MPP urges Toronto Santa Claus Parade organizers to reconsider going virtual again

Robin Martin, MPP for Eglington-Lawrence, believes under current conditions the parade could be held safely

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The Toronto Santa Claus Parade has been stolen by the Grinch once again.

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Clay Charters, president and CEO of the not-for-profit group that organizes the parade, made the official announcement Friday with a posting to the parade website. The parade will go ahead on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. but will be a made for TV event only.

“The Santa Claus Parade will be a broadcast only event in 2021,” Charters said. “We know this disappoints many of you, but this decision was made after thoughtful discussion and careful consideration of many factors.”

Among the factors he cites for not having an in-person parade include a lack of vaccinations for their mostly under 11 audience, the inability to enforce social distancing or check vaccination status of attendees, and limits on volunteers.

“It takes months to organize the volunteers, partners and safety considerations for a parade of our size and our decision was made by the parade several weeks ago using the best available data at the time,” Charters wrote.

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Ironically, the announcement of the cancelation of the in-person parade comes at the same time as the province is lifting capacity limits for many indoor settings.

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One local MPP isn’t impressed with the Grinch stealing the parade for the second year in a row and has written to Charters asking that he and his organization reconsider.

Robin Martin, MPP for Eglington-Lawrence, believes under current conditions the parade could be held safely.

“Last year, the parade was rightfully held online due to the precarious COVID-19 situation and concerning public health trends,” Martin wrote. “I think we can agree, however, this year is very different.”

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Martin points out the vast majority of Torontonians are now vaccinated and public health measures are stable.

“The Chief Medical Officer of Health has said there is minimal risk associated with individuals and families gathering at outdoor events, so long as basic public measures are adhered to, including masking when distancing cannot be maintained,” Martin wrote.

The Santa Claus parade on Sunday November 19, 2017.
The Santa Claus parade on Sunday November 19, 2017. Photo by Veronica Henri /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Started in 1905 and long sponsored by the Eaton’s department stores, the parade ran continuously along many routes, including Yonge St., Bloor St., and at one point going all the way from Newmarket to the Queen St. Eaton’s store.

Last year was the first time the parade was held virtually without attendees.

blilley@postmedia.com

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