Cousin Eddie’s left town – Turcotte’s Griswold Christmas Vacation brings 2020 to an incredible end

(Councillor Glen Gower, the Turcotte family – Shawn, Hudson in behind, Chantelle and Kennedy – Theresa Qadri, Chair of the Stittsville Food Bank and Kevin O’Shea, President of Mattamy Homes Ottawa were invited for the December 24 cheque presentation to the Stittsville Food Bank. Photos: Stittsville Central.)

Stittsville is a long way from Colorado, where many scenes for Christmas Vacation were shot in 1989, but for the month of December 2020, Stittsville residents and those from afar, were brought to the state and entertained by the highly-amusing scene played out on the front lawn of the Turcotte family home. From our first post on Stittsville Central of the tree enveloping the car on Stittsville Main Street emphasizing the size of the tree with the crane in the background, to when Stuntman Stu showed up as Cousin Eddie, we knew it would be a hit with all and Shawn said, “It was that first pic you posted from Stittsville Main that started it all!”

(The initial photo of the Turcotte…er Griswold…family travelling down Stittsville Main Street. The scale of the photo with the crane put everything into perspective – it was a huge tree! Photo: Stittsville Central.

A year in planning, inspired by daughter Kennedy, it was well worth the wait for the family and all those who visited the display. It was not only the display that brought the morale lift we all needed after months of challenge, it was the good that the family was doing. Raising funds for our Stittsville Food Bank!

(Can we ever forget this scene!)

When speaking with Shawn, he told me, “we are all thrilled with the success of the display growing into something never imagined. Ultimately there was no target to be met for the funds raised, but raising well over $45,000 and more than 2,000 pounds of non-perishable food for our local food bank has been an incredible end result.” Shawn did add that he’s sure much more was raised because not everyone donating used the #ChristmasVacation tag when contributing to our food bank online.

With the initial amount raised of $21K by December 24, Mattamy Homes stepped in to match those donations dollar for dollar, during a zoom call with Mattamy President Brad Carr, bringing the total to $42,000 – amazing! Shawn is the Vice-President of Construction for Mattamy Homes and Kevin O’Shea, President of Mattamy Homes Ottawa was on hand for the initial presentation to Theresa Qadri, Chair of the Stittsville Food Bank, where Kevin said that “Mattamy was pleased to be able to match the donations and help the people of Stittsville”.

(On December 24, Kevin Chappel, Director of Food Drives for the Stittsville Food Bank, packs up just a small percentage of the food collected in December by the Turcotte family.)

Not only was the goal to support our food bank, but the really important point Chantelle and I wanted to make was a life lesson to be shared with our kids, Hudson and Kennedy – giving rather than receiving,” added Shawn emphatically. The kids were taken aback with the number of people, in the thousands, who drove by the display and the large need was made apparent to them. One can only assume that we’ll be seeing the kids at the food bank volunteering when it is safe to do so and giving back further!

(From Mary’s red swimsuit to Clark on the ladder the amusement continued at the Turcotte family’s home.)

The Stittsville Food Bank on their facebook page posted, “History Made In Stittsville!” “Largest single donation received since the inception of the Stittsville Food Bank in 1992. $42,000.00! Thank you Shawn Turcotte and Family, including Mattamy Homes. With the donations collected by donors in Stittsville, Mattamy Homes has matched your donations. “Thank you to the Christmas Angels right here in Stittsville and elsewhere. Thank you to all the admirers of the Griswolds.”

Shawn said for him it was, “so tremendous, standing in the front yard for 21 plus nights, I reconnected to people that I hadn’t seen in years – from a high school chum to a cousin not seen in 20 years!”

(The sign and QR code directing visitors to donate to the Stittsville Food Bank.)

On wrapping up, Shawn told us, “Well, the RV will be leaving the driveway this week as it has been purchased by a friend – engine to be removed for parts perhaps and the body well…! The car is in the garage.” – waiting for that first trip down Stittsville Main Street we surmise. Stittsville looks forward to that first trip as we wish to see the continued joy it brought to the display.

Say good-bye to the RV – it’s sold – and Cousin Eddie has left town.

Shawn ended, “The display for 2021 is in the works“. We, at Stittsville Central, can only imagine how it will surpass the unbridled emotions the Turcotte family shared with everyone in 2020!


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