Christ­mas in Bris­tol’s Hope

CBN com­mu­nity not short on hol­i­day spirit


A Christ­mas tra­di­tion for many in New­found­land and Labrador in­volves dis­play­ing coloured or twin­kling lights on a house or in a win­dow.

In more re­cent years, peo­ple have upped the ante on their yard projects, in­clud­ing lights se­quenced to mu­sic and an abun­dance of lights.

For some it’s also a tra­di­tion to drive around and see the Christ­mas lights on houses around lo­cal towns and com­mu­ni­ties.

The com­mu­nity of Bris­tol’s Hope knows all about that tra­di­tion. And over the years, there have been at­tempts to get more res­i­dents in­volved with dec­o­rat­ing their homes.

This year the Bris­tol’s Hope De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee de­cided to or­ga­nize its own fes­ti­val of lights, with a top three be­ing named on Dec. 18.

Richard John­son, com­mit­tee mem­ber and one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the event in­vited a Com­pass re­porter and Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Square Shop­ping Cen­tre property man­ager Wally Snow to judge the event. Both were sur­prised by the en­tries.

With some 120 houses in Bris­tol’s Hope, al­most half of them had some kinds of dec­o­ra­tions or lights.

“It is through events like this that we are bring­ing our com­mu­nity to­gether,” John­son told The Com­pass af­ter the judg­ing.

The idea to host the light fes­ti­val was cre­ated to en­cour­age com­mu­nity sup­port and in­volve­ment. For the past few years the de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee has been work­ing on nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties to en­hance com­mu­nity pride. And this year, for Christ­mas, it was de­cided to have res­i­dents dec­o­rate their homes and put up strings of lights.

The top three homes, in or­der, were Chris and Sherry But­ler, Wayne and Glenda Slade and Doug and Ros­alind King. Each dis­play was unique.

“I have to say that… it was very ev­i­dent that Bris­tol’s Hope is one small com­mu­nity with a large com­mu­nity spirit,” John­son said. Santa makes a visit Thanks to the de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee and a newly reno- vated Mos­quito Room School­house, the com­mu­nity was able to host Santa for the chil­dren this year.

The event, which took place the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon to the light fes­ti­val, be­gan with John­son lead­ing the chil­dren and other visi­tors in a sing along.

It was an old fash­ioned Christ­mas for the folks of Bris­tol’s Hope. Since there is no com­mu­nity cen­tre, they used the old one-room school­house, which has a wood stove and the in­side was lit from the nat­u­ral light com­ing in from the win­dows. It was over­flow­ing with kids, par­ents and grand­par­ents, all of whom were there to see Santa.

“Santa ar­rived, gave out the gifts to all the good boys and girls and af­ter­wards we all en­joyed some Christ­mas good­ies — short­bread cook­ies, dark fruit cake, candy canes, candy kisses, hot chocolate and (let’s not) forget pu­rity syrup,” John­son elated.

So far, the at­tempts by the de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee to be­come a lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict have been un­suc­cess­ful, but John­son doesn’t be­lieve they can’t have the ameni­ties other com­mu­ni­ties have.

Next year there will be a lo­cal park some 300 feet off the main road. A com­mu­nity cen­tre is also be­ing sought. Lo­cals al­ready got a new postal code and com­mu­nity mail­boxes. And this is just the be­gin­ning, said John­son.

There are some 300 peo­ple liv­ing in Bris­tol’s Hope. The num­ber of homes dou­bled in 20 years. John­son be­lieves it’s be­cause of the tran­quil­ity, but also be­cause there are really good peo­ple liv­ing there.

When asked why he lives there, John­son smiled and said it was the best place to live.


Richard John­son per­forms dur­ing a Christ­mas mu­sic sing-along in Bris­tol’s Hope on Satur­day, Dec. 19.

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