Downtown Ladysmith merchants praise local feel of Old Tyme Christmas

Lots of positive comments for the first Old Tyme Christmas and Candlelight Walk, held Dec. 7 in downtown Ladysmith.

Zahida Khader and Carol Van Acker

Business was humming along above a usual pace last Friday night as holiday revellers descended on downtown Ladysmith for An Old Tyme Christmas and Candlelight Walk.

Carollers strolled along First Avenue by candlelight, singing as they made their way from Symonds Street to Roberts Street. Shops stayed open late, offering cocoa, hot apple cider and crafting opportunities to customers.

The idea originated when the Festival of Lights committee came to a Ladysmith Downtown Business Association (LDBA) general meeting in the spring asking the association to do something special around the 25th anniversary of Light Up. The directors started tossing around ideas and got excited about roasting chestnuts on an open fire, horse and buggy rides down First Avenue and lots of other old-tyme Christmas ideas, explained LDBA vice-president Teresa McKinley.

When LDBA president Lesley Parent got Cathleen McMahon, who runs Mission Management Group, on board, the ideas took off.

“We knew that many businesses are run by owners without any staff, so we decided to start with one night,” said McKinley. “We are hoping it may start a new tradition of staying open late every Friday between Light Up and Christmas.”

The festive frenzy fueled people’s appetites.

Kimmy Phan runs the Wigwam Restaurant with her parents Danny and Ninh. Kimmy said they weren’t open any later than usual, but she thought they were definitely busier than they would otherwise be on an average Friday night.

“We had people lining up for tables,” she said. “It was probably the same as the night of Light Up.”

Jenny Jarvis at Worldly Gourmet was equally enthusiastic regarding Old Tyme Christmas.

“It was excellent,” Jarvis said. “It was very cool, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how much energy went into putting tonight on.”

Jarvis, like most business owners in Ladysmith, said she stays open late solely on Thursday nights. She doubted she would be able to keep up the pace if Old Tyme Christmas were expanded into a week-long event, but she thought this year’s trial was “fabulous.”

“Light Up can be overwhelming,” Jarvis said, “because you don’t get to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you don’t get to say ‘Hello;’ whereas, this was more local. It’s a wall of faces at Light Up; I couldn’t tell you if I had a neighbour come through or not. Tonight was busy, but it was all local people, everybody that you knew.”

Vanessa Shebib and Sarah Clarke of The Vintage Rose loved the idea of expanding Old Tyme Christmas beyond a lone Friday night in December.

“We’ll be totally burnt out, but yes!” Shebib said.

They were equally fond of this year’s inaugural event.

“We thought it was awesome,” Shebib said. “It was very community-oriented. The whole street was full of energy.”

“It should be like this every Friday night,” Clarke added.

Shebib said Old Tyme Christmas was great for business, adding that they had a “steady stream of people all night long.”

Just Posted

Police officer recounts wild car chase through downtown Ladysmith and Duncan

B.C. Supreme Court trial of Armaan Singh Chandi hears of pursuit following Nanaimo drive-by shooting

Ladysmith a stride closer to fitness trail

Work could get underway on initial groundwork this spring

Small external fire extinguished quickly at Catalyst’s Crofton pulp mill

Fire department called Monday afternoon as part of protocol, but services not needed

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Former junior Cowichan Piggy Doug Fraser joins professional ranks

Fraser grew up in Ladysmith and played junior and senior rugby with Cowichan

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months to reduce the strain on health system

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Prolific offender arrested in “dynamic takedown” in Crofton

A 30-year-old Vancouver-area man faces at least six charges after what police… Continue reading

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Most Read