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  • BRIGHT NIGHTS `99
  • BRIGHT NIGHTS `00

    BRIGHT NIGHTS

    SUPPORT THE BURN FUND
    BUT DON'T FEED THE GOATS

    by

    LEE A. WOOD

    (pic. of Santa's sleigh & reindeer.)
    Santa's sleigh & reindeer were donated by the Vancouver Downtown Businessmenís' Association.

    Can you recall the last time you entered an area and were greeted by a sign that said, `Goats may eat your stroller. Leave all strollers, etc. in this area'. I backed up. Yes, I had read the sign correctly.

    The goats have read the sign too. As I tried to enter the second gate an African Pygmy Goat tried to get to the stroller parking lot. I put up my foot to block his egress, while I secured the gate, he attempted to eat my shoe lace.

    As I quickly drew back my foot I thought, maybe I should let him have it, it is the season of giving and the reason I was in the `Children's Farm Yard'.

    The Christmas Season and the festive decorations are not just in the Farm Yard. Beneath the bridge to the entrance is an Alpine village, complete with a working gondola, crossing above the roaring waters of a miniature chasm.

    Behind me, on the other side of the `Plaza', the Stanley Park Miniature Train had just taken me on a joyous ride through a colourful world of Christmas lights. Drummers stood guard at the entrance to bridges; toy soldiers formed an honour guard for the train; angels lit the entrances to gaily lit tunnels; Santa greeted his helper behind the throttle of the train; live swans glided silently across a pond beneath a railway trestle.

    The Miniature Train and the Farm Yard have thrilled visitors to Vancouver's Stanley Park for nearly twenty years. What's different the last two seasons is the decorations in the Plaza, and the fact that they are now under the auspices of the `B. C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund'.

    Several years ago Bob Wingfield and Marg Barrett of Surrey, B. C., like many other people in many other towns, began to put up Christmas lights on their front lawn. Over the years their presentation grew and the local Fire Fighters began to pitch in to help erect the displays.

    Visitors would often ask if they could give donations and Bob and Marg would tell them to give to the Fire Fighters.

    There are over 43 towns in B. C. that have fire halls that belong to the B. C. Professional Fire Fighters and most of them contribute to the `Burn Fund'.

    In the last nine years the Christmas display in Bob and Marg's front yard raised over half a million dollars for the burn unit at the Vancouver General Hospital.

    The `Burn Fund', formed in 1976 raises money for `survivor support', the Burn Units at the Vancouver General, Prince George Regional, and the Vancouver Children's Hospitals, as well as a summer camp near Squamish, B. C.

    In 1997 the Burn Fund bought the Christmas displays from Bob and Marg who wished to retire, and moved them to Stanley Park.

    The decorations that used to be set up by the Park's Board in the Plaza have now been added to those along the right-of-way of the Miniature Train that meanders through the forest.

    There is a small charge to ride the train or visit the Farm Yard but the Plaza is open to the public. Donations can be left at the booths located at either entrance or can be given to any of the Fire Fighters. Last year over one hundred thousand dollars was raised for the `Burn Fund'.

    The Burn Fund provides: financial assistance and specialized equipment for burn survivors; training of medical staff and specialized equipment for hospitals; support for the pediatric burn unit at the B. C. Children's Hospital; and a summer camp for young burn survivors.

    The summer camp was started in `94 for burn survivors aged five to eighteen. The camp has grown over the years from eighteen campers in its first year to fifty-five in `99.

    The goal this year, for the B. C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Unit, is to complete the raising of one million dollars which was pledged, about four years ago, to the burn unit at the Vancouver General Hospital.

    The lights throughout; the Miniature Train ride, the Beluga Whale display at the Aquarium, and the Children's Farm Yard, collectively known as `Bright Nights in Stanley Park' was open during the `99 Christmas Season, from 3 PM to 10 PM Nov. 26 to Jan. 3 (Closed Xmas Day and New Years Eve.)

    (pic. of Beluga Whales.)
    Belugas in the pool at the aquarium.

    The `brightness' is a collection of over two miles of extension cords powering more than ten miles of lights.

    As you enter `Winter Wonderland' you are greeted by a large Santa who stands above a train set in Santa's yard at the North Pole. In the background Santa's elves are busy in the workshop. This display, Santa's Workshop, was donated to the Fire Fighters by the Vancouver Downtown Business Improvement Association.

    Gaily lit walkways meander though candy cane lanes of angels, trees, and gingerbread men.

    (pic. of Jeff Deighton.)
    Jeff Deighton, President of the Vancouver Fire Fighter's Union Local 18 and Director of the B. C. Professional Fire Fighter's Burn Fund.

    A Polar Lee sticks his nose out of an Igloo, how he got in there I don't know. Christmas Carols waft through the air. As I was there on opening night the Christmas music came from the Fire Fighters Brass Band on the far side of the plaza. Young reindeer, student volunteers with antlers on their heads, wander about to give directions and assistance.

    New lights and displays have been donated by companies and erected by Fire Fighter volunteers. Over four thousand man hours by more than five hundred Fire Fighters. Two hundred civilians, (who speak over twenty different languages) many of whom were nurses, assisted in the operation of this years displays.

    But the work didn't start there, nor did it stop there. Hundreds of hours of donated time were required to call on companies to ask for the donations, many hours were required to man the displays during the Christmas season, and hundreds of hours were required to take the lights down at the end of the season.

