News / Edmonton

Giant Christmas tree cancelled due to construction

Edmonton's annual Holiday Light Up event in Churchill Square goes on hiatus

Holiday Light Up in Edmonton's Churchill Square is on hiatus due to construction.

Mack Male / Flickr

Holiday Light Up in Edmonton's Churchill Square is on hiatus due to construction.

Edmonton’s city hall will not bask in the festive shadow of a 70-foot Christmas tree this year.

The 20-year-old Holiday Light Up tradition, which features the giant decorated tree in Churchill Square as well as fireworks, a stage show and the arrival of Santa Claus, has been put on a two-year hiatus due to construction.

“We were advised by the City of Edmonton, because of construction, we are limited to what we can do in that square,” said Ian O’Donnell, president of the Downtown Business Association, which puts on the event every year.

The space where the tree would normally go is currently an emergency access route, with parts of 99 Street and 102 Avenue being closed for LRT construction and Churchill Square renovations.

O’Donnell said the business association was unable to find another spot that could accommodate the tree and its 60-tonne stand this year, along with the large crowds the event draws.

“Nothing is suitable for that size of crowd and that size of tree that would be centrally located in the downtown,” he said.

The association is working on several smaller events to make up for it – including a holiday window display contest for downtown businesses, a partnership with City Market to bring Santa to city hall every Saturday in December, a new partnership with Santa’s Parade of Lights, and festive decorations around the city hall skating rink.

“We are going to be doing some other events and some other ways to activate and brighten up downtown for Christmas, so that families and Edmontonians can come and enjoy the downtown in different ways,” O’Donnell said.

“We’ll come back in three years and do the light-up again, bigger and brighter.”

Churchill Square is closed to all events until 2019.

The city is also changing the location of its annual New Year's Eve festivities and plans to announce a new location soon, according to a city spokesperson.

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