My Village in Four Seasons was proposed as a month long Christmas village themed event, occupied with kiosks during December, set forth by the Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue merchant association (SDR), to town council in early September.
The idea was derived from a similar endeavor, Donegal Square, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where their month long exhibit, in its sixth season, has attracted over 60,000 tourists.
Neville Gardner, established Donegal Square in 1985, as a result of many requests by friends to bring back various items from Ireland. The name of the courtyard is taken from the Georgian Square in which Belfast City Hall sits.
“Donegal Square has over 100 merchants, self funding, two full time staff from the Merchant’s association, and over 23,000 likes on their social media,” Gardner told The Suburban.
35 kiosks are sold for $900.00, and are open four weekends prior to Christmas, and all day on December 22-23-24.
“We plan this event 12 months in advance, as it is a far bigger project then people anticipate,” continued Gardner.
The merchants in Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue, who number over 80, have 12 empty premises on Main Street, struggle through the winter months.
We had an organizing committee of forty, who set out and obtained sponsorship in setting up Christmas village exhibits at De La Londe Park off St-Pierre Street,” said Jennifer Pragai, Vice-President of SDR.
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue has 879 likes on social media, some self sufficiency, with no full time employees to market the event.
“I was given 15 minutes to present proposal to the mayor, town manager, and the six councilors at a late October meeting, but only the mayor, and town manager had copies,” said Jean-Claude Provost-President of SDR.
The town and its members rejected the idea in early November citing that SDR were not organized, and power restrictions at locale lead to their decision.
“The majority of council felt that it was too fast, too soon, and it was a project which needed more planning,” said Councilor Ryan Young-District 2.
“This is a project that the town could support, with time, in the next few years.” said Mayor Paola Hawa
“It is not for the faint of heart. 10% of the volunteers do 90% of the work, but it is all worth it,” added Gardner, speaking from Bethlehem as he was hanging Christmas decorations.
Further information on Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue can be viewed at the following link: