Light up your Christmas

The annual Christmas Light Tour, which is open to the entire community free of charge, takes place on Sunday, Dec. 14

One of Campbell River’s long-standing Christmas traditions is back for its 33rd year this December.

The annual Christmas Light Tour, which is open to the entire community free of charge, takes place on Sunday, Dec. 14.

The event, which is a partnership between the Willow Point Lions Club and Campbell River Transit, takes Campbell Riverites via city bus by the biggest and brightest Christmas light displays the community has to offer.

Tom McKenzie of the Lions Club said last year the event was so popular that 11 buses were filled and 13 cars followed behind.

The event has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1982. The local transit manager at the time, John Leavitt, had just arrived from the Lower Mainland where the public transportation system partnered with BC Ferries to help seniors and disabled persons who couldn’t get around on their own, to look at the lights.

McKenzie said people would hop on the ferry and there were buses waiting on each side, one to take people around Nanaimo and one that drove around Horseshoe Bay.

Leavitt found the event to be so successful that he figured he would give it a try in Campbell River. In the beginning the tour was exclusive to people with disabilities and seniors and in those first years, transit was putting three or four buses on the road – a far cry from last year’s count of 11 city buses.

Since then, the event has evolved and grown to include the entire community.

McKenzie said the tour is popular with the community because it saves people time and gas money.

“People don’t have to go and search for the best lights themselves,” McKenzie said, “because we’ve already done that.”

The Christmas Light Tour departs from the Sportsplex at 7 p.m. and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Following the tour, everyone is invited back to the Sportsplex for coffee and refreshments starting at 8 p.m.

While the event is free of charge, the Lions are encouraging everyone to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank.

For more information about the Christmas Light Tour, call Campbell River Transit at 250-287-7433.