“Dad started it, so we thought he would want us to continue it,” said Scott Musson about the elaborate Christmas display outside the family’s Burlington home.
The house at 3360 Spruce Ave. has become a Christmas tradition for the city as hundreds flock to the home every night after dark.
A year ago on Tuesday, 82-year-old display founder Doug Musson climbed a ladder trying to find out why water was dripping onto a pathway beneath. He was worried it might leak on a visitor when he fell.
Doug was rushed to hospital where he died a short time later.
“It’s tough,” said his son who was with him when he fell to the ground.
But as difficult as the past year has been, Scott said his mother decided the decorating had to happen.
“After all the support from the community last year.. we figured we kind of owed it to the city to do it and to the neighbours to do it,” he said.
And the neighbours are most grateful.
Kayla Mackenzie said she has been visiting the Musson home since childhood. She returned to see it on Sunday.
“It really hit home because we are here every year — it really hurt. My condolences to the family, they put it all out and the Christmas spirit is really alive,” she said.
Melissa Gibbins also stopped by to see the Spruce Avenue home, which features some new additions.
WATCH: Family behind popular Burlington Christmas display vows to press on after death of patriarch. Mark Carcasole reports. (Dec. 20, 2017)
“For me it’s just the fact they’ve done it given the circumstances like it kind of just makes your heart hurt that they would go through that and they’ve decided to keep people’s happiness in front of their own,” said Gibbins.
Doug started the display thirty years ago. The tradition began in Calgary, but the family moved to Burlington where Doug and Scott continued it every year.
“Just to have them all sitting at the side of the house or in the shed it would be such a waste,” said Scott about the figures his father made from scratch.
“I think it’s fantastic the way the family has kept this going,” said Ken McConde, who visited the home on Sunday.
The dazzling display partially operates on community donations, which help with hydro and equipment costs.
“There was a GoFundMe campaign last year that certainly helped with the funeral expenses and we put a box out front to help with the support to keep up with the repairs and the hydro,” explained Scott.
Every evening, when the sun goes down, crowds gather to take in the Christmas spirit and Doug’s passion.
The family even has a website, called Musson’s Famous Christmas Display, with pictures from the last few years and a special tribute section for Doug.
“We have received a lot of emails asking if we are going to continue the Christmas lights despite the loss of Doug, my husband, last December,” wrote Joanne Musson.
“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. We could never do these lights without it.”
The website also has a poem for Doug, which it notes, was sent from “someone in the U.K. after Doug’s passing.
“Behind the scenes where magical lights fill imaginations on Christmas nights, a labour of love, an earnest desire, to elevate hearts and smiles much higher,” it read.
Even in death, Doug’s lights remain undimmed at Christmas time.
His son plans to continue decorating the home until he no longer can.
“If the lights weren’t on, it wouldn’t feel normal around here,” he said.
The display is scheduled to end after New Year’s Day.