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Approached by CBC Radio Web-Article

James Hill

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I was approached by Jimmy Chabot - CBC Radio Canada. He was doing an article on Christmas lights in Northern Ontario and thought I'd share. I removed two other pieces as it didn't relate to LOR and used an on-line translator to English and inserted throughout. Because things got lost in translation, I also included what I sent him in an email...it was close though. I hope everyone has a wonderful season this year....all things considered.



An Article by Jimmy Chabot – CBC Radio Canada

With internet translations


Les plus belles décorations de Noël du Nord de l’Ontario

The most beautiful Christmas decorations in Northern Ontario



Alors que le temps des fêtes approche à grands pas, Radio-Canada présente quelques-unes des plus belles maisons illuminées du Nord de l’Ontario.

As the holiday season approaches, Radio-Canada presents some of the most beautiful illuminated houses in Northern Ontario.

James Hill de Thunder Bay a créé un énorme flocon de neige dont l'éclairage change avec le rythme de la musique. Photo : James Hill

James Hill of Thunder Bay has created a huge snowflake whose lighting changes with the beat of the music. Photo: James Hill


Une maison qui vibre au rythme de la musique

A house that vibrates to the rhythm of the music

Quand on syntonise la fréquence 92,3 FM devant cette maison de Thunder Bay, on peut entendre les ampoules chantées. Photo : James Hill

When you tune in to 92.3 FM in front of this Thunder Bay home, you can hear the bulbs singing.     Photo: James Hill


James Hill a mis ses talents d’ingénieur afin de faire sourire sa communauté. Personne ne peut rester indifférent devant la maison de cet homme de Thunder Bay, dont les lumières de Noël sont programmées pour accompagner de la musique. Les automobilistes peuvent apprécier tout le spectacle dans le confort et la chaleur de leur voiture en syntonisant le 92,3 FM. "Je me suis doté d’un petit émetteur FM à basse fréquence afin de ne pas trop écœurer les voisins avec ma musique", précise James Hill. L’idée lui est venue il a quelques années, alors qu’il a reçu une vidéo virale montrant quelqu’un qui avait programmé ses lumières selon la prestation d’un orchestre. "J’ai pensé que c’était la chose la plus cool au monde", se remémore l’homme qui a alors commencé ses recherches pour voir comment ça se faisait. "J’ai trouvé l’entreprise Light-O-Rama spécialisée dans les contrôleurs et les éclairages et j’ai commencé tout ça il y a 8 ans", souligne M. Hill. "Cela peut devenir un passe-temps addictif, car je recherche, écoute et programme les lumières sur de la musique de Noël toute l'année!"

Adresse : 753 avenue Syndicate N , Thunder Bay, ON


James Hill used his engineering skills to make his community smile. No one can remain indifferent to the home of this Thunder Bay man, whose Christmas lights are programmed to accompany music. Motorists can enjoy the whole spectacle from the comfort and warmth of their cars by tuning into 92.3 FM. "I got a small, low-frequency FM transmitter so I wouldn't disgust the neighbors too much with my music," says Hill. The idea occurred to him a few years ago, when he received a viral video showing someone programming their lights to an orchestra performance. "I thought it was the coolest thing in the world," recalls the man, who then began his research to see how it was done. “I found the Light-O-Rama company specializing in controllers and lighting and started all of this 8 years ago,” says Hill. "It can become an addicting hobby as I research, listen to and program the lights to Christmas music all year round!"

Address: 753 Syndicate Avenue N, Thunder Bay, ON


This is what I had actually mentioned in an e-mail.

The difference, I believe, is the loss in translation…close though.


Years ago I received a viral video showing someone who programed their lights to a Trans Siberian Orchestra tune. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and started to research how it was done. I found a company (Light-O-Rama) who specializes in controllers, lights etc. and purchased my first controller. Through the years since, I have been growing my lights, controllers, software etc. to what I have today and still thinking of new things to do next year. It can become an addictive hobby as I search for, listen to and program the lights to Christmas music all year long! Due to Covid this year, I am not adding anything new from last year because of finances but I have ideas.

When I started doing the lights, it was to create a smile on someone's face, like the viral video did for me and give back to my community a little Christmas spirit. I've inherited my family's issues with heart concerns and in Dec. 2017, I received a stent in my left main ventricle. Since then I have wanted to give back to the hospital and asked about donation collection.

Yes you need to tune your radio. I have a small FM radio transmitter which broadcasts over a small radius of about 100 meters. You drive up, tune your radio into 92.3FM and enjoy the light show in the warmth and comfort of your own vehicle. I do have speakers outside for those who are walking by, but they are not that loud - do not want to annoy the neighbors.

Everyone that I have talked with have enjoyed the music and lights. The children seem to really enjoy my singing light bulbs which I have programed their mouths to sing along with the lyrics and blink their eyes. To date, I have not received any negative comments from my neighbors. However, it is for only one month of the year - Dec. 1 to Dec. 31. The music runs every day - weekdays 6-10, weekends 6-11.

I have been playing with my lights for about 8 years now, slowly growing, learning and building. Every light element, I have built myself. The leaping arches were my first build (2014?). I then added lights to the roof line (2015?). I then committed to the singing light bulbs (I believe summer of 2016). The summer of 2017, I built the 16ft snowflake for the roof. The summer of 2018, I built the frames for the cedars.

If I had a few warm fall day in Oct. I could put all my lights out in 2 days but the snowflake has a lot of wires and something always goes wrong and takes a bit of investigating. All my lights are attached to something (to make things easier and quicker). I have used a lot of PVC pipe and drilled hundreds of holes into them and fed the RGB LEDs into them.




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