Rigby Lights Christmas display in Pickering, Ontario

Pickering neighbours light up for Christmas

Four houses get decked out in over 100,000 LED bulbs

The holiday season is upon us and for one Pickering neighbourhood lighting up the block is at the top of their list.

Rigby Lights is a four-house synchronized light and music show, the only one of its kind in the GTA, and is going into its third year.

It started when Colin Bates’ son showed him some Christmas light displays on the Internet.

“I am kind of a techno guy and I thought it was really cool and said ‘I bet we could do something like that,’” Bates said.

“We learned the technology and started with a single house and the next year we had four houses running.”

He added that when they started they wanted to be able to keep their energy consumption down and were able to do that with the use of LED lights.

According to Bates, they use over 100,000 LED lights and have calculated the energy for a nights show between the four houses is equivalent of running a dishwasher for half an hour.

The show runs from December 1 to New Years Day, and takes a lot of work to set up.

“It`s a full month of work to get everything done,” Bates said.  “We’ve got about eight or nine kilometres of cable that we run and had a 65-foot lift truck out here, decorating trees and getting our mega trees fixed up.”

Bates runs the technical side of the light show and said it takes about eight to ten hours of programming to do two minutes of music. “It’s a real challenge, but the end result I think is quite remarkable,” he said.

Others really like the show as well.  First time viewer, Penny, said she heard from a friend that the show was run on little energy and wanted to see how it was done.

“I think it’s great that they are able to celebrate the season with such an amazing light show and still save energy,” she said.

Last year Rigby Lights focused on raising money for the Dreams and Wishes charity and were able to donate over $10,000 in cash, thousands of dollars in toys and over 900 pounds of food to local shelters, with donations from viewers of the show.

“I wanted to show my kids that you can do something like this, have a lot of fun and other people can benefit from it,” Bates said.

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