Bob the carpenter lights up Edmonton home with eccentric Christmas display

Around the corner and down a quiet residential street in Edmonton’s Queen Alexandra neighbourhood, there is something akin to a mirage — a home aglow with more than 150,000 individual Christmas lights.

Have you been to Bob's? The fanciful light show has become a holiday tradition for Bob Fedina

Bob Fedina's south Edmonton home is covered with more than 150,000 individual Christmas lights. (Wallis Snowdon/CBC)

Around the corner and down a quiet residential street in Edmonton's Queen Alexandra neighbourhood, there is something akin to a mirage — a home aglow with more than 150,000 individual Christmas lights.

The house is alive with lights and decorations: dancing candy canes, twirling nutcrackers, twinkling icicles and bobbing snowmen.

Christmas at Bob's, a mesmerizing display that lights up just in time for the holidays each year, may be one of Edmonton's best worst-kept secrets.
Bob Fedina is the mastermind behind Christmas at Bob's.
Bob Fedina is the mastermind behind the eccentric collection. A carpenter by trade, he builds most of the decorations by hand.

Fedina has been creating the winter wonderland for more than a decade, inviting crowds to wander by his luminescent lawn at 7421 108th St.

"It's kind of my hobby. I don't know, it's just a thing," Fedina said with a shake of his shaggy brown hair. "It's more about the adventure, and challenging myself to build."

'Filling in the dark spots'

Like many handyman projects before it, the display was inspired by a desire to impress.

"Me and the wife were still dating, so that's when I started putting up the lights, just to impress her," Fedina said with a chuckle.

"And then after when we had kids, when the kids were small, they enjoyed the lights to I started building displays for them ... and then it just kept on going from that, I just kept on adding, and filling in the dark spots."

There are few dark spots left.
Have you been by Bob's house? Wallis Snowdon takes a tour through one of Edmonton's brightest Christmas displays. 6:00
Lights are draped from the snow-covered lawn to the treetops and spill over into the adjacent alley.

Whether it's flaming flamingos, a mechanical alligator or a blinking horse and carriage, every nook and cranny is beaming with stuff.

The front lawn has a field of glowing polar bears, a valley of angels and an oversized Olaf. To top it all off, Fedina brings in a crane every year to install a giant, waving, mechanical snowman on the roof.

The display has its own website and radio frequency. Visitors can feast their ears on holiday tunes at 88.1 FM.
It takes more than a month for Fedina and his family to put the outlandish holiday display together in time for the holidays. (Wallis Snowdon/CBC)
Fedina's children, now 15 and 17,  are no longer so mesmerized by their father's work-intensive hobby. It takes the entire month of November, and plenty of man hours, to construct the display.

"They hate Christmas, because I force them to do labour and they don't like that," Fedina said. 

"If they just had to look at the lights it would be fine, but they don't like participating in putting up the show."

'Bedazzled with it all'

Fedina was reluctant to say exactly how much it costs to power the lights, but likens it to the price of feeding a family of 10 a full Christmas spread every day for a month.

Every year, during the first week of December, they turn the lights on, and leave them on until Jan 7.
Bob Fedina, a carpenter by trade, transforms his Edmonton home into a Christmas wonderland. 1:07
 

The lights are on timers. Otherwise it would be nearly impossible for Bob or his neighbours to sleep in the glow, and so far, people in the area "aren't complaining."

He turned the lights on for the first time this season on Saturday and watched quietly as the crowds gathered outside.

"It's fun, it's actually really neat to watch the little kids because they get so excited looking at the lights and everything like that. They're just bedazzled with it all.

"That's my reward."
Fedina, a carpenter by trade built most of the displays, including a giant waving mechanical snowman, by hand. (Wallis Snowdon/CBC)
 

About the Author

Wallis Snowdon

Journalist

Wallis Snowdon is a digital journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has nearly a decade of experience reporting behind her. Originally from New Brunswick, her journalism career has taken her from Nova Scotia to Fort McMurray. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca