Pandemic restrictions, public safety prompt cancellation of Flamborough Santa Claus Parade

News Sep 15, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Christmas cheer that usually resonates in the November night air won’t be heard in Flamborough this fall on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade has been cancelled. According to parade committee member Stephanie Wilsack, the difficult decision came after an exhaustive effort to try and carry on.

Wilsack explained that the committee explored all avenues that would allow them to host the parade by looking at provincial guidelines, public health and talking to the City of Hamilton. It was determined that because the limit for a large outdoor gathering is set at 100, it was fundamentally unfeasible for the parade to go on.

“Our parade clearly violates that by a lot and so we were waiting for the last possible minute, but I didn’t want to make any public announcement until the kids got back to school – something else to distract them with,” she said.

Despite the event’s cancellation, the parade committee has plans to work with the city and the Waterdown Business Improvement Area (BIA) to decorate the community for the holidays, with more details about the festive initiative to come in the near future.

“We are committed to making Waterdown great for Christmas,” she said.

According to Wilsack, people are disappointed, but she chalks it up as another unfortunate outcome in a long line of disappointments this year.

“2020 has just been so unpredictable that I think people might have seen this coming,” she said.

That was the case for Helene Jarret, manager at Waterdown’s Copper Kettle Café. She explained that everybody is in the same situation when it comes to dealing with the new reality brought on by the pandemic, so they aren’t going to worry about what the night could have been.

For the Dundas Street East restaurant, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade is a busy night, one it looks forward to and enjoys. “It’s just a shame it can’t happen, but it’s understandable,” said Jarret.

According to the Santa Claus Parade social media pages, general reaction to the news has been one of disappointment, although most who posted comments see it as the right call. The parade’s sole purpose is to bring joy to the community, said Wilsack.

“I think the only thing that will be missing is the community spirit,” she said, noting the organizing committee made the decision in the name of public safety.

There was another reason to cancel the parade: respect.

“We are a small community, we’re a small town, we’ve got lots of businesses that have struggled through COVID that are not (re)opening their doors,” said Wilsack. “We’ve lost entrepreneurs, we’ve lost long-standing businesses. This is not a time for us to go to the community and ask for any financial support to run a parade. It’s not appropriate.”

Annually, the committee must raise roughly $45,000 in sponsorship to run the parade.

While the parade doesn’t gather donations for community organizations, some floats like that of Grace Anglican Church aimed to give exposure to its food bank, Food with Grace.

According to Grace Church’s Rev. Sue-Ann Ward, everyone understands why it can’t go on this year.

“It is a fun event and a nice way for the community to celebrate,” she said. “It’s too bad we won’t be able to this year, but maybe it’ll make people appreciate it more next year.”

Jim Leamen from the Flamborough Food Bank also expressed disappointment.

“I am so sad to see the parade cancelled. It is my favourite community event of the year,” he said.

As to what will happen next year, Wilsack can only guess.

“I think if we were to do anything and come up with a theme, it would just be ‘Stronger together’ and coming out the other side – and Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: When news broke that the COVID-19 pandemic had prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Flamborough Santa Claus Parade, we wanted to better understand the impacts of the event’s cancellation on local businesses, not-for-profits and the community as a whole.

Pandemic restrictions, public safety prompt cancellation of Flamborough Santa Claus Parade

News Sep 15, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Christmas cheer that usually resonates in the November night air won’t be heard in Flamborough this fall on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade has been cancelled. According to parade committee member Stephanie Wilsack, the difficult decision came after an exhaustive effort to try and carry on.

Wilsack explained that the committee explored all avenues that would allow them to host the parade by looking at provincial guidelines, public health and talking to the City of Hamilton. It was determined that because the limit for a large outdoor gathering is set at 100, it was fundamentally unfeasible for the parade to go on.

“Our parade clearly violates that by a lot and so we were waiting for the last possible minute, but I didn’t want to make any public announcement until the kids got back to school – something else to distract them with,” she said.

Related Content

Despite the event’s cancellation, the parade committee has plans to work with the city and the Waterdown Business Improvement Area (BIA) to decorate the community for the holidays, with more details about the festive initiative to come in the near future.

“We are committed to making Waterdown great for Christmas,” she said.

According to Wilsack, people are disappointed, but she chalks it up as another unfortunate outcome in a long line of disappointments this year.

“2020 has just been so unpredictable that I think people might have seen this coming,” she said.

