Toronto Santa Claus Parade moving online, more COVID-19 cancellations announced
Dr. Eileen de Villa, city's medical officer of health, urges residents to plan for safe Thanksgiving
The City of Toronto has announced that it is extending the cancellation of city-led and permitted major outdoor events to Dec. 31.
That includes the city's Santa Claus Parade, which is now moving online in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, officials said in a news release.
"Today's announcement is based on public health advice and includes festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the city or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares," the news release reads.
"Major festivals and events require long lead times for planning, rely on City sites, supports or permissions, and present higher public health risks given the potential for crowds and the need to maintain physical distancing."
Parade organizers, meanwhile, said they will announce the alternate plans soon.
Toronto Mayor John Tory, he said on Wednesday that the holiday will continue in some form.
"I think it's important that kids know that Christmas is not cancelled, Christmas will not be cancelled, and we're working on a way to make sure that Santa Claus can still come to town," Tory told reporters on Wednesday.
Tory said information regarding a more imminent celebration — Halloween — will be released in the coming days.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, also urged residents to be cautious during any upcoming Thanksgiving festivities.
"Whenever family is involved, change usually involves complex and often sensitive conversations ... This is why everyone needs to start thinking about how to celebrate important days in a way that keeps us all safer," de Villa said.
COVID-19 spreads when given the chance. Close contact with extended family and friends on important holidays could drive our numbers up."
De Villa said following tradition is actually "not the best thing to do" this year.
"I encourage you to talk to your family and make a clear plan in advance on how to mark the occasion of Thanksgiving in a way that limits in-person contact with others from outside your home.," she said.
"In this and all things: do not let your guard down."
WATCH | Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, urges residents to plan ahead for a safe Thanksgiving:
The city's announcement doesn't include outdoor sport facility permits and activities, nor other sites that are still permitted in Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan.
Some events have already announced cancellations, while other/ will be announcing alternative plans in the near future, the city says.
Here is a list of events affected by the decision. Events that are listed as "pending" will shift to cancelled or altered once determined by their organizers.
- Nuit Blanche (altered, online).
- CIBC Run for the Cure (altered, online).
- Ride to Defeat Diabetes for JDRF (cancelled).
- 10th Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship (cancelled).
- Himalayan Mela (cancelled).
- Canadian and Chinese Traditional Art Show (cancelled).
- Toronto Waterfront Marathon (cancelled).
- Light the Night (altered, online).
- Just for Laughs Toronto Street Festival (cancelled).
- Korean Week (cancelled).
- Greek OHI Day Parade (pending).
- MEC Toronto Race SIX (cancelled).
- Fairbank Village Pumpkin Giveaway (cancelled).
- Hanley Halloween 2020 (pending).
- Riverside Halloween Fest (pending).
- Heddington Halloween (pending).
- Halloween on Church (cancelled).
- Festival of Lights (altered, online).
- Toronto Christmas Market (cancelled).
- The 115th Santa Claus Parade Toronto (altered, online).
- Bloor Yorkville Holiday Magic (pending).
- Beaches Santa Claus Parade (pending).
- Cavalcade of Lights (cancelled).
- Beaches Lions Christmas Tree Sale (pending).
- Christmas in the Square with The Salvation Army (pending).
- KidzFest (pending).
- North Etobicoke Santa Claus Parade (pending).
- Fred Victor's Share the Warmth (pending).
- Fairbank Village – Light Up the Holidays (pending).
- Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus parade (pending).
- Holiday Fair in the Square (pending).
- 30th Annual Kensington Market Winter Solstice (pending).
- New Year's Eve on Nathan Phillips Square (cancelled).
With files from The Canadian Press