|John and I had forgotten the annual Christmas tree display at Dundarave Beach until we came across it during a walk on Thursday. Called the Festival of Lights, it has raised $250,000 since 2008 for the Lookout Society's North Shore Shelter.|
|Three cheerful trees stand out against a grey sky and a grey ocean.|
|A tree bundled in red with Santa's iconic belt and buckle is the work of real-estate agents.|
|A construction firm adds toy trucks to its tree.|
|The decorated trees, which follow the pathways around Dundarave Beach, seem to be standing up well in spite of the past month's snow and rain.|
At the end of a cold, wet walk along West Vancouver's seawall on Thursday, John and I ran into an unexpected splash of colour and cheer -- a little forest of decorated Christmas trees lining both sides of the pathways at Dundarave Beach. It's part of the annual Dundarave Festival of Lights, which sees businesses, community groups and other organizations sponsor and decorate trees on the beach to raise money for a homeless shelter.
Some of the trees sport only traditional ornaments -- shiny baubles and garlands -- but others add hints of the institutions behind them. There are hearts for a home-care company, toy dump trucks for a construction company, sailboats for a sailing club, tiny photographs of landscaping equipment for a landscaping firm, a firefighter-helmet tree-topper for a firefighter's group, but disappointingly, no vaccum bags on the West Van Vacuum Centre tree. A tree swathed in red fabric, girded at mid-point by a black belt with a big silver tinfoil buckle, two red oven mitts for hands and a soaked Santa hat on top was one of the more unusual displays. Sponsored by realtors, perhaps a Santa-style hint of the prosperous state of that industry this year?
John and I have seen the festival in previous years, but this one looks bigger than ever. Not only was it a bright surprise at the end of a grey walk, it's heartening to think of all these organizations -- from banks and real-estate companies to churches, sports groups, firefighters and Girl Guides -- all coming together for a good cause.