Victoria’s Centennial Square will be decorated with elaborate lights this holiday season. (Black Press Media File)

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says online rumours of banning holiday lights are false

‘Largest ever’ lights display planned for Centennial Square in Victoria this winter

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is pushing back against an onslaught of hate mail she’s received in regards to holiday lights in downtown Victoria this year with a promise of a fantastic light display this winter.

Online rumours said that Helps was advocating for a total ban on Christmas or holiday lights this winter, resulting in a flurry of hate mail and social media attacks on the mayor.

“This post is a total and absolute lie,” Helps tweeted on Monday. “It’s generating hateful emails from across the country to which I feel a need to respond.”

ALSO READ: Downtown Victoria Business Association believes in the value of Christmas lights

Helps told Black Press that she’s received hundreds of hateful messages that she feels have no foundation.

“What’s most concerning has nothing to do with Christmas, and everything to do with social media,” she said. “What frustrates me is people targeting the reputation of the city when our business owners are doing the best to create the best light display ever.”

In contrast to the online comments, Helps said the city is actually supporting efforts by the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) to produce the largest lights display the city has ever seen in Centennial Square this year.

“We’re a tech city, so there’s going to be some technical elements, and we’re also the capital city with a thriving downtown core, so those aspects will be incorporated.”

DVBA president Jeff Bray confirmed that an elaborate light display is being planned, but that more information couldn’t be released.

“We are definitely doing a larger light activation in Centennial Square, but still working out some major details,” Bray said. Funding for the display will be from the DVBA and not from the city budget.

In December, City Coun. Ben Isitt put forward an idea to scrap Christmas decorations altogether in an effort to separate church and state.

“Tax dollars should not go to religious symbols,” Isitt said in a December committee of the whole meeting. “Decorations costs should not be expended on any particular part of Christmas practice.”

READ MORE: City of Victoria considers scrapping funds for Christmas decorations

The comments received harsh push back from people across the country and the matter never carried forward.

When asked if plans for a more elaborate light display was to counter Isitt’s idea, Helps was adamant that they were not.

“One councillor had an idea and he said it out loud,” she said. “What this is is leadership from the DVBA.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

ChristmasCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

Dozens brave cold for third annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Organizers have raised more than $40,000 as of Feb. 16

HarbourCats team up with Bastion Books to bring back Harvey’s Reading Club

HarbourCats and Bastions Books offer students free game tickets in an effort to promote child literacy

Central Saanich newspaper carrier gets letter of thanks, chocolates from her community for note

Ava Verscheure started her first very job by introducing herself to residents along newspaper route

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

Most Read