Top News

Louisbourg's Christmas Village success replaces bah humbug of CBRM nighttime parade ban

From left, Gail Bond and Brett Hanham, from the George D. Lewis School alumni group, stand beside their National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-inspired float at the first annual Louisbourg Christmas Village Square event on Nov. 29. The event featured a light-up stationary parade, a candy cane lane, live performances and visits with Santa. The event replaced the community's decades-old nighttime parade which could no longer take place because new CBRM regulations allow only daytime ones. Organizers are calling the Christmas Village a huge success and their new annual tradition.
From left, Gail Bond and Brett Hanham, from the George D. Lewis School alumni group, stand beside their National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-inspired float at the first annual Louisbourg Christmas Village Square event on Nov. 29. The event featured a light-up stationary parade, a candy cane lane, live performances and visits with Santa. The event replaced the community's decades-old nighttime parade which could no longer take place because new CBRM regulations allow only daytime ones. Organizers are calling the Christmas Village a huge success and their new annual tradition. - Contributed
LOUISBOURG, N.S. —

Disappointment was turned into delight at the first annual Christmas Village Square in Louisbourg.

The theme this year was Anchored Away in a Sea of Light and it was created to replace the community’s decades-old lightup Christmas parade, which was cancelled because of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s new rules.

Hundreds of people came to enjoy dance performances, walks down candy cane lane and the standing float displays.

“I’ll be honest, leading up to the Christmas Village I was a little disappointed (there wasn’t going to be a parade),” said mother of two Crystal Stockley, who has attended the Louisbourg parade for the past 20 years.

“However, despite the weather, the Christmas Village was wonderful. The organizers put so much work and effort into creating a Christmas wonderland for both young and old. It was perfect.”

The Prince family stands next to their holiday pirates float at the 2019 Louisbourg Christmas Village Square event on Nov. 29. Pictured here, back row, from left, Stephanie Price, Becky Price, Jillian Price, Shauna Burke,  and, front from left, Kailey Mackay, Charlene Price-Burke, Brian Price and T.J. Burke. The float won the People's Choice Award at the Christmas event.
The Prince family stands next to their holiday pirates float at the 2019 Louisbourg Christmas Village Square event on Nov. 29. Pictured here, back row, from left, Stephanie Price, Becky Price, Jillian Price, Shauna Burke, and, front from left, Kailey Mackay, Charlene Price-Burke, Brian Price and T.J. Burke. The float won the People's Choice Award at the Christmas event.

Louisbourg parade committee chair Rose Steylen said they were determined to not give up the nighttime, lightup tradition and feel the Christmas Village was a bigger success than anticipated.

“This is definitely our new tradition,” she said during a phone interview on Dec. 2.

“With this, the whole community came together in one spot. Everyone was socializing, going inside and out, mingling … You can’t do that with a parade.”

One of the floats in the Louisbourg Christmas Village Square stationary parade on Dec. 29. The theme for this year's event, the first one, was Anchored Away in a Sea of Light.
One of the floats in the Louisbourg Christmas Village Square stationary parade on Dec. 29. The theme for this year's event, the first one, was Anchored Away in a Sea of Light.

Steylen said organizers are appreciative of the support they received from other groups and communities. Parks Canada set up a bonfire with re-enactors, businesses set up food trucks and gave away food for free and Two Rivers Wildlife Park was on hand giving free wagon rides.

“There really was something for everyone,” Steylen said excitedly. “Many of the comments (about the stand-still parade) were at least we could see the floats up close.”

Inside, dancers from Dance Sync and other performers took turns entertaining people inside the fire hall who wanted to warm up with a cup of tea after being out in the bitter cold. Another big hit was Santa walking around and chatting with folks instead of being stuck in his sleigh.

“I still would have liked to watch the parade with my family and friends, but this was something else,” said Stockley, who lives with her family in Catalone.

“My little girls’ (ages six and two) eyes lit up with every activity, every treat, every song. It was a child’s dreamworld.”

Lauren Sharpe, who lives in Bateston with her family, has also been to many Louisbourg parades over the years and, like Stockley, she was upset to hear about new rules that forbid them. And like Stockley, she was impressed with the Christmas Village.

“I liked that it was so interactive for the kids,” said the mother of two (a five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.)

“They actually got to explore the floats, go on a wagon ride, meet Santa and participate in all the other activities that were available.”

Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor Amanda McDougall attended the event and admitted she was a little nervous about the turnout, partly because of the recent changes to the CBRM's parade regulations and partly due to weather. However, when she arrived she quickly saw there was nothing but success on the horizon for Louisbourg’s new Christmas tradition.

“The people from the community and from the surrounding communities that chipped in to make this happen was just incredible,” she said.

“Even though it was windy and cold, you didn’t care. It was so exciting … Filled to the gills with fun.”

RELATED:

Santa Claus parade in Glace Bay postponed

One-horse parade to make trek through Whitney Pier, Ashby

Christmas parade schedule for the CBRM

Recent Stories