The Tree of Remembrance in Valemount became a part of the community’s holiday landscape eight years ago when Michael Peters had the idea to decorate the little blue spruce tree on the corner of 5th and Dogwood.

The first year, they had five or six people come out to decorate the tree with wooden stars, each labeled with the name of loved ones that had passed. In the years since, the project has grown, as has the tree. Now, along with hanging the stars on the tree, over a dozen volunteers gave the park a festive facelift by installing lights on the other trees and along the fence.

“The light-up at the park kicks off our late-night shopping and brings the community together working on a common goal,” said co-organizer Marian Plummer.

Following Christmas, the stars are taken down and Plummer leaves them out to completely dry before they go into storage until the following December. 

“It’s a pretty special time hanging the stars, and mentioning people’s names as we pick another one out from the pile,” she said. We have names of people who lived here a long time ago, and some people from Dunster and McBride. It is not limited to people from Valemount.”

Stars can be purchased from Plummer for a one-time cost of $10. The funds raised go to purchasing more lights for the park, and to cover the cost of the stars.

This small tree was in place and the Winter Market as volunteers from the Hospital Auxiliary accepted donations. These angels will be transferred to the big tree at the library later this week. /ANDREA ARNOLD


The McBride Hospital Auxiliary has been helping locals honour lost loved ones through the Memorial Angel Tree projects for many decades.

“If someone has lost a loved one and would like to make a donation in their memory, we make a little angel with their name, and put it on the tree,” said Eleanor Johnson. “It makes for a beautiful presentation.” 

Members of the Auxiliary were on hand at the Winter Market held on Sunday afternoon accepting donations and providing the angel ornaments on which people can write their loved ones’ names.

Johnson was one of the members at the table. She has been a part of the Memorial Tree project for the past four or five years.

“Just sitting at the table today taking names is an experience, in some, new grief and yet others, memories of many years ago,” she said. “I really feel it is a privilege to remember as the names go up on the tree…A trip down memory lane…after being here 70 years, there have been lots.”

The money raised through the Memorial Tree has gone towards purchases for the hospital, the current goal, a new ultrasound machine. In the past they have helped with items like an emergency room stretcher, angel lifts, pediatric crash cart and bear hugger warming unit.

“It truly is an ongoing service,” said Johnson.

The tree will be set up in the McBride library again this year, and people are invited to continue to add angels to the tree with their loved ones’ names in the weeks leading up to Christmas.