December 20, 2006

Candy Cane Lane labour of love

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Re: “Candy Cane Lane not as sweet,” by Ian Templeman, Letters, Dec. 17.

I’m a little miffed at yet another reader being disappointed about their visit to Candy Cane Lane.

As residents of the lane for more than 15 years, our family continues to marvel at the efforts many undertake to decorate their houses.

photo by Larry Wong, The Journal


Mikael Bencz, grandson of Edmonton Food Bank executive director Marjorie Bencz, marvels at the Christmas lights on Candy Cane Lane.
It’s time to put to bed the myth or hope that the city will refund a portion of the residents’ electrical costs. If they do it for us, they’ll have to do it for every Tom, Dick and Harry. We don’t need this as an incentive to decorate our homes.

The city helps with snow removal and garbage pickup. It also assists with traffic control and parking bans to allow traffic to flow down the street. The police also provide an increased presence for the few idiots who want to steal or destroy something. Too bad they didn’t catch the winner that stole the baby Jesus from the church a few years ago.

What Templeman fails to understand is that some people choose not to decorate and that is their right. For some, it may be the faith that they follow. Others may be too elderly or simply can’t afford the massive utility cost increases. Some simply choose not to participate, and that’s OK.

For those who do, it’s a labour of love of the season, the tradition, and the joy it brings to many who come down the lane every year.

The food bank is the big winner, with visitors dropping off more than 30,000 pounds of food during these three weeks. This has become one of the food bank’s largest fundraisers of the year.

If Templeman wants to return to his youth with a Christmas light show, let him start one on his street. Be prepared for 300,000 visitors coming by. Get your vehicles organized, as you’ll be parking across the street from your house every second year. Your lawn will be trampled by the many who show little respect for your property as they walk over the fresh blanket of snow to get a picture on your lawn. Buy new items every year, as some will be stolen from your display.

For many on the lane, these inconveniences for three weeks are overlooked by their love for the holiday season and the pleasure it brings to many who come to view the lights.

Others are sick and tired of it, and I understand that. Candy Cane Lane has about an 80-per-cent participation rate over 10 blocks and that’s a huge success.

Was Disneyland as good the second time around?

Dave and Lori Birchill, Edmonton