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NAVY LIGHTING CONTEST CFB ESQUIMALT – DECEMBER 15 TO 24 • www.cfbesquimalt.ca

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT TO: VICTORIA NEWS • OAK BAY NEWS • SAANICH NEWS • GOLDSTREAM NEWS GAZETTE • PENINSULA NEWS REVIEW Don Denton photo

24th annual Navy Lighting Contest shines bright this Christmas season This perennial favourite of the local holiday scene raises muchneeded funds and food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank

• Last year, 18 building and Pacific s warships de Fleet cora and compete ted d in the annual Navy Lightin g Contest.

Who will take home the grand prize during this year’s Navy Lighting Contest at CFB Esquimalt? Santa may have an inkling, but he’s not telling! In fact, you can help make the decision yourself by casting your vote for best-decorated ship and building after enjoying a leisurely tour around the base, cosy and warm in a bus, hosted by a knowledgeable volunteer. Last year the popular vote gave HMCS Ottawa the edge over HMCS Protecteur by a mere 52 votes, the closest finish in recent memory! In another upset, the CFB Esquimalt Fire Station took the top prize for decorated building, edging out the Admiral’s Residence, which has won for favourite building every year. Who will take the prize this year? In truth, the real winner is always the Mustard Seed Food Bank and the individuals and families it helps over the holidays and throughout

the year. In all, 18 buildings and Pacific Fleet warships decorated and competed in last year’s contest, which welcomed nearly 5,200 visitors who contributed a remarkable $18,000 in cash and food donations for the Mustard Seed. “We are excited to host the 24th annual Navy Lighting Contest in support of the Mus-

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tard Seed Food Bank,” said Rear-Admiral Nigel Greenwood, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific. “In the spirit of the season of giving, I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a holiday tradition that has raised more than $270,000 in cash and Continued on pg. 2

Tell us about it and win! Tell us which community newspaper keeps you in touch with the holiday events in your neighbourhood and win a special family pass to this year’s Navy Lighting kick-off event. The pass will allow the winning family to attend the opening reception on board one of the ships Dec. 15. The children will help the Admiral count down to the light-up, and the family will be the first to tour the lights before heading home with a gift bag of Navy souvenirs. The family pass accommodates a maximum of four people, including at least one adult. The kick-off is from 4:45 p.m. to about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 at CFB Esquimalt. Light refreshments will be served. The winner should be physically able to board a regular, school-type bus and possibly ship ladders. Children must be at least five years old. Send your answers to jblyth@ telus.net by this Sunday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m.

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NAVY LIGHTING CONTEST: DEC. 15 TO 24

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Continued from pg. 1 food over the past 10 years. This year we will have a very impressive display set up for the public to enjoy.” The 24th annual Navy Lighting Contest continues from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, Dec.15 to 24, with admission by donation of cash or non-perishable food items to the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Buses depart from the Naden entrance to CFB Esquimalt, at the intersection of Admirals and Woodway streets. Free parking is available to the right and left, immediately inside the gates. Once again, volunteers from the Defence Team will be selling hot chocolate and acting as tour guides aboard the buses. For more information, visit www. cfbesquimalt.ca or call 250-363-7060.

Did you know?

Since its inception 24 years ago in 1988, more than 170,000 people have toured HMC Dockyard during the Navy Lighting Contest. In the last 10 years, more than 76,000 visitors have donated more than $271,000 worth of food and cash for the Mustard Seed.

as the • 1990 w Navy r first yea ontest C g Lightin d rs starte organize ing for collect Seed Mustard ank Food B

Corp. Alexander Croskery photo

Hood Building 74 Communications Group Admiral’s Residence Fleet Mail Office Fleet Maintenance Facility Engineering Health Canada Fire Station (last year’s winner) Fleet Maintenance Facility Plating Shop Base Logistics Dockyard Main Gate Lookout Newspaper .

Woodway Road

Admirals Road

Buses depart from the Naden entrance to CFB Esquimalt, at the intersection of Admirals and Woodway streets.

Who’s decorating this year?

Esquimalt Road Don Denton photo

Google Maps - ©2011 Google

n Dec etwee 2010, B • Ships 24, 14 and 200 visitor HMCS Whitehorse 5, t ov HMCS Protecteur nearly ed jus a t u b i r t HMCS Algonquin sh con 0 in ca s to 0 0 HMCS Winnipeg , 8 1 n $ onatio HMCS Regina food d stard Seed Mu

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Friday, December 9, 2011 • 3

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NAVY LIGHTING CONTEST: DEC. 15 TO 24

www.cfbesquimalt.ca

n photo Sharon Tiffi

• In the in year closest conte s, st Protect Ottawa edged eur by a 52 vote mere s Fire Sta in 2010. The ti runawa on was the buildin y favourite g, perenn topping the Admira ially strong l’s Resi dence.

rs ver and o the d. Corp. Ale xander

Crosker y

Don Denton photo

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“Hairy”& Christmas Happy “New Ears”

CFB Esquimalt: Lighting It Up for the Mustard Seed!

