A long treasured icon has returned to its rightful place at Mic Mac Mall.
Woody the Talking Christmas Tree was unveiled before an enthusiastic crowd on Nov. 19 at the Dartmouth-based shopping complex — the first time the festive fir has made a public appearance in 15 years.
“It’s quite exhilarating, really,” says Mic Mac Mall general manager, Tamitha Oakley. “It was a great time (to bring him back). Everybody, in the last two years, has been going through some pretty rough times, and we can bring him back and he can spread some good holiday cheer and some magic to the Maritimers.”
Donning a commanding imitation conifer adorned with glittery Christmas decorations and a jubilant face that moves as it chats with children in real-time, Woody has certainly been a popular attraction since its recent return to the mall.
“Over the years, we certainly have seen that people have kept Woody the Talking Christmas Tree alive and people have always brought it up every year when the holidays come around,” says Oakley. “And a lot of people who came to see Woody as children are now adults and it is those adults that are so very nostalgic about the tradition of Woody.”
A staple of Mic Mac Mall in the 1980s until 2006, the original Woody wore the years on its façade and was eventually in much need of restoration.
Instead of renovating the more than 55-foot tall talking timber, the shopping centre’s owners decided to stop showcasing Woody in the mid-2000s.
However, in September, local developer Joe Ramia purchased Mic Mac Mall. Among his objectives with the popular Dartmouth retail centre was to restore and return Woody to its rightful home.
“With the sale of the property and the Ramias taking over, they want to bring Mic Mac Mall back to its heyday, and Woody the Talking Christmas Tree was a very big part of Mic Mac Mall in generations past,” says Oakley. “They are big supporters of the community and I think we will continue to see that moving forward and lots of exciting things to come.”
A lot has changed in the 15 years since Woody the Talking Christmas Tree was welcoming excited children to Mic Mac Mall, and management has decided to embrace a few of those elements.
Among those improvements has been a much-needed facelift to the decades-old attraction as well as the gift of a free sapling to every visitor who stops by to say hello.
Woody the Talking Christmas Tree will be on display seven days a week until Dec. 23. Mic Mac Mall is encouraging shoppers of all ages to visit the attraction, but visits are walk-up only and based on a first-come, first-served basis.
Of course, Mic Mac Mall also invites children and parents to visit Santa Claus, who along with his elves, is located beside the Hudson’s Bay on level two of the shopping complex.
To visit Santa at the Portland Express, proof of vaccination is required for people 12 and older and appointments must be pre-booked.
“Santa is obviously the tradition and I think that it’s been a big part of Mic Mac Mall for years — since our opening,” says Oakley.
“Both (Santa and Woody) are a tradition that draw a lot of families out and we’re always happy to provide photos for free,” adds the mall’s general manager, noting that she expects a boost of in-person mall attendance this year. “We are trying to have people shop safe and be safe so our Santa photos are by appointment and they can be booked online (and) it makes for a safe environment for our shoppers and our children who want to see Santa.”