Flying to Toronto to learn about Christmas Lights?

The CBC reports that the “City of Charlottetown is looking at replacing its conventional holiday lights with LED lights to save energy.”

Excellent. Great idea. Go for it.

The report also suggests, however, that “city staff will travel to Toronto later this year to learn what that city has done with LED lighting.”


Not only does this not seem “environmentally friendly” (to use the city’s words), but it seems, at least on the surface, the kind of thing that could be solved with a 30 minute telephone call.


Jevon MacDonald's picture
Jevon MacDonald on September 12, 2007 - 13:30 Permalink

I am pretty sure that a quick trip to Canadian Tire would provide one with all sorts of educational opportunities. The back-side of the boxes of LED lights have all sorts of information on them.

Rob Lantz's picture
Rob Lantz on September 12, 2007 - 15:44 Permalink

My understanding is that the city’s Events Officer is scheduled to be in Toronto for a week on other business, but will take the opportunity to investigate Toronto’s switch to LED xmas lights. I would agree with the question though; what is there, really, to investigate?

Ann's picture
Ann on September 12, 2007 - 16:18 Permalink

I am willing to bet that someone with nothing better to do will complain about the new lights. Forearmed is always a good principle. I say, if he is going to be there anyway, he may as well find out what he can.

Danny D'Amours's picture
Danny D'Amours on September 13, 2007 - 03:04 Permalink

Why don’t they just come over to Fredericton if they want some advice on LED lighting. The city changed all of their Christmas lighting a few years back and even decided to keep some of the lighting on throughout the year.

They have also migrated most (if not all) of their traffic lights over to LED signals if they would like advice on that.

Freddy Beach certainly seems a lot closer than Toronto, but the person responsible is in Toronto anyway….

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 13, 2007 - 09:46 Permalink

There is some irony, given this post, that I am flying up to Toronto for 12 hours today, returning at 10:00 p.m. tonight.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on September 13, 2007 - 12:53 Permalink

Maritime Electric (who could probably afford the electricity for the regular lights), and Province House have been using the LED lights for several years, so expertise is close at hand. I put a couple of strings up last Xmas, and calculated that it was actually cheaper to leave them on 24/7 than to run a timer to turn them on and off, so there are economies of scale factors to consider that Toronto may be able to help them with, but I am sure they could find out all they need to know from the lighting manufacturers or municipalities closer at hand. However, if as councillor Rob states, they are already going to be in Hogtown, it won’t hurt to talk to them.
I think the real savings would be in moving street and traffic lights over to LED and/or compact fluorescent technology, not in Xmas lighting.

Joan Sinclair's picture
Joan Sinclair on September 13, 2007 - 16:37 Permalink

The Prince County Hospital Foundation in Summerside hosts an outdoor Christmas lighting event each December called Lights for Life, which is similar in size and scope to what Charlottetown does. PCH experimented with LED lights a couple of winters ago but found they were not reliable enough, and many strands went back for replacement after minimal use. (The lights had a 5-year guarantee). Also, when one light bulb went out the whole strand went out, so for purposes of outdoor Christmas lighting with some lights being high and difficult to reach, it was a big problem. The hospital has since reverted to regular Christmas bulbs, not LED.

oliver's picture
oliver on September 14, 2007 - 05:10 Permalink

I thought the way these things worked was an invitation for bids goes out and suitors line up just for the privilege of showing their wares to City Hall. Or the Mayor’s cousin is in the business and the contract goes straight to him. One or the other. Graft used to be so simple.