One special tree outshines the rest 

Mayor receives lots of positive feedback on Whistler's Christmas lights

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - bright lights Jeremi's Tree, which is visible from Highway 99, is shown all lit up one recent evening.
  • Photo submitted
  • bright lights Jeremi's Tree, which is visible from Highway 99, is shown all lit up one recent evening.

There are up to 350,000 multi-coloured Christmas lights setting Whistler aglow in festive spirit.

That's 4,000 to 5,000 strings, artfully arranged around the village trees in an overall project costing $80,000. The LED bulbs cost $2.40 per hour, or 10 cents per kilowatt.

And that, said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, is money well spent.

"Everybody is speaking about it," she said, of the particularly colourful light display this year.

None of the municipal lights, however, glow with the kind of love and friendship that the 400 simple white bulbs do on Jeremi's Tree. The tree, just down the road on the Sea to Sky Highway, is a beacon in the dark sky on the road to Whistler.

Those solar-powered lights have been coming on every night for the past year, ever since Jeremi Lindstrom's friends strung them from the tree last Dec. 17, on what would have been their friend's 33rd birthday. Jeremi died in 2011. He was 29 years old.

"There are no words to described the warmth in our hearts (my husband Rick and I and our son Adam) that this tree has shone is its beauty all year," said Lindstrom's mom Suzanne from Ontario. "We are praying this will continue. Every time Jeremi's name is mentioned it means people remember him. He is kept alive in our hearts."

Lindstrom was a cook at the Westin Resort & Spa. He moved out to Whistler, along with several good friends from his hometown of Carlisle in Ontario.

He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring of 2011.

But he planted the seeds of an idea in his friends when he mused aloud about what that lone tree, standing on a bluff above the highway, would look like with Christmas lights on it.

Last December, his friends climbed up the tree with lights and solar panels and lit it up. The lights come on for four hours every night.

"We loved him so much and miss him every day," said Suzanne.

"One day my husband and I will get out there to see Jeremi's Tree, that is our dream. I wish I could see all the beautiful lights in Whistler. I am sure it is a sight to behold."

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