British Columbia

Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival cancelled for 2015

A festival which saw a local street dressed up with a dazzling display of Christmas lights annually has been cancelled this year — a victim of its own success, say organizers.

Increased traffic and too few donations leads organizer to call it quits after 15 years

Cate Jones helped to organize the Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival for 10 years but says it's time to pass the torch. (CBC)

A popular East Vancouver neighbourhood holiday festival which saw a local street dressed up with a dazzling display of Christmas lights annually has been cancelled this year — a victim of its own success, say organizers. 

The Trinity Street Christmas Light Festival started 15 years ago as a way to lift residents' spirits after two elderly women were killed in their homes in the neighbourhood.

Each year, thousands came to visit the brightly-decorated homes, which were accompanied by vendors, carollers and other activities led by residents.

And although many of the brightly-lit houses remain this year, the festivities that went along with them have ceased. 

"There's a wonderful volume of pedestrians ... but the vehicle traffic became unsustainable. Our street isn't wide enough to handle two-way traffic," said festival organizer Cate Jones. 

"It would be nice to reduce the car volume and have the people who are physically able to, walk to our street."

Houses like these line Trinity Street in East Vancouver, but the festivities that used to come along with them have stopped. (CBC)

Jones said hit and runs due to the amount of traffic were becoming increasingly frequent — her own car was hit one year, with no one owning up to the damage that was caused. 

And while the festivities of previous years, which included a contest for best decorated house, were used to fundraise for local charities, that had changed also.

"The amount of money that we had raised over the years had reduced significantly," said Jones. 

"It was very labour intensive and we just didn't have the core group of people to put that time in to make the fundraising part of it successful."

At its peak, the festival raised up to $8,000, Jones said. But that dwindled down to about $2,000 in later years. 

However, the festival's fate may still have hope in the long run, if someone's willing to do the work. 

"I've made the decision that I needed to step back because I don't have the energy to put into it," said Jones. "But if others do, that's great."

With files from Kamil Karamali

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