that time of year where Christmas light displays dominate our neighbourhoods
providing much-needed colour and twinkle to those long, dark winter nights. Some
displays are more iconic in Nanaimo than others, such as the tree made of
lights way up in Sugarloaf Mountain Park.
When you see Sugarloaf Mountain Park lit up, it’s thanks to the off-duty Nanaimo professional firefighters of IAFF Local 905, who strung Christmas lights and placed the Maltese cross a top the pole earlier this week. Locals have gotten accustomed to seeing the lights every winter as this tradition has been taking place for over 50 years in Nanaimo. In order for this tradition to continue, it takes a willing group of volunteers and a nearby homeowner who graciously provides the power each year. If you've seen the tree but wondered how this all got started, here is a brief history of the Sugarloaf Mountain Park Tree:
1960 - the Departure Bay Volunteer Fire Department started this tradition using a real tree and lights. Eventually, in the late 60’s a pole was put up.
1985 - the pole needed to be upgraded, so the current pole was installed using a helicopter and new cables and real incandescent bulbs were used.
2003 - full time, off-duty members of IAFF local 905 officially welcomed this tradition as their own.
2016 - a new tree was constructed using LED lights, a new power cable and a Maltese Cross for the top of the tree was constructed.
2020 - the tradition continues!
If you haven't checked out this park before, you can find park information and directions here: Sugarloaf Mountain Park.