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Shuffling into Jackson Park on a full moon night that would have had the brassiest of brass monkeys pleading for thermal undies, I experienced one of those rare, priceless is Windsor? moments.

Hearing all the acclaim for Bright Lights Windsor, I had bundled up like the Michelin Man to go see whether the month long spectacle, which wraps up Tuesday night, warrants its heady praise.

The answer, no surprise, is a resounding yes. I expressed concern, when the budget was halved following the post flood public outcry, that this would be a chintzy, rinky dink show that would impress only the youngest toddlers.

Now I understand why young couples chose the glittering light show in and around venerable Queen Elizabeth Gardens to pop the question. There more than a little big city magic in this production and that surely a relief in a city that still lugs around the most debilitating inferiority complex in all of Canada.

Events like this chip away at the city longstanding suspicion that it not up to snuff and shouldn overreach. will never work here has for decades been Windsor unofficial motto. It continues to be a screeching psychological brake on moving forward.

But that changing. More and more we having is Windsor? moments where we rub our eyes in disbelief that the city is doing things from the city parkway triumph over a reluctant province to its successful hosting of the 2016 FINA world swimming championships that involve punching way above our weight.

Mayor Drew Dilkens is chuffed, and rightfully so, over the public heartfelt embrace of Bright Lights. He can go anywhere in this city, from supermarkets to restaurants, without hearing how tickled people are with the event. Some have confided they were vehemently opposed last summer but have seen the light, so to speak.

Dilkens really stuck his neck out on this one. This light show was his baby and when the monsoons inundated thousands of homes in August, just a day after council narrow approval of spending $3 million on the event, it seemed the gods had conspired to deliver him to the guillotine.

The Bright Lights at Jackson Park in Windsor are shown on Jan. 2, 2018.

The timing wasn just terrible. It was lotto odds unbelievable that more than 6,000 homes would be flooded within hours of a council decision that suddenly looked frivolous and indefensible.

The public pressure to back off, stoked by the mayor political foes who couldn believe their good fortune, was overwhelming. It got to some councillors who had voted for the light show. They wanted to capitulate. Throw in the towel and go beg forgiveness from an irate public.

But Dilkens persuaded the wobblers that he could make a powerful point by point case in defence of the city handling of the flood at ward meetings and that,
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in time, both the water and the emotions would subside. Row had drawn heaps of praise) and that view would bubble to the surface as the festive season and its contagious spirit of goodwill drew closer.

The reality, of course, is that Windsor needs this. We are a city starved for things to do in the winter so we welcome any diversion, even in a polar deep freeze, that gets us outside.

In much of Canada winter is embraced like an old friend. It the social season. People snowmobile, ski, skate, snow shoe, camp, curl, ice fish. In Ottawa, where I lived for six winters, there a banquet of options, including countless ski trails and the world longest outdoor skating rink.

Here, most winters, we hunker down and wait it out, knowing an early spring is coming, or we flee down I 75 in a frantic hunt for the sun.

Now, thanks to Bright Lights, we have a winter diversion that could evolve, with continued investment and creative ideas,
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into a destination attraction.