The switch has been flipped on the Christmas lights in Victoria Park, but this year’s ceremony had much less fanfare thanks to the pandemic.
Mayor Ed Holder was joined by Jesse Foster, a personal support worker with the London Health Sciences Centre, as the lights were officially turned on for the first time Thursday evening, illuminating the park with over 75,000 lights.
“I am thrilled to invite Londoners to enjoy Victoria Park’s beautiful lights and festive displays, a favourite holiday tradition for many,” said Mayor Ed Holder in a media release.
“While we head into the holiday season and celebrate in safe ways, my thoughts are with all front line workers, health care heroes, and everyone doing their part to keep our community safe during this time.
“Thank you for your efforts and I wish all Londoners a safe holiday season.”
Upwards of 20,000 people gathered in the park in previous years for the event, which often featured live music and holiday songs. The formal event was cancelled this year to prevent crowds from congregating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lights will be on nightly from 5 to 11 p.m. for the holiday season.
This year’s specially decorated trees include:
- Angel Tree: The Angel Tree honours the lives of children that have passed on with each white light in honour of a child’s cherished memory.
- Tree to commemorate the troops overseas: The tree with yellow lights will be aglow in support of Canadian troops serving around the world.
- Tree of Hope: The pink lights on the Tree of Hope represent a beacon of hope to those who have been diagnosed or who have survived breast cancer.
- Tree of Wishes: The blue lights on the Tree of Wishes support the Make-A-Wish Foundation to honour children with life-threatening medical conditions who have received a wish.
- Tree to Shine the Light on Woman Abuse: The tree with purple lights represents the burning individuality, strength and everlasting hope of abused women and the acknowledgement that society will no longer remain in the dark about woman abuse.
- Remember, Honour, Celebrate Tree: The tree with red lights is illuminated in remembrance of the thousands of lives lost to HIV/AIDS.
- Donor Tree: The blue and green lights on the Donor Tree represent The Trillium Gift of Life Network which coordinates organ donation and transplants across the province and the Kidney Foundation which is committed to kidney health and improving lives for all people.
- Carpenter’s Union Tree: This tree is illuminated with yellow and blue lights.
The City Hall promenade deck will not be open for viewing this year, and residents are asked to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. That includes maintaining six feet of physical distance from others, practising good hand hygiene, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home if you feel unwell.
Londoners looking to visit Santa at Santa’s House can visit operationholidayspirit.com for more information on Santa’s hours, dates and for booking information.
The outdoor skating rink at Victoria Park is set to open Saturday, Dec. 5, weather permitting. For skating details, please visit, london.ca/skating.