48 years of the Christmas Tree tradition on the Nechako

A fox seen close to the tree that is put on the Nechako river every year as a tradition.
The Christmas Tree is still on the Nechako River as of April 1. (Photos submitted by Wayne Salewski)

You know the Christmas tree that is put up on the Nechako river every year? The tradition of putting a tree on the river has been going on for close to 50 years now.

If you don’t know what is being referred to here, you have definitely seen it while driving on the bridge towards Northside Road.

This tradition of putting the tree on the Nechako River started in the winter of 1972-73 by Doctor Piper, who had moved to Vanderhoof from England.

The Salewski family in Vanderhoof have been carrying this tradition on for the past twenty years now, and Wayne Salewski gave the Omineca Express some insight into the history of the tree.

After Doctor Piper moved away, the tradition was taken over by the next homeowners, the Goff’s, who were school teachers and they put the tree out year after year through the 1980s, until they transferred to Fort St. James.

In between that time and the 2000s when the Salewski’s moved into the home, another homeowner came through and continued the tradition for a while.

Infact as a part of the sale of the house, there was a book left with instructions for the next homeowner on how to keep the tradition going.

“It has always been a well watched tradition with concern, when it didn’t go up after the Christmas season… some times it was delayed due to the reality of safety, but to my knowledge it has never missed a year in the 48 years that it has been inserted into the ice,” Salewski said.

Another interesting fact is that the tree sinks into the river between March and April, with no set dates. Last year, the tree sank on April 1, which is definitely not the case this year.

Here are a few other dates on which the tree sank in the Nechako river, over the past decade. (Salewski provided the Omineca Express with this data):

  • 2009 — March 23
  • 2015 — March 13
  • 2018 — April 16

“It is not only an appreciated tradition by many residents that cross the bridge daily, but it also attracts a lot of attention from wildlife that criss-cross the river nightly,” Salewski added.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Vanderhoof

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible.

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

COVID-19: Fort St. James pharmacy reported to Northern Health for ‘spreading misconceptions’

“We can confirm that there have been lab-confirmed cases across the north - in both large and small communities,” says Northern Health.

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read