Windsor

Mayor promises more than 'Canadian Tire' decorations for $1.5M Jackson Park festival

It's called Bright Lights Windsor and it will illuminate Jackson Park for one month. The event will feature a giant illuminated tree in the Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Gardens along with thousands of lights and holiday characters throughout the park. The opening lighting ceremony takes place December 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Horse-drawn carriages and special concerts will brighten up Jackson Park this December

Bright Lights Windsor will illuminate Jackson Park for one month. (Melissa Nakhavoly/CBC)

Jackson Park may be full of green grass and bare trees now, but city staff are promising it will be transformed into a glittering month-long festival called Bright Lights Windsor come December.

The free winter event will feature a giant illuminated tree in the Queen Elizabeth II Sunken Gardens, along with thousands of lights and holiday characters throughout the park.

'We're doing this for the community. We want to bring the community out," said Mayor Drew Dilkens. "We want to give them something to celebrate in the winter time when there aren't a lot of festivals going on."

The city has also organized special light shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, along with horse-drawn carriage rides and festive performances on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month.

"We want people to come here from the community and say this is a really special event and we want to come back next year," explained Dilkens.

The festival comes at a cost of $1.5 million, which is down from the original price tag of $3 million, which garnered criticism from residents and council members who felt the money could be better spent addressing community concerns.

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      "People say why don't you just buy lights at Canadian Tire and put them up on the tree. This is not the type of thing we are talking about," said Dilkens. "The trees will be lit but there are a number of elements. Some of the elements cost $400,000 each to be able to buy, you don't see those in every city."

      Bright Lights Windsor will run from December 8 to January 7.

      The opening lighting ceremony is scheduled for December 8 at 6:30 p.m.

      Show and tell: Jackson Park light display 1:13

      Melissa Nakhavoly