The spirit of Christmas is alive and well again this year in the street that has affectionately become known as Candy Cane Lane. The street in Edmonton, Alberta began putting up Christmas decorations nearly 50 years ago. At that time five families participated in the festivities which became almost a ritual beginning in the late fall with the securing of steel rods in the ground. This had to be done early because the ground would freeze over by December and the steel rods were necessary to hold up the giant snowman that would come to be the symbol of Candy Cane Lane.
Once the five families had completed preparations they would get together for a few drinks and a Light Up the Lights celebration. These families fondly recall the Christmas carollers that always seemed to end up at the door of the party on ‘light up’ night. No need for a snow machine on Candy Cane Lane, the street has enjoyed snow at Christmas for as long as they have been decorating the houses.
Today Candy Cane Lane has earned an international reputation for Christmas spirit and although the street has grown and the population increased, there isn’t a house on Candy Cane Lane that doesn’t join in the festivities. Candy Cane Lane has grown from five houses to eight blocks of houses that participate in the Christmas cheer. Every house on the street does it a little bit differently but common themes on Candy Cane Lane are lights on trees and houses, displays in the front living room, cut out snowmen and Santa’s, candy canes and at one house, the front walk is covered with the bottoms of bleach bottles which are painted and lit to look like giant red and green gum drops.
Some of the residents of Candy Cane Lane are unable to decorate their own houses but not to worry, on a street where Christmas spirit rules; volunteers help these folks out with decorations and labor. The icing on the Christmas cake – the street decorations raised 17,000 kilograms of food for the food bank last year and they expect to do the same or better again.