will keep the DBA from packing as many people into the square as it normally does, but the association wanted to make sure there was a small ceremony for those who wanted to come out.
“We want to make sure that our main public square is our main public square,” he said. “Even with construction and disruption around it, we want people to come down; we want people to come enjoy it.”
The small ceremony will include a choir and refreshments, and O’Donnell said the tree will officially be lit up at around 5:45 p.m.
The white spruce stands about 65 feet high and weighs an estimated 2,880 kg. It originally came from the Millar Western Forest Management Agreement area near Whitecourt.
WATCH BELOW: If you’ve ever wondered how the massive Christmas tree ends up in Churchill Square every year, wonder no more. Millar Western Forest Products explains how the tree goes from the forest to the city. Video credit: Millar Western Forest Products.
It was cut down and moved to Edmonton on Thursday, arriving late Thursday night to avoid as much traffic as possible, and was erected at around 1 a.m.
EPCOR will decorate the tree next week with about 14,000 lights before the official lighting on Friday night.
This is the 13th year the tree has been erected in downtown Edmonton to mark the beginning of the holiday season.