Bringing Communities Together with Light

December 17, 2021

The holiday season is here, and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent is helping communities come together with Christmas lights.

In response to lockdown measures last year, a few towns in Chatham-Kent were encouraging residents to decorate their homes so that the entire community was shining bright during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Merry Christmas!
Holiday light display.

Grassroots Origins

Amy Wilcox, Manager of Corporate Initiatives at the municipality says that it was the work of volunteers in these communities that helped kick start Light Up CK.

“Last year there were three groups—one in Blenheim, one in Wallaceburg, and one in Dresden—and they were all doing their own community maps of light displays. We thought it would be nice to provide some assistance virtually with our Let’s Talk Chatham-Kent tool, which can create interactive maps,” explains Amy.

With more communities around Chatham-Kent participating this year, Amy says the goal is to continue to bring some holiday cheer by showcasing light displays across the municipality.

A Fun Competition

“The communities that were already doing this last year will continue to have their own contests for best light display, but we’re doing a regional one as well where we ask people to add their location on the map and those that participate will be placed into a draw sponsored by Canadian Tire stores in CK. We’ll be drawing one winner each day from December first to the twelfth,  and then we’ll also have a voting option that residents can participate in,” she explains.

As residents prepare to decorate their homes in lights, the municipality is working on another fun winter project.

Winter Name Games

“We’re trying to find some ways to add more cheer to the community this year, so we’ve started an initiative to give creative names to some of the snowplows in our fleet,” says Amy.

Municipal staff put out a call on social media for residents to submit name ideas for up to 25 snowplows, and they’ve received nearly one thousand submissions.

“A committee is going to try to weed the names down and then those names will go to the community for a vote for the ones they like the best. We’re blown away by the level of creativity we’ve seen in the names that have been submitted. One of my favourites is SnowBe Cobe because it’s a play on Tobe Cobe, who was the mascot for the 2018 International Plowing Match,” she says.

Tobe Cobe (pronounced “toe-BEE co-BEE”) is a character Chatham-Kent residents will recognize, named after four major crops grown in the area: tomatoes, beets, corn, and beans.

The idea originated in Scotland, and now Calgary and Guelph have launched similar projects to give snowplows fun names like Plowy McPlow Face and Blizzard of Oz.

Chatham-Kent residents who are decorating the outside of their homes and businesses are encouraged to submit their address to the Light Up CK map if they want to share some holiday cheer with others in the community.

“We’re doing a regional one as well where we ask people to add their location on the map and those that participate will be placed into a draw sponsored by Canadian Tire stores in CK. We’ll be drawing one winner each day from December first to the twelfth, and then we’ll also have a voting option that residents can participate in.”

A map displaying all light displays will be posted on the Let’s Talk Chatham-Kent website. You can visit it by clicking here.