Maritime town may have inspired well-known Christmas carol
Published Monday, December 23, 2013 6:11PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 24, 2013 12:43PM AST
The sights and sounds of the holidays are everywhere, and as residents of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia embrace the spirit of the season, one Christmas classic is likely playing in the background.
That song is Meredith Willson’s, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
Yarmouth historian Ken Langille always enjoys sharing the story residents of the town believe is the inspiration behind the carol.
In the late 1940’s staff at Yarmouth’s Grand Hotel recalled the visit of a songwriter.
“This very distinguished gentlemen who was a songwriter, wanted some quiet time at the grand hotel to write some songs,” explains Langille.
Langille says staff believed this man was Broadway composer Meredith Willson.
When “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” was released in 1951,the rumors in this Nova Scotia town began.
From the tree in the Grand hotel, to Frost Park across the road, Langille says there are several comparisons.
In the 1940’s Yarmouth had a 5 and 10 store, which was just down the street from the hotel, and during the holidays the town’s downtown core would be filled with rows of candy canes.
While the story remains unconfirmed, it’s clear people on the southern tip of Nova Scotia love to believe it.
“It makes us so much happier, so much lighter,” exclaims Yarmouth resident Mark Hubbard. “We’ve got Frost Park; we have a tree in the Grand Hotel. It’s just amazing!”
“I hope the story is true,” says Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood. “Whether or not it is, just to be able to say it’s our song, and it came from Yarmouth, it just revives the spirit, it’s great!”
All through the town the spirit of Christmas is evident, Yarmouth’s holiday mascot, the Gingerbread man is filled with festive cheer when he’s out and about and hears the song playing on the speakers downtown.
Even Santa and Mrs. Claus often visit the famous Grand Hotel before things get busy at the North Pole.
It’s a treat for the hotel’s general manger, Louise LeBlanc, who says it never takes long for staff to get into the Christmas spirit.
“When I first started working here everybody couldn’t wait to tell me how fast, quickly, that that song was written here,” explains LeBlanc.
Whatever you choose to believe, one thing is for sure, in Yarmouth it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau