Burnaby RCMP’s Holiday Tree: A 20 year legacy of kindness from our community


2023-12-22 10:15 PST

Every year, as the holiday season approaches, a small artificial Christmas tree adorned with tiny police car ornaments is taken out of storage and lovingly placed on a counter outside the Records department of the Burnaby RCMP Detachment.

It’s a holiday tradition that has been happening in Burnaby for the past 20 years, thanks to the kindness of a Burnaby family, the Tatelmans, who gifted the tree to the detachment in 2003 along with a Christmas card that reads:

To the brave ladies and gentlemen of Burnaby Detachment,

Hopefully this little tree will bring a smile to all of your faces.

There are no words to really thank you for doing each day what most of us may face once in our lives. Facing the dark side of humanity in every possible way.

We pray for each of you, hoping you will be able to leave it behind, freeing your mind, body and spirit on time off.

My ten-year-old son shopped through the year with me for as many little cars and police trucks and boats as we could find. Then my 2.5-year-old grandson helped me put them in the tree, add the decorations and lights.

We know many of you are away from your families, but you are not alone.

While two decades have passed, the tree, card, and sentiments inside are just as meaningful to Burnaby RCMP staff now as they were when they were first dropped off.

A closeup photo of a Christmas tree with fake snow and several small police vehicle ornaments including an SUV and pickup truck

Year after year, this tree helps brighten up the detachment over the holidays. It’s become an annual tradition for many of our staff members to pause and read the card every year, said Chief Supt. Graham de la Gorgendiere, the Officer in Charge of the Burnaby Detachment. It’s amazing to see how this act of kindness has endured and become a meaningful holiday tradition.

This year, the Burnaby RCMP invited Cheryl Tatelman to the detachment to say thank you and celebrate the tree’s 20 year milestone in person.

A police officer in uniform smiles beside a woman wearing a brown sweater indoors beside a small Christmas tree

She was surprised but happy to get an update on the tree and to see it in service 20 years after she had dropped it off, said Cpl. Kalinda Link with Burnaby RCMP Community Programs and Victim Services, who also arrived at Burnaby detachment in 2003. It was great to be able to thank Cheryl in person and let her know how much this tree and card mean to us.

While some new lights have been added to the tree over the years, it remains in good condition and there are no plans to retire it any time soon.

The tree is like me, showing a little wear and tear but still happy to be of service, laughed Cpl. Link. Cheryl has asked to bring the tree back to her for a little rejuvenation after the holidays, it’ll be great to see her again. We look forward to carrying on the tradition of this little tree for years to come.

A small decorated Christmas tree sits inside on a counter inside the Burnaby detachment beside a printout of a  handwritten card

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Burnaby RCMP
6355 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC, V5G 2J2
Office: 604-646-9900

Email: burnaby_rcmp_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: burnaby.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)

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