British Columbia

Vancouver's Santa Claus Parade faces cancellation due to lack of funds

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is hoping someone will save the 13th annual parade and the hundreds of thousands of donations that it drums up for the food bank each year.

In an announcement that could only please Ebenezer Scrooge, the non-profit says it's $150,000 short

Santa, pictured here in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, may not make it to Vancouver for the annual parade if the parade society is unable to attract new sponsors to fill a $150,000 gap in funding. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Jolly Old Saint Nick may have one less appearance on his itinerary this holiday season if the non-profit society that runs the annual Vancouver Santa Claus parade doesn't find some cash soon.

The annual event is short a sponsor after Rogers gave notice, more than a year ago, that it would no longer contribute the $150,000 for the spot of title sponsor.

"We're grateful for Roger's support over the years. They've been a tremendous partner for the parade and they've just changed their focus as corporations do over time," said Jessica Walker, president of the Santa Claus Parade Society.

Walker says it's been a struggle to to find a replacement sponsor. "We've just had a hard time filling [Roger's] shoes," she said.

City offers in kind support

The society in charge of the parade estimates 300,000 people come downtown to watch and participate each year. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The society spends $400,000 to put on the event with a large chunk of that going to pay for permitting and city fees, building floats, policing and traffic control and closures.

"We have over 300,000 people come down, so we have a lot of safety and traffic control protocols in place," said Walker.

The City of Vancouver has offered to contribute about one-third of the parade costs in kind, according to Walker.

Santa was all smiles at the parade in Vancouver in 2016, which could be the last in the city after 13 years. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is hoping someone will step up to save the event as it counts on donations at the parade to get through the year.

CEO Aart Schuurman Hess says over the years the parade has helped bring in $157,000 and 77,000 pounds of food. 

"We're $150,000 short and I'm pretty sure there's someone out there who says I'm going save Santa Claus," said Schuurman Hess.

The parade society has given itself two weeks to find a new sponsor or the parade will be cancelled.

Last year was the parade's 13th edition.