Maurine Karagianis

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Lights have always been a cherished part of our holiday traditions, as has the spirit of helping others in need. The 24th annual Navy Lighting Contest is a great way for many of Victoria’s military members to combine both. The friendly competition between the ships and buildings, the volunteers who make it happen and the opportunity to welcome the community to CFB Esquimalt at the holidays are all part of the fun, but the real focus is on the food and money raised for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. The Mustard Seed serves about 7,000 people each month, notes executive director Brent Palmer. Of those, a full quarter are children. The Navy Lighting “is significantly important to us,” notes Palmer, who has been with the food bank for 26 years. “It’s not only a wonderful event for families and singles and seniors, but it creates awareness that we do have poverty in the community.” In all last year, the lighting contest welcomed nearly 5,200 visitors who contributed a remarkable $18,000 in cash and food donations for the Mustard Seed. Palmer enjoys attending the base nightly to collect the donations. “I get to be there and speak to the public – I can answer their questions and I get to hear their stories.”

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NAVY LIGHTING CONTEST: DEC. 15 TO 24 Inside the bus tour with a VIP Elf

www.cfbesquimalt.ca

By Jennifer Blyth What signals the holiday season to you? For Master Warrant Officer Ron Weeks, it’s likely the arrival of the annual Navy Lighting Contest at CFB Esquimalt. Weeks is the lead decorator for his building, 74 Communications Group, and has volunteered for last five years as a guide on the buses that take visitors to view the lights. Four volunteer guides host visitors each evening during the light-up, explaining during the bus tours what visitors are seeing and answering any questions. With his passion for the holidays, quick wit and belief in the importance of raising money for the Mustard Seed, you’ll actually find Weeks there on most nights during the light-up, filling in where needed even when it’s not his shift.

“VIP Elf – that’s a fitting title for me,” Weeks jokes about the nickname he’s received over the years for his enthusiasm for the event. Last year, he missed just one of the 14 nights. As the only Army building at Dockyard, there’s a certainly friendly rivalry that’s developed over the years, especially with its location across from the Admiral’s Residence, a perennial favourite with tour participants. In the first year his building participated, they placed ninth, then last year edged up to sixth. Needless to say, plans for this year are a closely guarded secret! “The real show-stopper piece as far as I’m concerned is the Admiral’s residence,” Weeks says, but notes that for the first time, the firehall took the win last year. “When you decorate two fire trucks and the building – that’s cheat-

• Wit construc h major the Dock tion going on in ya security rd and increased du events o e to the tragic that was f Sept. 11, 2001, the were use first year buses d for view the visitors to lights.

ing! They just smoked everyone last year,” he jokes. And then there’s the “unfair advantage” given the Admiral’s Residence with the live deer who frequently visit for a nibble of grass. “When the Admiral has real deer on his lawn, how do you compete with that?” Friendly competition aside, it’s the spirit of the season that really

• Three buses with volunteer tour guides will execute a ‘loop route’ throughout the Naden and Dockyard sections of the base each night. A typical tour lasts approximately 25 minutes. • Visitors are to go to CFB Esquimalt’s Naden Main Gate at the intersection of Admirals and Woodway where they’ll be directed to free parking.

der Corp. Alexan

otos Croskery ph

shines through. “It’s all about the donations for the Mustard Seed, showing off the ships, the buildings and the base. While the numbers of visitors vary with the weather, some nights the base welcomes more than 1,000 people, which last year led to donations of more than $18,000 for the local food bank. “My biggest joy is to see Brent (Palmer) and the Mustard Seed receive those donations of money and food to help the needy.” That, and when you see the children’s faces light up as they catch sight of the ships or the brightly lit firetruck at the firehall, “it just melts your heart,” says the 59-year-old Weeks, who is retiring this year. Don’t worry, though...chances are good he’ll be back next year, joking with the tour bus participants about “Olive,” the other reindeer, and other holiday tales. “It’s a pleasure, and next year when I’m retired I’ll continue to do it because it’s just too much fun.”

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Dec 9, 2011 Navy Lighting Contest  

This perennial favourite of the local holiday scene raises much- needed funds and food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank BUY ONE Wine Kit at re...

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