Ladysmith lights up the Christmas season with magical tradition

Watch As many as 30,000 people were expected to turn out Thursday night, to fill the streets of Ladysmith and kick off the holiday season in an old fashioned Christmas tradition. As Skye Ryan reports, the Ladysmith Light Up is the town's night to shine


The clamber of ladders and rustle from stringing the last of 200,000 lights echoed through the quaint town of Ladysmith on Thursday.

Volunteers were hurrying to bring its wonder-filled Ladysmith Light Up to life.

“Gonna be a great night for light up with the clear skies,” said volunteer Bruce Mason.

“Oh every year it’s fun,” said Bill Drysdale, in charge of maintenance for Ladysmith Light Up.

“Because you know the kids are really going to be thrilled when the lights get turned on and memories are made.”

Monda Sampson could hardly wait for the night to begin, looking out from the windows of the Old Town Bakery.

“It’s fun,” said Sampson.

“It’s exciting like seeing people from everywhere coming in and all the lights and festivities,” she said.

Ladysmith Light Up heralds in Christmas for tens of thousands each year.

“I grew up here and it’s just wonderful,” said resident Loretta Kirkbride.

“Well I think it represents the best of the Christmas season,” said Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone.

“I think everybody feels really festive.”

Economically it’s also huge for Ladysmith. It was started 32 years ago for that reason, to bring business into the town that was losing holiday shoppers to the bigger surrounding centres of Nanaimo and Duncan.

However, organizers say they never bargained for the success it turned into today.

They will need it with the downturn in forestry due to the Western Forest Products strike and the shutdown of Mosaic harvesting. Both are already impacting businesses in town.

“There has to be an impact,” said Mayor Stone.

“I know as a business owner myself. I’ve seen an impact.”

Once the lights are turned on, they will remain lit through Jan. 13.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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