By Kathryn Stocks

A big shout-out goes to local realtor Jill Fewster Yan for the delightful Holiday Tree Lighting Party that took place at the Port Union Community Centre on December 4. At a time when we all needed an enjoyable evening to give us a boost, Jill and her team provided it. 

 “We were really happy with how the Tree Lighting Party turned out,” Jill said.  “Whenever we host an event for the first time, there is always a nervousness about if anyone will show up and will they have a good time.  As it happened, we got a great turnout and it looked like everyone was enjoying themselves.”

Jill and her team did an amazing job of organizing this event. There were inflatable Santa and reindeer characters on the lawn, and a live Grinch. Local merchants handed out loads of goodies, including pizza, cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, candy canes and glow sticks. There were photographers milling around and taking photos with permission. The photos were printed just inside the centre and placed in sleeves for people to pick up. This was a very special touch.

The pizza came from William at the local Pizza Pizza and the hot chocolate from Phillip at Mr Beans Coffee Company. Kirsten Goritsas from Four Sweets Cookies generously donated her delicious chocolate chip cookies and her festive gingerbread men.

A drone was also present taking photos. The photo booth, drone photography and event photography was done by Parkway Collective, an event management and multimedia service run almost exclusively by Sir Oliver Mowat graduates.

The event was very festive with lots of people of all ages enjoying all the treats. Councillor Jennifer McKelvie had a booth where she and her staff chatted with residents and offered cider.

A terrific band that has no name played Christmas tunes and other popular songs that had everyone singing, dancing and tapping their toes. The highlights for the children were Elsa and Olaf the snowman. The characters from Frozen sang some Christmas songs with the band and posed for photos with the kids.

At 5:30, Jill’s team came to the microphone and announced the countdown to the tree lighting. 5..4..3..2..1 and, like magic, the tree lit up the dark evening to the delight of the crowd.

Karen Owens, the grand organizer of the event, said they were only able to begin planning the event on November 1, which is not a lot of time. She said, “Luckily, we had great support from Rob McMulkin at the Port Union Community Centre who helped us pull everything together in record time!”

“We collected $500 in donations on the night of the event, which will be matched by Jill’s Team, “ Karen said. “As well, Jill’s Team is making donations on behalf of the Christie Family and Rodney Timbol, our logo designer, for a total donation amount of $2,000, which will be divided between the Scarborough Centre For Healthy Communities and Native Child and Family Services, our chosen causes for this year.”

It was a really lovely evening and we’re glad to hear that they’re hoping to make it an annual event.