I hate to forever be dumping on the good folks at the Capital Commission, but as they have come up with yet another inane idea to pollute my capital city home, I feel compelled to speak out.
If you take a quick drive or walk down Great George Street this festive holiday season, you will see a new collection of 35 lit Christmas trees. In front of each tree is an incredibly ugly large white placard that says something along the lines of “This Tree Sponsored By…” and then the name of a local business.
In today’s Guardian we learn the following from Kim Green of the Capital Commission:
“We have three main goals: to attract off-Island visitation, to keep people shopping downtown and to keep people from going to Moncton and Halifax to shop. We’ve got it all here so let’s stay home and spend the money on P.E.I.”
Can somebody explain to me why intelligent people from away would travel great distances to shop in downtown Charlottetown this season so as to be able to view generic Christmas trees with giant ugly placards in front of them?
Or, indeed, why I, as a downtown resident, would in fact not want to immediately escape to the quite confines of, say, Ellis Brothers Shopping Centre (not downtown) or, say, Summerside, Souris, Montague or North Rustico — or even Moncton! — none of which, as far as I know, have festooned their Christmas Trees with commercial calling cards.
The Guardian article goes on to say:
The freshly-cut eight-foot trees which make up Christmas Tree Lane were purchased by companies, families and service groups as a fund-raiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation. They will act as the focal point of this year’s Christmas light display.
Supporting the Children’s Wish Foundation is, of course, a laudable goal. Whatever happened to the days, however, when local businesses were quietly satisfied to do charitable good without some mandatory uglification project trumpeting their good works? I’ve got nothing against Christmas Trees — it’s the fact that they’ve been turned into billboards that bothers me.
And one more thing: the Guardian story’s lead says that Great George Street has been, by virtue of the prostituted trees, turned into a “winter paradise.” The Guardian here is either guilt of printing Capital Commission propoganda verbatim, or of abusing the language; a paradise is “a place of bliss; a region of supreme felicity or delight.” Christmas trees might be nice, but let’s agree to keep the work paradise for things that are really, really neat, okay?