Local thieves threaten popular holiday tradition in Orangeville

December 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

A local Grinch may very well have ruined Christmas for Orangeville’s version of the Griswold family, stealing away a treasured piece of their jaw-dropping holiday display.

For the best part of half a decade, Kevin Malow and Gelene Slaney-Malow have transformed their Park Lane home into one of the brightest, most breathtaking seasonal displays anywhere in the province. Put together both for the enjoyment of daughter Marissa and the local community, the approximately $5,000 spread has wowed hundreds of locals in recent times.

It came as a big shock then to the family when they returned from a vacation in British Columbia to find a central piece of the display –  a twinkling Cinderella carriage – missing. A Christmas gift to Marissa two years previously, her dad has vowed that their display will not return next year unless the carriage is returned.

“She is absolutely devastated,” mum Gelene said of her daughter in a post to social media. “(The carriage) holds great sentimental value to her. My husband spends countless hours working on our Christmas display to bring happiness and joy to others in the holiday season and unfortunately someone has taken advantage of that.”

She added, “I am very disappointed to say this but my husband has decided that he will not put forth the effort to set up our Christmas display in the future if our item is not returned and things are stolen from our property.”

The Malows are two-time winners of Orangeville’s Communities in Bloom Winter Lights contest. They will be hoping for a third straight win in 2017.

While the theft has understandably left the Malows “disheartened”, a show of support from some local residents has helped to restore their faith in the community. Home Depot has donated a replacement carriage to the family, and hundreds of others have offered their support through social media.

Amongst those was Mayor Jeremy Williams who stated, “This theft isn’t Orangeville”, instead pointing to the overwhelming outpouring of support as a true indication of the community.

“It’s one stupid act by one or more idiots,” the mayor said. “I hope this event and our community’s reaction to it shows the world that a hundred Grinches will never steal our Christmas spirit!”

Anyone with information regarding the theft is asked to contact Gelene Slaney-Malow via Facebook.

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