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Harry James’ Christmas lights legacy lives on in Stratford, P.E.I.

STRATFORD, P.E.I. — A Charlottetown man says it means rather a lot to his household to see his father’s Christmas lights legacy dwell on.

Mike James and his household had been available Dec. 1 to see the City of Stratford activate its show on the Stratford Group Gardens.

The show, positioned on the east aspect of Bunbury Highway, shouldn’t be solely devoted to the reminiscence of Harry James however the entire lights and shows come from the late resident’s private assortment.

“It’s a tricky feeling,’’ Mike James advised SaltWire Community in an interview on Dec. 6, referring to the very fact the lights will now not shine at his father’s home on Wren Drive, “however we’re all fairly pleased with what the City of Stratford did.’’

Harry James, who died in Might on the age of 81, was recognized to many in P.E.I. as an equipment restore particular person, volunteer hockey coach and 50-50 ticket vendor at UPEI hockey video games.

He was additionally recognized for his spectacular Christmas lights show exterior his house on Wren Drive in Stratford.

Will instructions

Mike mentioned his father additionally made it fairly clear as to what the household was to do with the lights following his loss of life.

“In his will, he did request that they not be bought so the household took what they wished so all of us have shows up which can be his. Then, the City of Stratford gave us a name and all of us agreed to donate every part to the city for show.’’

Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden mentioned it’s an honour to show Harry’s love of Christmas locally gardens.

“This was such a beautiful gesture on the a part of the household,’’ Ogden mentioned of the choice to donate the lights.

“Harry was a exceptional man and the apple, as they are saying, doesn’t fall removed from the tree. When the residents of the city have a look at these lights they’ll consider Harry.’’

Harry first began placing his spectacular show of Christmas lights three many years in the past when he lived on the nook of Kensington Highway and Riverside Drive.

Mike mentioned when the province widened Riverside Drive and turned it right into a bypass freeway in 2008, Harry was decided to discover a new place to dwell so he may keep it up the custom.

Harry and his spouse, Donna, moved to Wren Drive and the show grew from there.

“I believe he did it for the social facet of it, for his love of neighborhood. He appreciated to see folks drop in and go to him. It was an enormous a part of his life.’’

Mike James, standing next to a painting of Santa Claus at Metro Home Building Centre in Charlottetown where he works, said his family is grateful to the Town of Stratford for helping keep his father Harry James’ Christmas lights legacy alive in its community gardens.  - Dave Stewart/The Guardian
Mike James, standing subsequent to a portray of Santa Claus at Metro Residence Constructing Centre in Charlottetown the place he works, mentioned his household is grateful to the City of Stratford for serving to preserve his father Harry James’ Christmas lights legacy alive in its neighborhood gardens. – Dave Stewart/The Guardian

Household mission

Mike mentioned it took greater than a month to maneuver the lights and shows out of his father’s storage and shed and get every part arrange.

Whereas Harry did many of the work, about 12 folks within the household at all times spent a few weekends with him serving to out.

“We’d have a giant barbecue. He appreciated to barbecue.’’

And, similar to clockwork very 12 months, Harry would flip the lights on a 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.

In this 2008 file photo, the house belonging to the late Harry James on Wren Drive in Stratford is decorated for Christmas.  - SaltWire Network file
On this 2008 file picture, the home belonging to the late Harry James on Wren Drive in Stratford is embellished for Christmas. – SaltWire Community file

Folks got here from throughout P.E.I. to see.

“Bus excursions of seniors got here to see Harry’s lights,’’ Ogden mentioned.

Mike mentioned his father took lots of satisfaction within the rising recognition of the show.

“Oh, yeah, he was pleased with that,’’ Mike mentioned. “That was one of many the reason why yearly he had one thing completely different, one thing new, one thing larger, figuring out folks can be dropping by. There have been lots of regulars.’’

Do you know?

• One in all 5 kids Harry had together with his spouse, Donna (Garnhum), who died seven years in the past, Mike James mentioned his father’s ardour for serving to folks generally meant Harry wouldn’t take cash from shoppers of Harry James Restore Service. He began the enterprise in 1966 and was nonetheless working it with Tyler Collette, Mike’s daughter’s boyfriend, when he died.

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