Finals preps as Victoria’s Truck Light Convoy marks 20th anniversary


WATCH: Volunteers decorate their trucks for the Island Equipment Owners Association Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive, which is marking 20 years. Tess van Straaten has a sneak peek.

Mark Volk is putting the finishing touches on his float.

“It’s a lot of hours, a lot of work, a lot of effort,” says Volk, who runs Volk Transport. “Basically, we shut down this trailer all week and decorate through the whole week and then we have to decorate the truck that pulls it.”

Volk and close to 80 other heavy truck operators, along with hundreds of volunteers, spend countless hours getting their big rigs ready for one of Victoria’s most popular parades.

The Island Equipment Owners Association (IEOA) Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive wows crowds on a 35-kilometre route from Ogden Point to Western Speedway.

“Just the amount of people and the amount of community support you get out of it is amazing,” says Volk. “It’s surreal when you drive by all those people and you see them all cheering and yelling and screaming — it’s pretty unreal.”

It’s believed the annual convoy is the first and largest lighted truck parade of its kind in Canada.

It all started with Nirmal Johal, who was inspired by a Coca-Cola commercial in the 1990s and decided to light up his own truck.

“Not 10 minutes later we were heading down to London Drugs, picking up lights, and we bought near every light they had in the place,” explains Johal.

In the years that followed, Johal got other trucks involved and then the Island Equipment Owners Association jumped on board two decades ago.

As the convoy celebrates its 20th anniversary on Saturday, Johal can’t help but be amazed at how big it’s become.

“It’s become something I never imagined it would have,” says an emotional Johal. “It’s just the feeling you get, helping people.”

In addition to brightening up the holidays, the convoy’s collected more than 73,000 kilograms of food for local food banks over the years, helping to spread Christmas cheer.

The convoy starts at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 and you can watch it live on the CHEK News Facebook page.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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