PEI

Gold Cup Parade officially off for 2020; highlights show planned

The Gold Cup Parade organizing committee has confirmed what had been widely expected: The beloved Charlottetown parade will not go ahead in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1-hour television special will show past parade moments

Spectators gather at the 2019 Gold Cup and Saucer Parade. The 2020 parade will not go ahead due to COVID-19. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The Gold Cup Parade organizing committee has confirmed what had been widely expected: The beloved Charlottetown parade will not go ahead in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual parade usually takes place every August on the Friday of Old Home Week. It tees up the Gold Cup and Saucer harness race, which takes place at two minutes to midnight the Saturday after the parade. 

Most Old Home Week festivities — along with a slew of other exhibitions — were cancelled back in May. The 61st Gold Cup and Saucer race is still expected to go ahead on Aug. 22, likely with no spectators or a limited number of them.

"We didn't want to disappoint, but taking into consideration all that's going on in Canada and in the world, we figured that in the end, this was the best decision for the health and welfare of everyone," said Gold Cup Parade chair Ray Murphy.

"We thought about having a shorter parade, a parade with distance between people, distance between the floats and the vehicles, just having it where people drive around, but at the end of the day whatever we come up with, parades involve people."

A pipe band plays its way down Great George Street in the 2018 parade. (Jesara Sinclair/CBC)

Murphy said the event draws large numbers and people would inevitably end up close together. 

"It just wasn't coming together for us," he said.

Instead of a parade, the committee said a one-hour special will be aired on Eastlink Community TV at 11 a.m. on Aug. 21, showing parade highlights from past events.

"People should remember that Aug.  21 is Gold Cup Day and take the time to sit down and watch it at home ... and reminisce," Murphy said.  

"It's still a parade day."

Organizers claim that the Gold Cup Parade is the largest annual event in Atlantic Canada and the largest parade east of Montreal. Old Home Week dates back to 1888, according to the Tourism P.E.I. website. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Travis Kingdon

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