A lot of streets have that one neighbour who likes to go crazy with outdoor Christmas decorations.

Then there’s Ottawa’s Taffy Lane, which seems to have a lot of those neighbours on one street.

The residential neighbourhood in Orléans in East Ottawa is famous for the number of homeowners who like to do it up big for the holidays, so much so that it attracts thousands of visitors every year.

And it’s not just the houses. Peter Abercrombie also wraps himself up in a suit of blinking lights to greet passersby, which can be quite shocking… for the passersby, not him. “So far I have not had a single shock,” he jokes. “All of a sudden they see you and you flash the lights and, boom, smiles from ear to ear.”

Abercrombie is one of the “original” Taffy Lane residents who started decorating their homes decades ago. Since then, homeowners have come and gone but the spirit of Taffy Lane endures. When somebody new moves onto the street they are often warned by their real estate agent to expect lights at Christmas… a lot of lights, and that perhaps there might be some friendly persuasion to add to the display.

“With my neighbours, I definitely felt the pressure,” laughs Dan Levert, who moved onto the street with his family three Christmases ago. “It was an initial shock to buy everything at first… but it’s great.”

Visitors range from parents driving their young children in their car seats, to troops of young Beaver Scouts, to bus-loads of senior citizens. Some people even rent limos to make the drive a special event.

They come from across the city, and even around the world. Barbara Lenotte is an exchange student from France who marvelled at the display, something she says doesn’t happen back home. “I think it (Christmas) is more important than in France,” says Lenotte. “And seeing all those lights is really amazing.”

“We get people from all over the world,” says Abercrombie. “A lot of students go to colleges and universities and they come here and then they pass the word on when they go home.”

The only downside is the traffic. The narrow residential street can get quite congested in the days leading up to Christmas. But, after almost 35 years, it is something the neighbours have come to expect.

For Peter Abercrombie and his neighbours, as long as that traffic is filled with smiling faces, the spirit of Christmas will continue on Taffy Lane.