Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday: Trail of Lights

LED lights provided a greeting at the entrance to the Trail of Lights in Toronto on 11-December-2008

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Downsview Park (er, Parc Downsview Park) in north-central Toronto is rather a strange entity. Used for years as an air force base, CFB Downsview was designated for closure in 1994, and it was decided to make it an urban park. Now touted as "Canada's National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area," it is run by Parc Downsview Park, Inc. as a self-supported entity with no taxpayer contribution.

To create this self-sustaining entity, the "park" houses a handful of businesses in the remaining buildings, including several public sports facilities. Throughout the year, the park hosts a number of events, including sports tournaments, outdoor concerts, and fireworks on Canada Day. Today, I visited the park to see its December showpiece, the Trail of Lights.

An arched bough framed the Trail of Lights at Downsview Park in Toronto, Ontario on 11-December-2008

The Trail of Lights isn't an especially original idea. Many cities have lighted displays available for viewing with flashing and moving features. What sets the Trail of Lights apart is sheer size and volume. The event features 400,000 LED lights, and to view all of the displays, one must walk along a two kilometer path. This is a fast stop; it's a place to spend a good portion of an evening.

A pitcher consistently struck out a batter at the Trail of Lights in Toronto, Ontario on 11-December-2008

Some of the displays are typical holiday fare, like a gingerbread house, prancing reindeer, putting up holiday decorations, and Santa's sleigh, but others are less predictable. There's a volcano, dinosaurs, various birds flying, a squirrel running over the path, and musicians. An especially nice series featured action scenes from popular sports including baseball, football, soccer, and, of course, hockey. Any one of the displays might not seem that spectacular, but taken as a whole, it's an impressive thing.

Reindeer pranced over the Trail of Lights in Toronto's Downsview Park on 11-December-2008

While event advertising heavily touted the walk-through 44-foot lighted tree, I didn't find anything remarkable about it, but the lights themselves are ample reason to make the trek to Downsview Park.

Full photo coverage of the Trail of Lights, including about 40 pictures, will be posted as part of my update intended for 22-December-2008.

Downsview Park's Trail of Lights remains open nightly, 5 pm until midnight, through New Year's Eve, with a discounted entry fee on non-holiday Sundays through Thursdays; see the official web site for more information.

No comments: