New Brunswick

Blackville makes changes to Santa Claus parade after death of Nova Scotia girl

A New Brunswick community is making changes to its annual Santa Claus parade after a four-year-old girl fell beneath a float at a parade in Nova Scotia last week.

MaCali Cormier was running alongside a moving float in Yarmouth when she fell underneath

The Blackville Fire Department is making changes to the annual Santa Claus parade after a four-year-old girl died in Nova Scotia when she fell under a float last week. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A New Brunswick community is making changes to its annual Santa Claus parade after a four-year-old girl fell beneath a float at a parade in Nova Scotia last week.  

The village of Blackville, about 50 kilometres south of Miramichi, will be throwing its annual parade on Saturday night — one of the most popular events in the area.

But this year, the Blackville Fire Department doesn't want parade participants to throw candy from floats to children watching along the route. 

Instead, parade-goers can visit the local fire hall, where volunteers will be handing out bagged treats.

MaCali Cormier, who would have turned five in January, was attending Yarmouth's Christmas Parade of Lights last Saturday evening.

RCMP say MaCali Cormier was running alongside a float when she fell underneath. (Facebook)

RCMP said she was running alongside a moving float when she fell underneath. She was treated immediately at the scene by first responders and taken to Yarmouth Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Increasing safety 

Blackville Mayor Christopher Hennessy said children often run along the parade route to gather candy. 

"There's so much snow down … and with the traditional throwing of candy and kids running out and it being slippery and also dark now too … we're just going to refrain from that," he said. 

The kids are still going to get their candy.- Christopher Hennessy, Blackville  mayor

Organizers don't want to take unnecessary chances, he said.

"The kids are still going to get their candy," said Hennessy, who is also a volunteer with the Blackville Fire Department. "We're just going to refrain from throwing the candy off the floats."

A community struck by tragedy

Hennessy said the community has suffered enough tragedy this year.

Over the Canada Day long weekend, 14-year-old Thomas Anthony Dunn died after his dirt bike and a car collided at the intersection of Hallihan Lane and Howard Road in Blackville.

Late teen's girlfriend and father are met with applause, tears as they walk arm in arm into prom. 1:03

Later that week, Blaine Sturgeon, a 55-year-old father and his 29-year-old daughter Falon Sturgeon, died after a homemade raft overturned on the Miramichi River in Gray Rapids, just north of Blackville.

And in May, 18-year-old Marshall Curtis of Gray Rapids was killed in a car crash, and Darren Brophy, a fellow 2017 graduate of Blackville School, died last fall.

"We've had such a terrible year here with a lot of tragedy," Hennessy said.   

With files from Information Morning Fredericton, the CBC's David Burke