CHURCH POINT -
Each year, close to a dozen volunteers (who prefer to be called elves) work at transforming Le Petit Bois trail behind Église Sainte-Marie Church in Church Point on Route 1 into a Christmas wonderland.
The tradition began about 25 years ago with a few trees decorated along the walk, but over the last decade the decorating has grown considerably. Now there are many more people assisting the elves with their efforts.
Those involved in this holiday initiative say the kids love it and that they don’t do this for the glory, they just do it for the kids.
Although the complete trail is five-kilometres long, the decorated portion is a small section of that. It’s about a 20-minute walk for adults, maybe half an hour for children, and loops in a circle back to the starting point behind the Église Sainte-Marie Church. There’s an attractive entrance to the trail from the church parking lot.
“I’ve met people that are from Yarmouth that have heard about it and visited to take a walk two years in a row,” says one person involved in this holiday tradition who preferred to be referred to as an elf, as opposed to her real name. “You go by the parking lot and there are cars there every day, more on the weekends.”
There are all shapes and sizes of ornaments. Some are from Frenchys, others are donated by people who didn’t want to throw them away. The decorations include wooden cutout decorations, with even some of the tree trunks decorated.
The elves began their work on Nov. 1 and spent three to four hours daily, for at least a month, hanging ornaments.
The trail decorations remain up until around Jan. 1. The elves keep their ears open for weather forecasts and rush to take the ornaments down if there’s a storm called for early in the new year.
More about Le Petit Bois
A self-guided tour of the entire trail is available for visitors who are curious about the history, birds, animals and habitats of Le Petit Bois. Thirteen locations along the trails are outfitted with interpretive sign posts, each bearing QR codes that can be scanned with a cellular device. The QR codes link to web pages filled with interesting facts, photographs and stories.
For visitors without access to a cellular device, a booklet containing the same information is available at the Rendez-vous de la Baie visitor centre, located on the campus of Université Sainte-Anne in Church Point.