For three weeks over Christmas, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to one very special street in Alberta, Canada, where the spirit of the festive season shines bright.
Residents of 148th Street, in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta, follow a decades-old tradition to decorate their homes with dazzling lights and life-sized Santas, reindeer and snowmen, drawing local and international visitors to this joyful display from 12 December to 4 January.
Bringing a magical winter wonderland to life, the residents of this West End street offer the spectacle free of charge, asking only that guests consider donating food or money to the Edmonton Food Bank.
In 2014, Candy Cane Lane collected between 25,000 and 30,000 kilograms of food, proving that the good-will spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Edmonton.
Visitors to Candy Cane Lane are transported to another world, where carolers fill the streets with merry tunes, families snuggle together for sleigh rides and fairy lights adorn snow-covered trees.
Candy Cane Lane is located at 148 Street between 100 Avenue to 92 Avenue, Edmonton.
Visit the Candy Cane Lane website: http://candycanelane.trav-graphics.com/
For general information on travelling to Alberta, visit www.travelalberta.com.au
The history of Candy Cane Lane
It began simply enough in 1968, when Esther Matcham and her husband moved from Saskatoon to the Crestwood neighbourhood on 148th Street. Saskatoon held an annual Christmas lights festival and competition, and Esther wondered if there was anything similar in Edmonton.
She used templates of a snowman and a candy cane from the Saskatoon festival, and shared them with her neighbours, so they could make their own decorations. They added a few outdoor Christmas lights – a bit of rarity in that era – and then, magic.
People started coming to the street to see the decorations and hear the carollers who went from house to house. Other neighbours joined in, decorating their houses and front lawns with lights and festive displays. One block of decorated houses turned to three, three to six, and an Edmonton holiday tradition took off.
In the early 2000s, a resident had the idea to encourage visitors to drop off food for the Edmonton Food Bank. Last year, Candy Cane Lane collected between 25,000 and 30,000 kilograms of food. In 2007, sleigh rides were added, to increase the feeling of wintry nostalgia that is so much a part of the Candy Cane Lane experience.
In true community-building fashion, Candy Cane Lane relies on people from outside the neighbourhood for help. They host a decorating party in mid-November, and invite volunteers to help load the trucks for the Food Bank from early December to early January.