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Grounds of Glenhyrst Art Gallery glow with holiday cheer

ChristmasGrounds of Glenhyrst Art Gallery glow with holiday cheer

The Brantford Lights illuminated the grounds of the Glenhyrst Art Gallery with thousands of twinkling bulbs during the “switch-on” event on Friday, December 1, 2023.

The City of Brantford and the gallery partner for the annual affair, and together they are celebrating the event’s 11th anniversary.

One youngster gets a closer look at a lighting display during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Despite the rain, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered around the outside of the gallery as they waited for the official “switch-on” of the holiday lights.

As Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford, arrived, Ana Olson, the Gallery’s Director, stepped up to the mic and got the event underway with a brief speech.

Santa Claus smiles for a photo alongside Ana Olson, Gallery Director, Brantford council members, Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford, Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant, Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant, David McKee, Brantford Town Crier, and his wife Betty Jean during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Olson thanked sponsors, as well as the City and its various staff for the weeks of hard work they put into the designing and hanging of the lights, as well as the variety of floral displays around the grounds.

She also let the crowd know that for 30 days, they are accepting non-perishable food items to donate to the Salvation Army and the Brantford Food Bank.

“As we can all imagine, the food banks are struggling right now,” she said. “There are people in our community that are in great need, and we are always one of the biggest contributors to the food bank every year. If you can, please donate.”

Kayla Drassich and Sierra Jacobs smile for a photo under a tunnel of lights during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Olsen then invited David McKee, Brantford’s Town Crier, up to the microphone to make a festive declaration.

“When the lights come on at Glenhyrst, they pierce the cold dark night and warm the hearts of all who come to embrace the spectacular sight,” he said.

Davis and several council members, along with Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant, and his provincial counterpart, Will Bouma, then led the crowd in the count down from ten.

One youngster stares at the lights in awe during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

As the lights lit up the grounds in unison, the crowd clapped and cheered, and visitors soon dispersed to enjoy the variety of lighting displays.

From Santa’s sleigh to red-and-white candy canes, hands intertwining, and hanging ornaments, there was no shortage of spectacular sights.

Olsen also informed guests that the annual Vibrant Palette: School Art Exhibit, was running inside, and featured pieces from both elementary and high school students around the city.

“As of last week, the Vibrant Palette: School Art Exhibit, my favourite exhibit of the year, is on display inside,” she said. “If you haven’t already been inside, please wander around and see the amazing talent from our young children and our youth in this community. You will be amazed at how beautiful some of these pieces are.”

Gayle Smithers, Ruth Ballade and Pat Wood of Little Boxes – Plus smile for a photo in the Little Merry Market during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Visitors took the opportunity to take a break from the rain and walk through the gallery to view the art, or shop for handmade artisan crafts from the Merry Little Market.

Upstairs, Dan McDonald and Kristen Vollick were also performing holiday music.

Thousands of lights twinkle in the night during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Overall, Olson said that while she was sad that the Brantford Salvation Army band couldn’t be with them this year due to the rain (a first in ten years), she was happy with all the new additions to this year’s month-long event.

“We always try to get a few new things and this year we have some new characters, reindeer and sculptures,” said Olson. “Of course, we have plenty of new lights around the trees and we have some new hanging ornament balls because we are always expanding. We’re also excited because we have some new sponsors like GrandBridge Energy, which is fitting because you can’t have lights without energy.”

For those interested in viewing the Brantford Lights, the event will be on until Monday, January 1, 2024.

A large hand sculpture shines brightly during the Brantford Lights “switch-on” event at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on Friday, December 1, 2023.

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