Christmas at the Bay 2010
This is a video in HD.
If your Internet connection allows it, playing in full-screen HD is highly recommended.
Since the early 1900s, retail giant the Bay has had a tradition of beautiful Christmas displays. This year is no exception. On 9 November 2010, five charming windows were unveiled at the flagship store on Toronto’s Queen Street West for the fourth time in a row.
The "vignettes" as they are called by some were designed in 2007 by the Creative Design Team of the Bay in co-operation with animators from Speath Design, a New York company.
The five windows depict Christmas in a style illustrative of the Victorian era, a period many of us have come to associate with the Good Old Days as it is not long enough ago to have led into oblivion what we now perceive as the good things, yet far enough behind us to make most of us forget the brutal realities of life in that era.
In the eastmost window, we see Santa Claus’ elves, who all happen to be dressed in classical the Bay gear, preparing the Big Event at the North Pole. They are grooming Santa’s reindeer and sled. Says the text under the display:
With Christmas approaching, young children are hoping:
that their presents will reach them according to plan,
all wonderfully donated by a generous man. So Santa’s
little helpers make sure all is right so that nothing will
go wrong on that faithful night. They work with much
diligence and a great deal of pride this ensuring that
Santa will have a smooth ride.
The second window shows us the feverish atmosphere in Santa’s chaotic workplace. Santa is verifying the list of children he will visit, while an elf is opening the mail and other elves are preparing toys. All are reminded of the urgency of their business, by the giant clock in the middle where time is ticking away:
The clock is ticking and the hours are dwindling.
The toyshop is bustling as the elves are preparing.
The list is revised and a plan is devised.
There’s no time to pause for old Santa Claus.
In the third window, people are preparing for Christmas Eve. As a subtle hint of the brutal realities of the Victorian era, a boy is selling newspapers, his dog patiently waiting at his side. A store-owner is folding a blanket, while just above him, a woman is adding some finishing touches to the decorations of her window. Another boy is lighting a street lantern, while a couple carrying a ton of gifts is listening to a trio of carollers singing songs. In the westmost corner, a woman is looking at pastries through a store window, while a couple can be seen dancing upstairs.
One more quick stop; this is the very last shop.
Add the gift to the stack; it’s time to head back.
The stockings are hung; the festivities have begun.
The carollers are singing; what a wonderful evening!
The next window shows us a man who has nearly finished decorating a Christmas tree, his dog sleeping at his feet. His wife in the next room is filling some stockings. Other family members are having a nap in the salon while the cat is eyeing a small Christmas tree. Mom and dad Mouse are preparing the festivities in the basement while the Mouse children are soundly sleeping in their matchbox beds.
The children all sleep with their eyes shut tight,
dreaming for an end to this long, drawn-out night.
Not one of them can wait for the morning sun to
rise, knowing they’re all in for a wonderful surprise!
After having done his job of delivering all the gifts all over the planet, we find Santa again in the last window when he returns home and where he is welcomed back by the elves and his beloved who is putting the classic the Bay blanket on his back to warm him up. They are sitting at table for dinner, with sumptuous cakes and puddings.
A job well done merits plenty of cheer, a toast
from your friends, and a hug from your dear.
So celebrate the festivities in grandiose style, with
a cup of eggnog and cookies piled high.
The Bay Christmas display windows are one of the first signs of things to come downtown Toronto for this Christmas season. While we can enjoy the Victorian displays, city work crews are working feverishly hard during the night to put up Christmas lights all over the city. The preparations will be considered complete at the moment of the unveiling of the traditional Christmas tree on Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday 27 November 2010 at 7 p.m. The displays will be taken down in the beginning of 2011.
Please note that “The Bay” as it is written in the video is a mistake. According to the company’s style guide, it should have been written as “the Bay”. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this preference until well after I uploaded the video.