Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise visit to the Glen Cairn Tennis Club on Wednesday night, Nov. 14, participating in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The prime minister arrived shortly before the start of the event, walking up Oriole Ave. accompanied by members of his protective detail.
“I had asked the prime minister (that) if he wasn’t busy this evening, if he wouldn’t mind coming out and be our official Christmas tree lighter,” said Colin McSweeney, a vice-president of the Glen Cairn Community Association and friend of Harper. “He wasn’t busy, so here he is.”
The ceremony started with Christmas music by the Glen Cairn Public School handbell choir, a group of grades 7 and 8 students, who performed traditional favourites such as Deck the Halls.
After a few songs, the prime minister joined the children and lit the Christmas tree.
More than 100 residents turned out for the first annual tree-lighting organized by the Glen Cairn Community Association, Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley and the Kourier-Standard.
The event was attended by Carleton-Mississippi Mills MP Gordon O’Connor and MPP Jack MacLaren.
Christmas Décor by Nutri-Lawn decorated the evergreen tree, which is located on 70 Castlefrank Rd., near the intersection of McKitrick Drive.
Hot chocolate and cookies were served during the event.
Derrick Curren, who came up with the idea of holding a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, didn’t know the prime minister would attend the event.
“I knew something was taking place when I saw the trenchcoats (of the prime minister’s security detail) around,” he said.
Curren was one of dozens of residents who lined up and had their photograph taken with Harper.
“He just asked me my name; my wife mentioned it was my idea (for the event) and he said, ‘Nice idea.’”
Sheila Feres and Kathleen Feres-Patry said they enjoyed meeting the prime minister.
“It was very special,” said Sheila. “He asked me my name, and I welcomed him to Glen Cairn.”
At first, Kathleen said she couldn’t join in the photo opportunity.
“I can’t I’ve got the dog,” she said, pointing at the family golden retriever, Taffy.
“He said, ‘That’s OK, bring the dog in.’”