The Yukon may not be known for its big trees, but there’s always a local specimen deserving the spot at the centre of the Christmas action on Main Street.
Every year the City of Whitehorse puts out a call to residents who have a 35 to 50-foot-tall evergreen that needs removal. Willing homeowners donate a tree, which is cut down by ATCO and relocated to the downtown square for decorating.
This year the tree came from a Porter Creek household.
Inside, Christine Kopan’s family goes with an artificial tree from a box, but they’ve always had one very large natural one in their front yard.
The driveway tree was already well-established when the family moved into the home in 2006, but since then it had become a nuisance that had begun to encroach on the neighbour’s house.
“The tree has just always been there. But it had a beautiful shape to it. People always said it looks like a nice Christmas tree shape,” she said.
“We thought we could give the tree one last hurrah.”
Last year the Kopan’s were put on a waitlist for donating their tree.
“I’ve had friends who had donated their tree to the city for the Christmas tree quite a few years ago, so I contacted the city. They just happened to call this year and say, ‘Do you still want to donate the tree?’”
After confirming with the city, personnel from ATCO came to down the tree on Nov. 25. The company trimmed the massive tree down and transported it on a flatbed before raising it with heavy equipment in front of the White Pass building.
Kopan runs a daycare out of the home, and the felling provided ample entertainment for her tyke charges — at a safe distance in the backyard.
“We went out; we made a morning of it. We watched them cut it down and put it on the truck and drive it away,” said Kopan.
“They were pretty excited. They got to see all the big trucks and the tree being moved. That’s pretty exciting — not only did it get to be the Christmas tree, but it got to be a fun activity for the kids.”
A week later Martin Paquette’s crew was out decorating the tree with hundreds of lights and a special many-pointed star that is carefully placed on top of the tree from an aerial lift. This year the tree was so tall it required a final trim before decorating.
Despite a few days of bitter cold, the tree was decorated — along with the rest of the waterfront and Shipyards Park — in time for the Santa Claus parade on Dec. 4.
Whitehorse residents can source their own (likely much smaller) Christmas trees with no permits or other permission required from approved areas around town, which can be viewed on the city’s website. Yukoners are allowed to cut two per household.