WINNIPEG — It’s been a mainstay in Winnipeg Christmas light displays for decades, but Christmas at the Taylor’s won’t be operating this holiday season.
Bill Taylor, the driving force behind the massive light and model train display, died two months ago.
“It (the decision) was more like forced upon us because obviously we want it to run,” said Lisa Taylor, Bill’s daughter. “I really wanted it to run, but my father passed away right before September.”
Christmas at the Taylor’s combined Bill’s love of trains, children and Christmas.
“You want to, in your heart, do it,” Bill’s son Paul said. “But it’s been a really tough last couple months just coming to terms with everything. Now trying to squeeze this in as well, knowing that we’re already way behind the eightball on it.”
In Bill’s last year taking on the spectacle there were more than 101,000 light bulbs on display.
“He would go over all of them by hand,” said Leonard La Rue, a member of the Assiniboine Valley Railway. “Checking them, all the bulbs, replacing any that were broken, painting any that had faded, retaping them every couple of years.”
It was a massive undertaking that would start in the summer. Bill would work tirelessly until the end of the Christmas season.
“He’s irreplaceable and we really miss him. He was the backbone for the light display,” said La Rue.
Friends and family hope that taking this holiday season off will allow them to mourn the loss of the man who worked endlessly to make Christmas special for Winnipeggers.
“My father was very devoutly Christian and loved to celebrate Christmas. That was so special to him so I really hope to honour him and continue the lights and the train going,” said Lisa.
The hope is to get Christmas at the Taylor’s up and running for Christmas 2014. They need volunteers and donations to make that happen.
To find out how you can help you can go to the Assiniboine Valley Railway’s website.