Beloved Oak Bay light display to shut down after this year

Beloved Oak Bay light display to shut down after this year
The light display, which features synchronized flashing lights, is shown.

It’s a house that looks a lot like Christmas.

For the past 15 years, the light – and music – display in front of an Oak Bay house has been a favourite stop for locals to watch and listen to.

But this season is especially bittersweet.

Brad Williams is the maestro behind the Henderson Road Christmas light show.

“So we’ve got about 400-extension cords, which effectively all plug into this system here,” he says, showing the display.

It started modestly in 2008, but took off when he discovered he could use a computer to synchronize the lights.

“And from that point on, we began building, and building, and building the display,” says the Oak Bay man.

Passerby can listen to music by setting their radio to 99.1 FM. Williams uses a special FM transmitter to play songs that are synchronized to his light display.

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A part of the light display is shown.

Williams usually starts putting the display together in early November, but this year the family helped out.

“This year we got it down to about three weeks,” he says. “My grandkids, my son, my son-in-law actually flew out from Calgary and spent four days with us.”

The neighbours seem to love the display.

“I came by last night,” said neighbour Stella McLeod. “I volunteer with a group that’s called Memory Cafe, it’s for participants that have dementia and their partners. So we were doing a Christmas lights tour. I said, ‘I know a spot next door.’ So we just came by to see it.”

Another neighbour said the display always has people stopping in their tracks, particularly children.

“It’s light. That’s what the season is supposed to be about,” said neighbour Michelle Corburn.

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But Santa’s wave as part of the display is a hint that all good things must come to an end.

After the last song plays at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, Williams will unplug it all for good.

“So this year is going to be our last year,” he says. “We’ve been doing it for 15 years, it’s just time to retire. You retire from your job, and you retire from Christmas lights.”

It’ll take another three weeks to dismantle the display.

Williams plans to sell most of the lights, but he hopes there’s someone out there who might be interested in keeping the neighbourhood tradition going.

The light display is lit up from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at 3198 Henderson Rd.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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