Brief: Illuminate Revelstoke Society rolls out plan for year-round lights

The group - an offshoot of the Christmas events committee - will start their project with trees in Grizzly Plaza but expand throughout the community.

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File photo: The Revelstoke United Church and Mackenzie Avenue at night, with Christmas Trees, 1940. Photo: Revelstoke Museum & Archives

Downtown Revelstoke is about to be a lot brighter as a new community group, the Illuminate Revelstoke Society, gears up to deck out Grizzly Plaza in festive twinkles.

The group is aiming not only to enhance holiday decor around town, but to set up a system of lights that will make the community more welcoming and safe year-round. 

The Illuminate Revelstoke Society is operating as an offshoot of another committee responsible for holiday events around town, like the town Christmas tree and pictures with Santa. This separate group was established based on the feeling that there were benefits to creating another project that could be responsible for the year-round lighting of trees.

Society spokesperson Mark McKee says that while they’re starting with Grizzly Plaza, they plan to expand throughout the town’s core through cooperation with both the community and city hall. While the group will be doing some fundraising, there are city funds and staff time allocated for the project as well.

McKee says they’ve taken influence from a number of other communities where year-round lights on trees are used to create a welcoming atmosphere and even for wayfinding within the town.

“You travel anywhere in the world, the downtown core, and especially places like Grizzly Plaza, are lit up and they’re attractive and people are drawn to them,” McKee explains. “Firstly, we want to create a good experience for the locals and if it’s a good experience for the locals, it’ll be a good experience for our visitors. 

McKee says they plan to take the project in baby steps, encouraging feedback from the community about what they would like to see as more installations are set up.

“We’re really just getting started. This is our first installation and I think it’s going to be a sounding board of how the community reacts and how they feel,” McKee says. “So far, the reaction’s been spectacular.”

The project’s first phase will be rolled out on Nov. 26, when trees in Grizzly Plaza will be lit up with warm white, low-voltage LED lights that will remain in place even after the holiday season.

The group is encouraging feedback from the community about what they think of the plan so far and how they’d like to see future phases rolled out. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.

“We’re looking forward to hearing what people have to say and that’s what’s going to guide us for the future so don’t be shy! Let everybody know what you think,” McKee says. 

“It’s important not only for us to hear what the reaction is, but it’s important for the City of Revelstoke to hear that as well.”