Esquimalt lights up for Christmas

Annual Celebration of Lights kicks off Sunday (Dec. 7)

Esquimalt is ready to light up for Christmas.

The Esquimalt Celebration of Lights takes centre stage on Sunday (Dec. 7) with its annual light up.

It all begins at 6 p.m. with a parade that starts at the Dockyard parking lot at Lyall and Canteen streets and winds its way along Esquimalt Road to Archie Browning Recreation Centre.

More than 40 floats are expected in this year’s parade including participation from Canada Post, Country Grocer, Esquimalt Fire Department, Victoria Police, Department of National Defence and, of course, Santa.

The parade ends at Archie Browning Recreation Centre, 1151 Esquimalt Rd., where children can meet Santa. There will be plenty of entertainment with Happy the Penguin, the Jason Buie Band and food and treats courtesy of Esquimalt Lions Club.

Rainbow Kitchens will also be conducting a food drive.

This year the Celebration of Lights changed the event to Sunday night from Tuesday in the hopes of attracting more families and the hope of participation of the Independent Equipment Owners Association, which participates in the regional light parade the night before.

“We’re asking the independents hold on a day, come into our parade and really light it up. We’re trying to make the parade longer,” said co-organizer Lorne Argyle.

Celebration of Lights started nine years ago when Dino Fiorin wondered why Esquimalt wasn’t following the lead of other cities that lit up their communities for Christmas.

Fiorin headed up the committee and has remained its chairman ever since.

The committee fundraises throughout the year and donates the money back to the community to purchase more lights and decorations In the early days, only a few blocks were lit up, recalled Fiorin. Now, lights and decorations run from the Victoria West/Esquimalt border to Admirals Road.

“It’s a community effort,” Fiorin said, and we love our community.”

For more on the Esquimalt Celebration of Lights, please go online to celebrationoflights.com.