The Cape Breton Regional Municipality rushed to turn off the Christmas lights on a large evergreen on Ashby Corner in Sydney, after it was lit up early only metres away from one of the area's war memorials.

"I had a pretty good feeling we were going to get some bad press if the lights were on at the war memorial in advance of Remembrance Day," said Ken Heaton, operations supervisor with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality's Parks and Grounds division.

Heaton said no one knows who turned the lights on at the intersection of Prince Street, Welton Street, Victoria Road and Whitney Avenue. He said the municipality's staff did not active them.

"We normally wouldn't have them lit up until the time of the Christmas parade," said Heaton.

"They were on all by themselves. So we're assuming somebody came by and plugged them in."

Ray Paruch, the municipal councillor for the area, said he received complaints about the tree being lit up and wants to make it clear the Cape Breton Regional Municipality had nothing to do with it.

"Somebody went over and jimmied the lights and lit up that tree. It was not a CBRM sponsored event," said Paruch.

The municipality said because it leaves the lights on the tree year round, someone was able to turn them on by getting into a nearby electrical panel that may have been left unlocked by accident.

Heaton said rather than vandals, it may have been someone a little eager for the holiday season. He said staff and the police will be closely watching the area.

The Christmas lights will be turned on again later this month, when the Santa Claus parade happens Nov. 24.