Changes Recommended for Christmas Lights

In 1995, Cobourg started to light up Victoria Park at Christmas time.  However, in 2015, the DBIA thought that it did nothing to get people into the Downtown area so they were moved to Rotary Park and the Esplanade.  It was also said that the lights were damaging the trees although they were added to a few trees in Rotary Park.  On the Esplanade, there were no large trees so trees were brought in.  But many citizens thought the lights had been better in Victoria Park so in January 2019, a citizen Ad Hoc committee was formed to recommend what should be done.  Called The Christmas Magic Ad Hoc Committee (CMAHC), the committee is composed of Bruce Moore, Ron Hyatt, Julie McCuaig, Jane Frost, Dale Randall and Rosella Cornaviera with Councillors Adam Bureau and Emily Chorley plus non-voting staff members.

They have had four meetings and reviewed several reports from staff and will be providing their recommendations to Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on September 3.

Rotary Park Lights 2018
Rotary Park Lights 2018

The committee considered and decided:

Victoria Hall: The lighting up ceremony should continue to be outside Victoria Hall

Rotary Park: Including Rotary Park with the skating rink should be continued. The photo above right was taken in 2018 (credit Rick Miller).

The Esplanade: “Unlike Rotary Park, there are no natural trees for lighting on the Esplanade. The site is not as visible as Rotary Park and is not as accessible. Its proximity to the Harbour poses a risk to young children. The Committee was told that the DBIA does not oppose a discontinuation of the lights at this site.”

Victoria Park: Staff have acknowledged that lights could be placed in a manner that minimizes any stress or damage to the trees and grass in the park (e.g. flood lights, projectors, solar lights). Returning lights to Victoria Park during the Christmas season would draw people to the park, which would be a boost to tourism at that time of year. The park is accessible to everyone. The lights could be placed in a way and at a time that does not interfere or disrespect any groups or events (e.g. Remembrance Day).

The DBIA did not oppose the idea of relocating the lights from Esplanade to Victoria Park so long as lights remain in Rotary Park for the lighting-up ceremony.

Victoria Park December 2007
Victoria Park December 2007


  • The recommendation is that lights should remain in Rotary Park but instead of on the Esplanade, they should be installed once again in Victoria Park (photo right is from December 2007).
  • The lights around the outdoor rink should remain lit until late February.
  • Victoria Park lights should mostly be removed in the first week of January (since they are Christmas lights) but some lighting should be maintained after January 7 so that the Park has some lighting through to late February.

Although this is subject to approval to Council, since representative citizens, the DBIA and Staff approve the changes, it is likely to be approved.


Update – Sept 4, 2019

At their C.O.W. meeting, Council agreed to all the above.  An additional recommendation about funding downtown lamp post lights was deferred.

Update – Sept 9, 2019

At their regular Council meeting, Council ratified their decision at the C.O.W. – so the above is official

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Jason Beatty
4 years ago

I’ll enjoy the lights in any location they choose. I appreciate all the effort to goes into this endeavor.

4 years ago

Love where it is in rotary park looks great for all and the skating rink visitors keep up the good work hope all that complain get out and help put up the lights

Deborah Hossack
4 years ago

I have been to both Parks when they were lit for Christmas and have always thought that the lights from Victoria Park should remain and as suggested with consideration to no damage to the trees. The Rotary Park display was equally lovely, however always seemed a bit contrived. Perhaps the main Christmas trees with a few less brought in smaller trees could be lit, along with the trees along the harbour front path.
Ideally the lights should follow a path from City Hall to the skating rink, through the Park to the waterfront, where the main lighting ceremony can occur. From there, if the trees along the harbour front path are lit it provides an option to go west to George Street and back into downtown or East to an enhanced lit pathway through the campground ( or alternatively the trees along the front of the beach front) to walk to Victoria Park, which had always a lit path from the Park back to King Street. As King Street is decorated and lit in the evenings by the shops and the gingerbread displays, this makes for a complete loop and also offers intermittent connection points.
The gingerbread competition is an excellent draw to downtown and could be expanded and enhanced to increase the number of entries. A Gingerbread or Spirit of Christmas themed storefront display challenge between downtown Merchants and Mall Merchants could really bring the whole town alive during the Christmas season!
Sorry for the long post, but Cobourg has a lot to offer during the Christmas/winter solstice season and it is an opportune time for bringing a community together.

4 years ago

Should have never been moved to begin with from Victoria Park.

Wally Keeler
4 years ago

Christmas Magic Lights in 2012:

4 years ago

Maybe take a drive to campbellford this coming season to see the beautiful way they do it! Cobourg always looks like someone just flung a pile of lights at the trees whereas Campbellford creates a winter experience that tells a story with the best of the Christmas spirit in mind. Truly a gorgeous family Christmas theme from the skaters from a bygone era to the river boat, to the old car bursting with Christmas presents!

4 years ago

I’m glad there will be lights in Victoria Park again.