Monday, December 29, 2014

Alight at Night

I’ve been laying low the last few days, fighting a cold that has created a mountain of tissue and nights of loud snoring. I fall asleep with a tissue in my hand and wake up with it still tightly clutched.

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Last night I roused myself up out of bed to celebrate of my niece Juliette’s birthday. My family met up at Upper Canada Village to experience the Alight at Night festival that is held every year in December and the first few days of January. The work to create this fantastical wonderland is started the day after thanksgiving (Ernie, one of the park wardens where we camp every summer, is part of this work crew).

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We were expecting some lights. I haven’t mentioned it lately, but I LOVE Christmas lights – they may actually be my favourite thing of the season. We were expecting it to be pretty with some lights.

Well… there weren’t some lights… there were 1.2 MILLION lights. They seemed to frost every surface, outline every building, and dangle from every tree. I was beyond happy.

The buildings were wrapped in white lights. The trees were encircled with glittering lights of every colour: white, yellow, red, green blue, multi colour. There were lights on the fences and lights on the street signs. There were lights on the horse wagons and lights on the Ferris wheel. There were even lights on the little train we rode.

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There were lights everywhere! It was beyond what I had imagined. Even though I was chilled to the bone, I was happy to be there.

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After a brief walk around we got in line for a horse wagon ride. Since we arrived as soon as the gates opened we didn’t have to wait long. The horses took us on a loop of the village, letting us get a glimpse of every building and tree that had been iced with light.

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After getting off where we started, we wound our way through lit streets to the Ferris wheel that towered against the sky. Erik (my nephew) thought it should be big enough to touch the moon which was hanging in the sky just over it. Thankfully it wasn’t even close to being that tall... I have no great love of heights (read petrified), but wanted to see the village from the high vantage point, so climbed aboard and clung onto Carm with threats of murder if he rocked the boat. As we got nearer to the top, I couldn’t help but forget my fears as the colourful village lay at my feet. I was clinging too much to get a photo from that height, plus my hands were so cold I figured I might drop my lens cap.

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Steaming mugs of hot chocolate warmed our frozen hands, then more walking. More lights. Train ride (2km!). Into the car with its lovely heated seats for the drive home. The family followed us back to our place for a simple meal of frozen pizza (thankfully thawed, although they may have re-frozen on their way down – we were all that cold). Then birthday cake to celebrate Juliette.

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All in all a fine day :-) With lights – did I mention the lights?

 

Let us not curse the darkness. Let us kindle little lights. ~Dada Vaswani