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Lights of Life invites tributes from those mourning loved ones

Sunshine Coast Hospice Society holds space for grief over the holiday season
C.Hospice Society
John McDougall-Goulet, Lights of Life volunteer and Coast Hospice board member with “Lights of Life” tributes. The program will visit malls along the Coast and anyone in the community is invited to write a tribute in their loved one’s memory on an ornament and hang it on the tree.

A Sunshine Coast Hospice Society tradition since 1992, the “Lights of Life” invites anyone in the community who has lost a loved one to write a tribute in their loved one’s memory on a small ornament, provided by Coast Hospice and hang it on the tree inside the mall.

Hospice volunteers will be back in the malls this year, safely hosting tables for the public to drop by between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the following days: Dec. 3 to Dec. 9 at Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt; Dec.10 to Dec. 16 at Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons; and Dec. 11 and 12 at the IGA in Pender Harbour.

The hundreds of ornaments with tributes are then collected and brought to Davis Bay Beach near Mission Point Park on New Year’s Day for an annual ritual called “Lighting of the Memories” where they are lit in a ceremonial bonfire as a symbolic release of the sentiments expressed. This event will take place on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. and is open to all members of the public, especially those grieving the loss of someone dear, to honour the memory of their loved one. For those who prefer to attend remotely, the event will also be streamed live on the Coast Hospice Facebook page.

“We are looking forward to being back in the malls and connecting with individuals in our community who are grieving. So many important opportunities like funerals or visits from loved ones were taken from us during COVID-19, so it makes community rituals like Lights of Life and Lighting of the Memories even more meaningful this year,” says Tess Huntly, executive director of Coast Hospice.

Coast Hospice is also providing a grief support phone line over the holiday season to offer compassion and caring to people during what can be a difficult time of the year. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., from Dec. 20 to Jan. 1, community members can call into the support line at 604-740-6691 to speak with a Coast Hospice volunteer or staff member.

In addition, as part of Lights of Life, Coast Hospice is hosting an in-person Winter Tea on Friday, Dec. 17, at Living Faith Lutheran Church in Davis Bay. You are invited to pause during the busy holiday season to tune in to the memory of your loved one who has died, gather with the community for words of support, a candle lighting, and a remembrance table. Limited spots are available due to considerations of COVID-19 safety. 

To learn more or participate in Lights of Life, call 604-740-0475 or email Hospice also welcomes donations from the public to help deliver bereavement services to the community. 

To make a donation and be a part of the circle of supportive care, visit 

– Submitted by Katie Clogg philanthropy and communications manager Sunshine Coast Hospice Society