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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  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

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    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

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    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

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