NORTH RUSTICO - If you ask anyone in North Rustico, it is almost certain they will say that Brian Gallant is looking down from heaven and feeling the love radiating from the Christmas lights bathing the town in their magical glow.
Brian, who was killed in a motor-vehicle accident in 1988, was the son of James Gallant, who some say began the tradition of the spectacular Christmas light shows.
In an earlier interview with The Guardian, the elder Gallant said he began his Christmas display the year after his son’s death, both as a tribute to Ryan and as a way for him to keep busy during a painful time in his life.
What began as a father trying to ease his grief has become a whole town bringing joy to thousands of visitors who travel to the town from far and wide to witness the spectacle.
One recent evening, the roads were jammed with traffic as sightseers patrolled each and every street and small lane looking for the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Big tour buses filled with visitors are sometimes seen trying to negotiate the narrow streets and that makes for some touch and go driving.
Most visitors begin their tour at Gallant’s home on Allen Street which is tucked away near the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church and spread out from there.
Some homeowners plan for each Christmas season over many months and start the work of erecting the lights and displays in November or even October.
One resident said it takes him more than a month to get everything in place.
And that is not counting the time to inspect, repair or replace displays that have been damaged the previous season.
There must be something in the local water that inspires this kind of creativity.
On Canada Day most of the lobster boats are festooned with Canadian flags or anything else that is red and white and they all sail out of the harbour to the sound of hundreds of car horns blaring.