Decades-old Christmas tradition coming to an end in Saint John
Christmas is a season of tradition for many Maritimers. However, a decades-old tradition is disappearing from one New Brunswick community.
Murphyville is a collection of miniature buildings, replicas and religious figures perched on a steep embankment in west Saint John.
During the Christmas season, nights at Murphyville take on the appearance of a Christmas theme park.
Families have visited the tiny village since the 1960s, when it was built by former MLA Lou Murphy.
Since his death 17 years ago, Murphy’s family has tried to maintain the site.
“He was a great man and we enjoyed every nail and every paintbrush we put on there, it was all for Lou,” says family member Laura Coholan-Dowe.
However, that responsibility has become too much for Murphy’s 78-year-old nephew.
“Your painting and your maintenance on it, and it comes to a state that you just can’t handle that no more,” says Donald Coholan.
Similar to real buildings, the miniature churches and windmills and lighthouses all need regular maintenance, not to mention the tens of thousands of lights that are attached to them.
Murphy’s family estimates it takes them three months of work each year to prepare for the next Christmas season.
However, the decision not to reopen the Christmas village has left many area residents disappointed.
Natasha Craig started a Facebook page Tuesday in support of the village. It already has over 100 members.
“I was there as a child, I remember my parents taking me there, my great-grandparents taking me there,” says Craig.
“There’s been discussions on how to raise money, there has been offers for people to provide volunteer labour, to help care for it. Others have said that if there is a committee formed they will join to help take care of it.”
However, time is running out.
Some of the site has already been dismantled and nativity scenes and other figures have been promised to churches and to friends and family of Lou Murphy.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron