One of the most popular of holiday traditions in our town doesn’t actually happen on the holiday it references. While tricks and treats happen as usual on October 31 each year, there is a larger Nanaimo community Halloween celebration happens during the first few days of November at “The Shady Mile”. That probably sounds sinister but don’t worry- The Shady Mile is a lovely stretch of twisting, tree-covered country road on the outskirts of town that becomes a gathering place for jack-o-lanterns.
Local lore tells us a tale that begins about twenty years ago when a local farmer placed a carved pumpkin on the top of each fencepost along his property on Jingle Pot Road (which was beside the Shady Mile Farmer’s Market). The legend claims that the next year, a few more carved pumpkins mysteriously showed up to join in. These days, several thousand jack-o-lanterns appear in the days after Halloween, placed along the roadside, in trees and at the forest edge along this wooded mile. Volunteers light the pumpkins each night and many residents (including us, most years) drive by to take a peek. My photo doesn’t give the full effect… as you can imagine, it’s a striking sight.