New Brunswick

Santa Claus parades at risk or cancelled because of pandemic

It's not even Halloween yet, but several New Brunswick communities have already cancelled planned Santa Claus parades.

Several parades have already been dropped for this year

It appears Santa Claus won't be coming to several New Brunswick communities before Christmas this year. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

It's not even Halloween yet, but several New Brunswick communities have already cancelled planned Santa Claus parades.

On Tuesday, the City of Saint John said the decision had been made to cancel both the Saint John and Lancaster Santa Claus parades.

"In speaking with the parade organizers, we know that the decision to cancel this year's events was a difficult one, and has caused some disappointment within the community," said the city in a statement.

Neighbouring Rothesay and Quispamsis have also decided to cancel the Kennebecasis Valley Santa Claus Parade.

"The safety of our residents is our top priority," said Quispamsis Mayor Gary Clark in a statement on the town's Facebook page. "Holding a parade during a pandemic violates all physical-distancing guidelines. It is just not practical this year."

In Miramichi, the Historic Chatham Business District has cancelled the annual Parade of Lights. 

"This news was speculated by many and now our wonderful parade is yet another unfortunate event casualty of the pandemic," said general manager John Vickers in a release. 

Plans to hold a COVID-smart holiday activity along Water Street are in the works, he added. 

Christmas changes

Other parades are still, at least for now, scheduled to happen.

The Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade, which takes place in Fredericton, is still scheduled, but there's clearly some doubt, according to its listing on the city's tourism website.

"The City of Fredericton & Kin-Club of Nashwaaksis Santa Claus Parade Committee is working to determine if this can operate within current COVID-19 regulations," said the city.

In Bathurst, a spokesperson for the Bathurst Downtown Centre-Ville association said its plans for the annual parade are still under review.

The Moncton Santa Claus parade will continue but in a new form.

This year, floats will park in the Moncton Coliseum parking lot, and spectator vehicles will drive around them.

"While it won't be the same, this option will help us avoid the health risks of thousands of people lining Main Street," said a statement on the parade's website.

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