A Canary Wharf Kind Of Christmas

December 21, 2011

Christmas is coming and like the rest of commercial London, Canary Wharf, my diamond in the rough that is Tower Hamlets, is working hard to look festive, and hopefully lighten your wallet. Here’s how.

They have Trees festooned with twinkly lights.

Canary Wharf Christmas lights

They have the outdoor winter ice rink, now in its 7th year, delighting city workers and civilians alike.

Canary Wharf ice rink

Confronted with these seasonal cues, your internal soundtrack will have kicked in. Can you hear the gentle rhythmic jingle of the sleigh bells and the stirring violins tugging at the heartstrings? You’re feeling pretty good now, aren’t you? The shopping mall is looking particularly festive, with its beautiful tall trees decorated with baubles and ribbons: a vision of red and gold. They are truly things of beauty.

Christmas decorations at Canary Wharf shopping mall

But if you look closer, dear reader, this is what you’ll find:

CCTV warning on Canary Wharf mall Christmas decoration

That little burgundy tag is the needle abruptly ripping through your soundtrack of bonhomie, bringing it to a shuddering halt. Talk about shining a Maglite onto magic and ruining it. That image says everything about surveillance Britain in general and the culture of Canary Wharf in particular. Enjoy yourself, but not too much, ‘cos we’re watching you.

Merry Christmas!



  1. “They see you when you’re sleeping.
    They know when you’re awake.
    They know if you’ve been bad or good,
    wear disguise, for goodness sake!”

    • Lol! Now that’s where I’m going wrong. I’ll get right on to it!

  2. Merry Christmas to you too Pie. Just mind you don’t enjoy yourself toooo much lest the party police come for you. Just stick to the Pie n Biscuits and a good cuppa (champagne) me thinks 😉

    • Do you think the champagne’s a good idea? I mean, those cameras are everywhere…

      • Hmmm maybe not a good idea however you would fit in nicely with those city banker types who still have our funds to feed their champagne fix. Maybe best to stick to a good strong brew to dunk your biscuits in.

  3. Mikey summed it up too well for me to even try! Merry Christmas Pie and don’t forget to smile for the cameras!

    • Thanks, Patti. I’ll try and do that next time I’m confronted with such an unsubtle reminder in a place like that. Merry Christmas.

  4. Ah, isn’t that your cue to grin insanely and start waving like a four year old would?
    Go on… I dare you 🙂
    Or… poke silly faces and then run away.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS Pie, wishing you a brilliant day filled with fun, food and laughter, spent with people you love.
    HUGS…kiwi 🙂

  5. […] A Canary Wharf Kind Of Christmas (pienbiscuits.wordpress.com) […]

  6. I have for the last 12 years organised the dressing and placement of Christmas trees in Canary Wharf. It is a shame that we eventually had to add the notice about CCTV cameras. Previous to these signs the public would take up to 20% of the decorations from the trees (we even had a whole tree stolen once) these missing decs would then have to be replaced at more cost only to be removed again. After the signage went up theft went down to almost zero. Canary Wharf spend an awful lot of money to make their trees look good, these discreet reminders help to keep it that way.

    • Hello, John. Thanks for your response. I don’t know what you were looking for when you came across my blog and this post in particular, given that it was written in 2011, but I think it’s been a surprise for both of us!

      I didn’t realise there was such prolific thievery of the baubles – and a tree! At that size! How did someone walk away with that?! Why would anyone do that anyway, given that you can buy some quite decent decorations in a pound shop, if cost was an issue? I clearly don’t have the criminal mentality, or the sticky fingers to do the deed.

      I can see why the signs had to be placed and I’m happy it had the desired effect. I saw them as a warning to those who would visit the shopping arcade in general, which is what I was raving about and not a warning to tree decoration theft in particular.

      Thanks for giving another angle to this. You learn something new every day. I imagine you’ll be doing it all again for Christmas 2013.

      Have a good year and thanks once again for visiting my blog.

      • Thanks for your reply and compliments, im glad you like the trees and glad I get to explain the reasoning behind the signs.
        A friend posted on FB, the tree was years ago and 5ft tall.
        We had a long discussion as didnt want to give a big brother is watching vibe to christmas and that’s why the signs were hopefully only noticeable close up. Im kinda pleased people like them enough to want they odd one but its the replacing that is a hassle.
        I was in Frankfurt earlier this week looking for some additional decs and isn’t even February yet 😉
        Happy Christmas!

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