If you visit Rae Street in Port Coquitlam around Christmas, you may want to bring sunglasses — even at night.
The street is home to one of the most dazzling light displays in the Lower Mainland, where thousands of strings, ornaments and rooftop installations intermingle with a fully lit-up Christmas tree that stands taller than the house.
The property is so extensively decorated that it’s separated into sections, each one with its own theme, from Star Wars to Disney to a working fire pit.
Homeowner Dale Brindley says the project started 10 years ago when he and his family moved into the home.
After he got his neighbours and family involved, he says the house has shone brighter and brighter every Christmas.
“We just started adding lights year after year, and got to the point where we all started doing it every year and it got bigger and bigger,” he said.
“I never thought it would be this big. It’s a big project and we love it.”
Brindley says he and four others start shopping for new additions throughout October. The actual installation takes about six weeks during weeknights and weekends.
“It pretty much takes every weekend through November, a couple weeks in October,” he said. “We have to bring stuff out of storage, too. That’s a whole weekend right there.
“About a two-month process.”
Brindley estimates anywhere between 175,000 to 200,000 individual lights end up adorning his home for the holiday season, based on a rough count two years ago.
The lights are all LED, he adds, which makes the power draw the equivalent of cooking a turkey every night.
“Otherwise I would not have done this,” he said.
Brindley adds it took a few years for the rest of the neighbours to get on board, but that they’ve since come around.
“At first they were worried I was a ‘Griswald neighbour,'” he said, referring to Chevy Chase’s holiday-loving dad in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
“Now everyone’s on board and helping each other out. They bring their families now too, so it’s almost like a block party.”
While the display attracts hundreds of visitors every year, Brindley doesn’t let the attention go to waste, collecting food and cash donations for the Shared Food Bank.
“It’s going very well, people have really been stepping it up,” he said.
While the display has already gotten massive, Brindley says he’s not stopping his plans for expansion next year.
“We’ve got a couple ideas,” he said.
“We’ll be doing this for a while, until the wife says she’s had enough.”