Resident creates indoor winter wonderland

Fatima Vieira’s Christmas display started out as a nativity scene against one end wall of the basement, dressed in the greenery that was traditional with such displays in churches in the Azores.

Today it is a stunning 150 square foot scene that stops you in your tracks when you first see it.

Vieira says her winter theme began “really small”, but over the years it has steadily grown through her own purchases and presents from family.

And the choice of a wintery landscape was easy: “I just thought, we all live here in the snow country - it’s Kitimat.”

Asked how many pieces make up the display, she admits she had no idea. “I started counting the houses, I made a mistake and I said I’m not counting again.”

What she does know is it all goes back into more than 100 boxes - which she cleverly uses to create the layers that go under the snow blanket to create the hills and valleys.

Vieira says that if she works flat out all day, it takes about two weeks to put the whole thing up.

This year, however, she had to slot construction in between her work schedules so ran a little later than usual.

She admits some years she thinks perhaps she won’t put it up. But then the family starts and she has to.

It’s the same when it comes time to dismantle the display. “I don’t have the heart to put it away,” she says. “But my sister starts and I have to.”

But Vieira is not complaining. “I enjoy doing it, it’s a joy to see the kids” - in the past she has invited classes from Roy Wilcox Elementary to come over and see it.

So will she be adding still more?

Vieira is definite on that one: “I’ve said no more,” she laughs. “It can’t grow anymore.”

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