COVID cancels Christmas tree lighting ceremonies

·2 min read

Holiday events that normally attract hundreds of people across the Halifax region are being revamped, going virtual or being outright cancelled to discourage large crowds from gathering during the pandemic.

Lower Sackville will stream its traditional Christmas tree lighting Friday night on Facebook so people can watch from home.

In Halifax, public ceremonies have been cancelled for the lighting of the tree and the menorah at Grand Parade outside city hall.

Lights on the Christmas tree will be turned on Saturday, while the menorah will be lit up during Hanukkah.

There will also be a light show projected onto the exterior of city hall between Friday and Jan. 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:45 pm.

"Instead of having one night and one event, it'll be every 15 minutes," said Mayor Mike Savage.

"Watch the show — I think it will be cool — but remember to keep your distance."

No public event to mark Halifax Explosion

The only day the light show will be turned off is Dec. 6, which will mark 103 years since the Halifax Explosion. Wreaths will be laid at Fort Needham in the city's north end, but again there will be no public ceremony.

Savage will post an address on the municipality's Facebook page shortly after 9 a.m., which is when the explosion took place in 1917.

The city's New Year's Day levee has also been cancelled.

'All about lights and decorations'

At Sullivan's Pond in Dartmouth, the public Christmas tree lighting will not take place as it traditionally does on the first Saturday in December. Instead, a tree with lights will be in its usual spot and downtown Dartmouth will be decorated for the holiday season.

"It's all about lights and decorations this year and not about any gatherings of any kind," said Tim Rissesco, executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.

"Battling COVID is taking precedence over everything, as it should."

Downtown Dartmouth will also have a light show, similar to the one in Halifax, projected onto the former post office on King Street.