Calgary

Annual Calgary firefighters' toy party cancelled for first time in 53 years

The annual Calgary firefighters' toy event has been cancelled for the first time in 53 years due to new COVID-19 restrictions introduced this week. 

New pandemic regulations introduced this week meant a planned drive-through event couldn't take place

The Calgary Fire Department's mascot, Sparky, hugs attendees at the firefighters' annual Children's Christmas Party at the Stampede Corral in 2017. (David Will/CBC)

The annual Calgary firefighters' toy event has been cancelled for the first time in 53 years due to new COVID-19 restrictions introduced this week. 

"We had done our best to ensure we had a safe plan for all of our recipients, staff and vendors, but we must understand that this (the virus) is bigger than us," said Mark Hagel, president of the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association, in a news release. 

Last year, over 4,000 underprivileged children attended the Christmas party put on by the association.

The event was planned as a drive-through experience this year, but was still in conflict with the new rules. The association is now trying to ensure that presents still end up in the hands of children. 

"We hope that our recipients will not be left without a Christmas present," said Hagle in the release. 

"We work all year receiving gifts, wrapping gifts and making sure each child is looked after — we hope that this will happen, in some capacity."

The association says it hopes to hold an in-person event next year. 

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