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City embraces Christmas spirit

Over 5,000 lights strung throughout city

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 05/01) - Yellowknife will become the city of lights tomorrow.

On Dec. 6, Mayor Gord Van Tighem will light the Christmas tree looming at the entrance to City Hall, triggering a domino effect that will spark 20 trees around the property.

That occasion is called Christmas Lights Across Canada day. Every city in the nation will turn on their Christmas lights.

Over the last month the city has strung over 5,000 light bulbs throughout the city.

According to a rough estimate by Greg Kehoe, director of public works, the city strung lights on 125 trees and streetlights across the city a from straight wrap-around to angels and wreaths.

Along Franklin Ave. the city has decorated 20 streetlights. On the Franklin Ave. median towards Old Airport Rd. the city strung 50 trees with lights. Along Old Airport Rd. the city decorated 20 streetlights.

The city used 15 strands of lights at the fire hall.

Kehoe said the Santa Claus parade marks the citys first lighting benchmark.

We light some of them a few days before but the parade is the day, said Kehoe.

According to Brian Kelln, program manager with the citys community services department, public pressure pushed the city into plunging bulb first into the Christmas spirit. Three years ago there were hardly any Christmas lights but the public felt the city needed to get more Christmasy, said Kelln.

Kelln said the city gets a deal on their lights.

He said he waits until the end of the season to buy so the city gets a 50 per cent discount.

Ive saved the city some money on that, said Kelln.

An expert on things that glitter, Evelyn Murphy, manager of Sashas Jewellery and Giftware, said she likes the citys bright look.

Im impressed with what theyve done here downtown, said Murphy.

I dont think you can ever do too much over Christmas.

A seven-year resident, Murphy said she has seen a yearly improvement in the citys decorations.

Kehoe wants Yellowknifers to give the city some feedback on what decorations they like the most.

The city is also considering placing a big Christmas tree at the Franklin Ave. and 50th St. intersection.