Nfld. & Labrador

Be merry and bright with 20th annual Port de Grave boat lights

With 58 boats and tens of thousands of visitors, the Newfoundland town is ready for Christmas.

Up to 40,000 people expected to visit the harbour through to Old Christmas Day

There are 58 boats in Port de Grave this year. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

It's become a Christmas tradition in Port de Grave: lighting up the boats in the harbour, and wading through the thousands of people who come to see them.

"We figure between 30 to 40,000," Joyce Morgan, co-chair of the Port de Grave Annual Boat Lighting, says of the number of visitors each Christmas season.

This year's lighting happened on Dec. 7, with crowds of people showing up to watch the harbour light up.

Morgan said while the lights are up through to Old Christmas Day — Jan. 6 — the crowds are steady.

It's even more spectacular in person. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

"People traffic is … it's just amazing how many people come down here during the Christmas season," she said.

"They come and they park and sometimes you can't get through the people and the traffic. They just walk around with their families and it's just so nice."

And it's not just people driving in from out of town to take part.

There are 58 boats in the harbour, Morgan said, including ones from Labrador, western Newfoundland and Portugal Cove.

Started in 1997, the Port de Grave boat lighting was originally an idea sparked with a government grant of $500 for people to light up their communities.

The harbour and homes in Port de Grave lit up for Christmas. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

There was a man in the town who always had Christmas lights on his boat, Morgan said, and other people decided to do the same.

"We came up with the brainwave, let's light up the full harbour," she said.

"So from that it just spiralled."

Joyce Morgan is the co-chair of the Port de Grave Annual Boat Lighting. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Check out this Land & Sea episode, A Gift of Light, from 2015 featuring the Port de Grave Christmas lights. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jane Adey