If the storefronts in downtown Port Coquitlam are lifting your mood before Christmas, it’s likely because of PoCo Heritage.
For the seventh year, the non-profit history and archives group is running one of its biggest fundraisers: the Christmas Tree Festival.
A total of 52 businesses and community groups have adorned trees for the month-long celebration, with trees placed in shops and high-traffic locations in and around the core such as city hall, Port Coquitlam community centre, Terry Fox Library, Hyde Creek recreation complex, the Shaughnessy Street pop-up park and PoCo Heritage. Other locations are on Westwood Street, Dominion Triangle and Prairie/Coast Meridian.
The 11th Chimo Brownies are responsible for the three trees in the parklet, next to the Giggle Dam, while over at PoCo Heritage on McAllister Avenue, there are offerings from PoCo Genealogy, the Business Improvement Association, the 3rd Chimo Guides, Kwikwetlem First Nation, Forrest Marine and Kelly Girl Vintage.
But while these sites bring a festive cheer, there’s a tree at PoCo Heritage that gives pause — especially for those who have recently lost a loved one.
Katrina McCurrach, the daughter of PoCo Coun. Nancy McCurrach, suggested PoCo Heritage place a memorial tree at the museum to honour past relatives and friends with handmade ornaments.
Already, the tree — which is sponsored by Coun. McCurrach and Astoria and Mayfair retirement residences in PoCo — is full of paper balls with images and messages; there are even a few words for deceased pets.
“It can be a very difficult time of the year for some people,” Coun. McCurrach told The Tri-City News today (Tuesday). “It’s not necessarily a happy tree but it’s an important one for our community. It shows that you’re not alone. There are others who are also in the same situation.”
Also new to the Christmas Tree Festival this year is the selfie contest. Participants can snap a portrait with their favourite tree around town and post the image on social media, using the hashtag #pocotreefest, for a chance to win a prize.
Meanwhile, awards are also up for grabs in the scavenger hunt.
The deadline for that challenge — as well as the people’s choice award — is Dec. 31. The judges, councillors Steve Darling and Glenn Pollock, will announce the winners at PoCo Heritage on Jan. 11.
Sponsored in part by The Tri-City News, the Christmas Tree Festival supports operations for the PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives.
Visit pocoheritage.org/christmas-festival/ for details and a scavenger hunt form.