Man who put up famous Burlington, Ont., Christmas light display dies after fall from roof

The Burlington, Ont., man who for more than 30 years put together a brilliant Christmas display that covered his home has died after falling from his roof while trying to fix a leak that was affecting the display.

Doug Musson had been decorating his home with holiday lights for more than 30 years

Doug Musson died when he fell from a ladder while tending to his famous light display in Burlington, Ont. (Musson's Famous Christmas Display)

The Burlington, Ont., man who for more than 30 years put together a brilliant Christmas display that covered his home died Monday after falling from his roof while trying to fix a leak that was affecting the display.

"He was up on a ladder trying to find out why water was dripping on the pathway which might drip on visitors to the display when the ladder fell," said a statement posted Tuesday to the Musson's Famous Christmas Display website.

The statement said Doug Musson, 82, died in hospital.

Musson started decorating his home with lights in Calgary, before moving to Burlington in 1976. He had been adding more lights and figures to his display each year.

His son, Scott Musson, said his father was a family man and family meant everything to him. Another son, Cam, died in a motorcycle accident and the elaborate display included a motorbike in his honour.

Scott said his dad was "caring, and loving, and very compassionate to everyone."

Musson created a Harley-Davidson light figure in honour of his son, Cam, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1998. (Musson's Famous Christmas Display)

He said the lights were very important to people in the community because it brought them a priceless kind of happiness. It was that happiness that got his dad to put up the lights each year, and that importance was reflected in the outpouring of condolences from the community.

"People are looking for something to bring a smile to their face. Something that doesn't cost money. We put a Santa Claus that dances out every evening. The kids came to dance with it. That was Dad's favourite part " Scott said.

Lights stay on

Scott says this Christmas, there will be a void, but his family will try to push ahead.

"We want to make it a good Christmas, but it's going to be a sad one. There will never be a Christmas the same ever."

Scott said he decided to keep the lights on because it was what his dad would have wanted.

"He made this stuff. I need to show off what he did."

Scott Musson, Doug Musson's son, says his father was a family man and loved to see the kids happy. That's what motivated him to put the lights up each year. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

'The Burlington Griswold house'

Two GoFund Me pages had been set up for the family in Hamilton and Burlington. As of Wednesday morning, one had closed and the other continues to accept donations. In total, both pages have raised $10,700 in less than a day, already past its goal of $5,000.

"Often referred to as the Burlington Griswold house," Nikki Accord of Hamilton wrote on the GoFund Me page, a reference to the family, and their excessive light display, in the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

"Every year it just keeps getting better and better and every year every Burlingtonian keeps the tradition and has to go see the Musson Christmas light display."

Scott says he'll continue his dad's legacy to keep the lights going for years to come.

Many community members and city councillors in Burlington expressed their condolences through social media. 

Musson is survived by his wife Joanne and children Scott, Gary and Debra. 

Scott Musson stands in front of his father's Christmas display. He says this Christmas, there will be a void without his dad. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

The 'Clark Griswold of Burlington' dies after fall from ladder

5 years ago
Duration 0:46
Doug Musson falls while fixing his locally famous Christmas lights display on his home

With files from Alison Chiasson


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