Last Christmas for a legendary Victoria holiday display

For sale: Santa in a hot tub, a Yeti and a set of giant inflatable Christmas ornaments

For sale: Santa in a hot tub, a Yeti and a set of giant inflatable Christmas ornaments

Neil Salmond's favourite among his collection of giant inflatable Christmas objects is a giant abominable snowman. (Sterling Eyford/CBC)

After 28 years, it's the last blast for a Christmas display that has drawn thousands of gawkers to a quiet side street in suburban Saanich.

Neil Salmond's home at 4091 Tuxedo Drive features more than the conventional light show.

It's assembled from a warehouse full of decorations ranging from a 25-foot nutcracker to an animatronic Santa in a hot tub.

"There's a snowman that's 20 feet on the balcony, that elf is 25 feet, there's a candle that goes over there, that's 25 feet, then there's a 15-foot candy cane that goes in the middle," Salmond said.

The display also includes a 1956 fire engine bearing the licence plate "North Pole Fire Dept." and his personal favourite, a furry yeti that reminds him of the abominable snowman from the 1964 animated feature Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The giant inflatable ornaments are leftovers from a franchise business Salmond used to operate that put promotional displays on the roofs of businesses.

Salmond said his collection of giant inflatables and other decorations fill a warehouse when not on display. (Sterling Eyford/CBC)

It takes about a month to set up the display each year.

Salmond and his wife didn't limit themselves to the collection of oversized inflatables  When a well-known local restaurant on a former Canadian Pacific steamship closed down and sold its Christmas decorations, Salmond bought those too.

Santa in a hot tub

"We have Santa scrubbing his back in a hot tub. We're always fascinated with animatronics," Salmond said.

After a recent knee injury and tinnitis — which caused hearing loss and dizziness — Salmond has decided it's too risky to climb ladders anymore, so this will be the last season for the Christmas extravaganza.

"It's not worth it," he said. "We just figured it's time for somebody else to take over."

The "North Pole Fire Dept." truck at the Salmonds' Christmas display was formerly in service at the Nanaimo airport. (Sterling Eyford/CBC)

Salmond said he and his wife will miss putting on the annual display as well as the interaction with people who would sometimes bring gifts in thanks.

However, he's hoping the show will go on — outside somebody else's home.

The entire set-up is for sale, including the 1956 fire engine which needs significant repairs before it can be driven off the lot.


With files from Sterling Eyford