TEME volunteers light up the holidays

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

It was big, bright, and chalked full of lights.

A giant 18-wheeler transport truck from Base Transport’s Special Purpose Vehicles section helped light up the holidays for area children and families attending three different holiday parades in Victoria.

The float appeared in the 39th Peninsula Co-Op Santa Lights Parade on Nov. 27, IEOA Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive, Dec. 4, and the Esquimalt Light Parade on Dec. 5.

Christopher Shipway, Special Purpose Vehicles Supervisor of the Transport Electrical and Mechanical Engineering unit, says creating a float for holiday parades has become an annual tradition for his unit. Over the years, thousands of Christmas light strings have been amassed.

“Yes, there is room for more lights,” says Shipway. “Best guess is there are currently around 70,000 lights in our possession, depending on how you count them.”

Putting the float together is no easy task. Shipway says it took approximately 1,100 volunteer hours by several staff members and their families and friends to get the job done. 

The wooden structure used to display the lights was created with assistance from Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton tool cribs, shops, and shipwrights. The effort also received support from Real Property Operations Pacific and Special Events coordinator Christine Farrington.

After the Christmas break there was the less-enjoyable task of removing the lights, carefully storing them for next year, and then tearing down the wooden display, which took a week for volunteers to accomplish, says Shipway.


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