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Sudbury man puts on annual Christmas display with 45,000 lights

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A Sudbury man has been making it his mission to spread some Christmas cheer in the city for years with an annual festival of lights for charity.

Derek Durkac has been slowly adding to his collection of Christmas lights for the last few years.

Derek Durkac puts on annual festival of lights for Christmas. (Ian Campbell/CTV Northern Ontario)

"I've been putting my Christmas lights up for the last 20 years. It all started off really small, putting some lights up on the eavestrough, a sled, a reindeer, three-dimensional figures and then back in 2012, I got a bright idea to go bigger," Durkac said.

Starting off with a display of 9,000 lights, he said this year, he'll have an estimated 45,000 individual Christmas lights hanging from his property in Sudbury.

Durkac will be collecting food donations and money for the Edgar Burton Food Drive and the Sudbury Food Bank.

Throughout the year, he is making wooden cutouts to add to his display.

Wooden signs made by Derek Durkac as part of his annual Christmas light display. (Ian Campbell/CTV Northern Ontario)

"I cut them, I paint them, I varnish them and all the structures that you see in the background, Santa's house, the gingerbread house, it's all made by me," Durkac said.

"All made by plywood and all my Christmas lights, I buy them and turn them into something spectacular."

Putting up Christmas lights is a family tradition that he carried into his own family when he had children.

"It just brought back a lot of memories from my dad and what he used to do with his grandparents and I just wanted to carry on that tradition with the community," Durkac said.

"I started my display, I start doing it in December, so the people in my community, they walk by walking their dog – they see something from nothing to something of greatness and they love it."

He said seeing the joy on everyone's faces makes all the hard work worth it.

"My dream is to one day be on The Great Christmas Light Fight, but I don't think they'll be coming to Canada." 

The display is located at 48 Severn St., off Burton in the Donovan area.

Lights are on Friday through Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. until Dec. 25.

Santa will be making a special appearance from 7 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 16, 17, 22 and 23.

Santa is making special appearances at the Durkac Festival of Lights. (Ian Campbell/CTV Northern Ontario)

The Sudbury Grinch will be there Dec. 16 and 23.

A box will be set up at the end of the driveway to collect non-perishable food items and money.

Donation box at the Durkac Festival of Lights collects for the Sudbury Food Bank. (Ian Campbell/CTV Northern Ontario)

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