Organizers say it’s impossible to put together a Santa Claus parade in downtown Guelph for this year at this point despite the Ontario government now allowing such events.
The province announced on Thursday that it is removing capacity limits at outdoor public events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades so long as people wear a mask when they can’t stay two metres apart.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott says outdoor capacity limits are also lifted in most other sectors, such as fairs and festivals, outdoor areas of museums and zoos, and ski hills as well as other outdoor recreational amenities.
But the Downtown Guelph Business Association, which organizes the annual Santa Claus parade, said it’s too late to make changes.
The agency announced in September that the parade would be cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Instead, they are repeating what they did in 2020 by moving Santa to the Sparkles in the Park event at Riverside Park.
In previous years, people walked through the park to see the various light displays. It was switched to a drive-thru format last December with Santa seated inside a giant snow globe.
“It was magical,” said organizer Sam Jewell. “People got to see Santa as he sat and waved from the safety of his snow globe surrounded by the beautiful illuminations and we are grateful to the Sparkles organizers for including him.”
Other cities have also opted not to have a traditional Santa Claus parade with crowds this year.
“Reverse parades” in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo scheduled for next month have already been announced. Instead of floats driving by people, vehicles can drive by the floats.
However, the community of Fergus, just north of Guelph, is having a traditional Santa Claus parade scheduled for Dec. 4. and London will be hosting a traditional Santa Claus parade on Nov. 13.
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