Christmas Celebration on Leney Place

Written by Harold McNeill on December 20th, 2011. Posted in Christmas Stories

(Link here to 2012 Christmas Wish)

Getting Ready for Christmas

Decorating for Christmas is just plain fun but when friends and neighbors get together to make it a collaborative experience, it gives a whole new meaning to the Season of Joy.

It all began in early December as a result of encouragement coming from Sam and Jacob, two ROMS students, and their dad, who thought it would be a great idea to enter our street in the Times Colonist Lighting Contest. Our two families have been in a bit of a lighting contest for the past couple of years and so decided to combine our efforts. We checked with the other neighbours and after finding everyone was on board, the decorating began in earnest.

As one couple on our street, Glen and Peg, were laid up and could not decorate this year, we got together and had their yard shipshape (Glen and Peg are Vets) in a couple of days. Over past years, many of the Christmas figurines you now see on the street have been made in Grandpa Glen’s Workshop. Take a look at the genetically identical deer and snowmen and you will realize we did a bit of “figurine cloning”. Even though it was still the early days of cloning, it worked out quite well.

By December 9th, with everything ship shape and with the music playing, we were ready for the judging on December 10th and 11th. Low and behold, when the winners were announced on December 14th, our street was #3 on the Best Street Display, just behind our neighbours in the 1200 block Alan Road and more distant friends in the 1200 Block Marin Park Close in Brentwood Bay.

While we have experienced a considerable build-up of vehicle and foot traffic along our little street, it is a small price to pay for the fun of completing this neighborhood project and seeing the joy that is evident in the eyes of the parents and kids as they walk by and pause to take in the peaceful Christmas scenes nestled in among the trees and shrubs.

Sometime between Christmas and New Year (perhaps the 28th, if the weather looks good) we will be lighting the outdoor fire place and hosting a pot luck dinner for our friends and neighbors.  If you perchance to see us on the street with the fire going, a cuppa ‘hot chocolate’ in our hands, singing Christmas Carols, please stop and join the festivities. Ah, we do love Christmas.

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

From the Families of Leney Place

ps  On Thursday Evening (December 29th) we hosted a ‘driveway’ campfire, marshmellow roast and hot chocolate ‘drink-off’.  Over the evening about 35-40 friends, neighbours and folks just driving by stopped to enjoy the final days of the Christmas Season.

The following photos plus others are contained in slideshow at the end of the post.  Those photos may be opened to full size for download.

Grandpa Glen, Santa and Lynn

Visiting Grandpa Glen Devins at the Victoria General

Visiting Grandma Peggy Davins

Grandpa Glen’s tour of the hospital.  Can you spot Grayson in this photo (hint, he is hiding)

Neighbours warming by the fire.

Neighbors Mike, Sam, Jacob and Goalie Friend getting ready for the World Junior Championships in Street Hockey.

Neighbours Erin and Joey warming by the Fire

Kari, Grayson and Joey roasting marshmellows

 Above Photo: This pack of Royal Oak Runners were captured on Leney Place when they tried to sneak up on Santa Clause and his Reindeer. Fortunately, Santa was able to stop the deer from trampling them. When I came out to negotiate their release, I learned the group was at one time called the Broadmead Village Sneakers but when they discovered there was no pub in Broadmead, they changed their name to the Royal Oak Runners. This was done in order to get a discount at the Bird of Paradise Pub, for, as is the case with every running group, the members need regular rehydration.

This motely crew called themselves The Prairie Inn Harriers. Somehow they ended up on Leney Place where they were chased down by the Royal Oak Runners. Santa and Rudolph intervened to stop the Harriers from getting hurt in the ensuing dustup. We have learned that running groups (being pack animals) are known to be very territorial.
We also learned it was not unusual for the Harrier men to get lost on their runs. They had recruited a few women to help them find their way but tonight, after a few beer, had taken off on their own. When the Prairie Inn Staff heard a news report that the group seen wandering in the Royal Oak area looking for a watering hole, they sent a woman over to herd them home.

The Ghost of Leney Place. For years neighbours are certain a ghost has been present on Leney Place. There were only a few sightings as the ghost only made appearances late at night during a holiday periods. This Christmas is no different.
I stayed out Sunday waiting and watching and finally caught this picture just before dawn on Monday when I noticed the tree behind Santa starting to shiver in the cold morning air. I am certain I could see a mouth starting to move as if someone or something in the tree was trying to speak, but no words were forthcoming. If you stand quietly the street and look at the tree trunk just above and behind of Santa’s head, you will perhaps see the sad outline of a face as the ghost hides in the tree.


Kids always help to make Christmas a very special time as it is for these two visiting Grandpa and Grandma at the end of our street.

Friends Garth and Esther.  Honestly, the hot chocolate was not spiked…

Our Home. Now if we could just get a couple of inches of snow, the scene would be complete.

These neighbours anchor the very end of our cul de sac. Their lovely home is shown below.

Neighbours Home

Jeff and Maddy warming by the fire

Notice the snowmen and reindeer.  They are genetically related to other parts of the Leney Place family of deer and snowmen families.


Visiting Friends Terry and Wendy along with their son Dylan and his new bride.

These kids dropped by with their mom while they were on the Christmas Light Tour.  They decided it would be a good idea to roast a few marshmellows.

Area Neighbours with our friends of many years, Joy and Noel

Friends from Christmas’s Past

Dan and Trish Beveridge were following Lighting Tour when they came upon 4400 Block Leney Place. They were convinced to pull over and stay for a wee bit of our special hot chocolate. Keep us posted on your dance engagements Dan, Lynn and I love dancing.

A Splash of Light at 4402 Leney Place


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Comments (3)

  • Shirlee McCorkle
    December 31, 2011 at 1:35 am |

    Great pictures Harold! It looks like a good time last nite with all you friends & neighbors…and as usual, I like your Christmas spirit and Joy of Life!!
    Happy New Year to you and Lynn!!
    Shirlee McCorkle.

  • Harold McNeill
    April 2, 2012 at 3:34 am |

    Hi Dwight. Have been out of contact for a couple of weeks. When back in Canada will contact you by email. Harold

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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email:

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.