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60 years of seasonal smiles: Calgary Scouts carry on Christmas tree lot tradition

WATCH: Some Calgary scouts are gearing up for the holidays, setting up a Christmas tree lot and carrying on a long-standing tradition. Gil Tucker reports.

Calgarians on the hunt for a Christmas tree are in seasoned hands when they stop in at the tree lot outside Holy Cross Anglican Church in the city’s northwest.

The 31st St. Cyprians Scout group has been running the lot since 1959, now celebrating 60 years of helping generations of Calgary families find Christmas trees.

The group has good relations with suppliers, which ensures a reliable source of trees at times when other lots may face shortages.

READ MORE: Edmonton business feels ripple effect of Christmas tree shortage

This year is one of those times, because of the nature of the tree business.

It takes about 10 years to grow a tree and when the recession hit in 2008, some growers cut back on planting. Now in 2019, the effects of that change are being felt across Canada and the U.S.

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The Fraser fir is one tree that may soon be in short supply in Calgary, but as of Monday, the 31st Scouts lot still had about 50 Fraser firs, after opening the lot with 100 on hand on Saturday.

The Scouts opened the lot with 1,000 trees, most of them Douglas firs and balsam firs.

It’s the group’s biggest fundraising effort of the year, with the money going to help group members travel to jamborees during the summer, as well as taking part in many outdoor wilderness adventures throughout the year.

“We go on camping trips and go canoeing and climbing,” Scout Jet Graham-McNeill said. “With so many kids being ‘screen-angers,’ spending so much time on their phones and devices, it’s great to get out and have active adventures.”

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READ MORE: Bah humbug! There is a shortage of Christmas trees in Ontario

The Scout tree lot sold out about 10 days before Christmas in 2018, and folks are anticipating a similar outcome this year.

The lot is open from noon until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m on Sunday, at the Holy Cross Anglican Church at 2828 19 St. N.W. in Calgary.