Light-up heralds arrival of the Christmas season

Yuletide arrives in Victoria with light up, Santa parade

With a practised eye and a careful hand, Rob Caunter steers his hydraulic lift towards a tree in Centennial Square, where strings of lights are partially wound up its trunk and into the branches above.

Caunter, supervisor of the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s clean team, has spent the better part of the month stringing thousands of white and coloured lights in 10 trees in the square.

The trees must be ready when Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Martin Leclerc, chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, flick the switch to the fourth annual Centennial Square Christmas tree light-up, Saturday (Nov. 26) at 5 p.m.

“I’ll feel a great sense of relief,” Caunter said, acknowledging the challenges he had in decorating the now-empty square around Occupy Victoria campers.

“I feel that way every year,” he said with a smile. “There’s something every year that catches you off your guard. Last year it was snow.”

The light-up will include live musical performances and free edible treats from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

“It would be just a dreary winter day, rather than being Christmas,” Caunter said of the magic of the lights.

For the first time, the event happens the same night as the Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade, which will feature 60 parade entries this year.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. at the B.C. Legislature, and will continue along Government Street to Capital Iron’s parking lot.