A conversation with his then 10-year-old son last Christmas prompted Niagara-on-the-Lake local Phil Leboudec to action.
“My son asked me if there was a tree for the whole community,” says Leboudec. “I said no, and then — why don’t we do that?”
Leboudec along with several other locals have coordinated the lighting of the “commUNITY tree,” a large evergreen on the property of the Town offices.
There will be a lighting ceremony Dec. 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring a visit from Santa and some joyful noise: carols with friends and neighbours.
“Everybody’s welcome, from all five boroughs of the community,” says Leboudec, listing off Virgil, St. Davids, Queenston, Old Town and Glendale, and emphasizing the inclusivity of the event.
Hot chocolate, hot cider and coffee will be donated by Sweets & Swirls Cafe, and served by members of Gateway Community Church. Phil’s Valu-mart (Leboudec’s grocery store) will provide cookies. “Everything is free,” says Leboudec, “we’re not charging for anything or asking for any donations for the food or drinks.”
Donations of warm clothing and/or non-perishable food will be accepted however, for local charity Newark Neighbours.
And Austin, Leboudec’s son, will have the honour of plugging in the coloured lights himself.