    (pic. of 2 firemen mug for the photographer.)
    Steve Duncan (L) & Mike Rosychuk of Vancouver Fire Dept.

    The Fire Fighters don't ask you to work, they only ask that you come and enjoy. Stroll the lanes of lights, ride the train, visit the Belugas, and the Farm Yard, but leave your strollers, etc. in the stroller parking area.

    END

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    BRIGHT NIGHTS `00

    Story and Photos by

    LEE A. WOOD

    Versions of this article appeared in the Dec. `00 issues of `El Contacto Directo' (Vancouver, B. C.) and `Fire Fighting in Canada' (Delhi, Ont.)

    THE STRIKE IS OVER
    THE LIGHTS ARE ON

    (pic. of firemen.)
    Doug Buckle, Scott Ruddy, Peter Black, Allan McCloud, Ian Heatherington, John Wiesner, Satinder Mann, George Affaf, (All from Burnaby Fire Department) have just finished hanging a new net light on the trees behind them.

    The strike by Vancouver workers lasted throughout the summer and most of the fall but it is finally over and the Fire Fighters are now busy in Stanley Park.

    Volunteers are putting in many hours, determined to have their Xmas display of lights open on Dec. 8.

    (pic. of firemen.)
    Bill Hurzin (front), Pete Van Hove, Mike Bollen, Dean Robson. (From the Coquitlam Fire Department) Dressed for the weather. Not unusual clothing for firemen.

    The Christmas exhibit is not just in the Plaza. The aquarium, the Children's Farmyard and of course the Miniature Train are also part of the attractions which include animated displays and three quarters of a million twinkling lights, set up by the Vancouver Park Board.

    The Miniature Train and the Children's Farm Yard have thrilled visitors to Vancouver's Stanley Park for nearly twenty years. What's unique, this year, and the last two seasons, is that the decorations in the Plaza are now under the auspices of the `B. C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund'.

    Several years ago Bob Wingfield and Marg Barrett of Surrey, B. C., like many other people in many other towns, began to put up Christmas lights on their front lawn. Over the years their presentation, `Winter Wonderland', grew and the local Fire Fighters began to pitch in to help erect the displays.

    Visitors would often ask if they could give donations, Bob and Marg would tell them to give to the Fire Fighters.

    There are over 43 towns in B. C. that have fire halls that belong to the B. C. Professional Fire Fighters and most of them contribute to the `Burn Fund'.

    In nine years the Christmas display, in Bob and Marg's front yard, raised over half a million dollars for the burn unit at the Vancouver General Hospital.

    In 1997 the Burn Fund bought the Christmas displays from Bob and Marg, who wished to retire, and moved the lights to Stanley Park.

    The decorations that used to be set up by the Park Board in the Plaza have now been added to those along the right-of-way of the Miniature Train.

    There is a small charge to ride the Miniature Train or visit the Children's Farm Yard but the Plaza and the Sea Lion pool are open to the public. In the Plaza, donations can be left at the booths located at either entrance or can be given to any of the Fire Fighters. Last year over one hundred thousand dollars was raised for the `Burn Fund'.

    The `Burn Fund', formed in 1976, raises money for `survivor support' and provides: training of medical staff and specialized equipment for hospitals; the Burn Units at the Vancouver General, Prince George Regional, and support for the pediatric burn unit at the B. C. Children's Hospital; as well as a summer camp for young burn survivors near Squamish, B. C.

    The summer camp was started in `94 for burn survivors aged five to eighteen. The camp has grown over the years from eighteen campers in its first year to fifty-five in `00.

    The goal this year, for the B. C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Unit, is to complete the raising of one million dollars which was pledged, about four years ago, to the burn unit at the Vancouver General Hospital.

    The lights throughout; the Miniature Train ride, the Beluga Whale display at the Aquarium, and the Children's Farm Yard, is collectively called `Bright Nights in Stanley Park'.

    The `brightness' is a collection of over two miles of extension cords powering more than ten miles of lights.

    Gaily lit walkways meander though candy cane lanes of angels, trees, and gingerbread men. A Polar Lee sticks his nose out of an Igloo, how he got in there I don't know. Christmas Carols waft through the air.

    (pic. of firemen.)
    Tony Crawford (L), Barry Vignal, Langley City Fire Dept.

    Many lights and displays have been donated by companies and organizations. Other companies such as Kodak, and Global TV have helped with donations and advertising. Over four thousand man hours by more than five hundred Fire Fighters. Two hundred civilians, (who speak over twenty different languages) many of whom are nurses, will assist in the operation of this year's displays.

    (pic. of Santa's house.)
    Inside the porch, Chad Gartrell (L), Darron Allen, Dist of North Vancouver, put the finishing touches on this display donated by the Vancouver Downtown Businessmenís' Association.

    But the work didn't start there, nor will it stop there. Hundreds of hours of donated time were required to call on companies to ask for the donations, many hours will be required to man the displays during the Christmas season, and hundreds of hours will be required to take the lights down at the end of the season.

    (pic. of cherry picker.)
    Putting up the high ones, Dave Gould, (on ground) Dist. of N. Van. In basket, Trevor Bourne (R) Darren Fairbairn, both from Vancouver fire dept.

    Fire Fighters don't ask you to work, they only ask that you stroll the lanes of lights, ride the Miniature Train, visit the Belugas, and the Children's Farm Yard. They invite you to enjoy the fruits of their labour. And if you can spare a little something from the bottom of your pocket, and the top of your heart, help make Xmas a little brighter for a burn survivor.

    END

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