That was the case for Helene Jarret, manager at Waterdown’s Copper Kettle Café. She explained that everybody is in the same situation when it comes to dealing with the new reality brought on by the pandemic, so they aren’t going to worry about what the night could have been.

For the Dundas Street East restaurant, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade is a busy night, one it looks forward to and enjoys. “It’s just a shame it can’t happen, but it’s understandable,” said Jarret.

According to the Santa Claus Parade social media pages, general reaction to the news has been one of disappointment, although most who posted comments see it as the right call. The parade’s sole purpose is to bring joy to the community, said Wilsack.

“I think the only thing that will be missing is the community spirit,” she said, noting the organizing committee made the decision in the name of public safety.

There was another reason to cancel the parade: respect.

“We are a small community, we’re a small town, we’ve got lots of businesses that have struggled through COVID that are not (re)opening their doors,” said Wilsack. “We’ve lost entrepreneurs, we’ve lost long-standing businesses. This is not a time for us to go to the community and ask for any financial support to run a parade. It’s not appropriate.”

Annually, the committee must raise roughly $45,000 in sponsorship to run the parade.

While the parade doesn’t gather donations for community organizations, some floats like that of Grace Anglican Church aimed to give exposure to its food bank, Food with Grace.

According to Grace Church’s Rev. Sue-Ann Ward, everyone understands why it can’t go on this year.

“It is a fun event and a nice way for the community to celebrate,” she said. “It’s too bad we won’t be able to this year, but maybe it’ll make people appreciate it more next year.”

Jim Leamen from the Flamborough Food Bank also expressed disappointment.

“I am so sad to see the parade cancelled. It is my favourite community event of the year,” he said.

As to what will happen next year, Wilsack can only guess.

“I think if we were to do anything and come up with a theme, it would just be ‘Stronger together’ and coming out the other side – and Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: When news broke that the COVID-19 pandemic had prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Flamborough Santa Claus Parade, we wanted to better understand the impacts of the event’s cancellation on local businesses, not-for-profits and the community as a whole.

Pandemic restrictions, public safety prompt cancellation of Flamborough Santa Claus Parade

News Sep 15, 2020 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

The Christmas cheer that usually resonates in the November night air won’t be heard in Flamborough this fall on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in over 30 years, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade has been cancelled. According to parade committee member Stephanie Wilsack, the difficult decision came after an exhaustive effort to try and carry on.

Wilsack explained that the committee explored all avenues that would allow them to host the parade by looking at provincial guidelines, public health and talking to the City of Hamilton. It was determined that because the limit for a large outdoor gathering is set at 100, it was fundamentally unfeasible for the parade to go on.

“Our parade clearly violates that by a lot and so we were waiting for the last possible minute, but I didn’t want to make any public announcement until the kids got back to school – something else to distract them with,” she said.

Related Content

Despite the event’s cancellation, the parade committee has plans to work with the city and the Waterdown Business Improvement Area (BIA) to decorate the community for the holidays, with more details about the festive initiative to come in the near future.

“We are committed to making Waterdown great for Christmas,” she said.

According to Wilsack, people are disappointed, but she chalks it up as another unfortunate outcome in a long line of disappointments this year.

“2020 has just been so unpredictable that I think people might have seen this coming,” she said.

That was the case for Helene Jarret, manager at Waterdown’s Copper Kettle Café. She explained that everybody is in the same situation when it comes to dealing with the new reality brought on by the pandemic, so they aren’t going to worry about what the night could have been.

For the Dundas Street East restaurant, the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade is a busy night, one it looks forward to and enjoys. “It’s just a shame it can’t happen, but it’s understandable,” said Jarret.

According to the Santa Claus Parade social media pages, general reaction to the news has been one of disappointment, although most who posted comments see it as the right call. The parade’s sole purpose is to bring joy to the community, said Wilsack.

“I think the only thing that will be missing is the community spirit,” she said, noting the organizing committee made the decision in the name of public safety.

There was another reason to cancel the parade: respect.

“We are a small community, we’re a small town, we’ve got lots of businesses that have struggled through COVID that are not (re)opening their doors,” said Wilsack. “We’ve lost entrepreneurs, we’ve lost long-standing businesses. This is not a time for us to go to the community and ask for any financial support to run a parade. It’s not appropriate.”

Annually, the committee must raise roughly $45,000 in sponsorship to run the parade.

While the parade doesn’t gather donations for community organizations, some floats like that of Grace Anglican Church aimed to give exposure to its food bank, Food with Grace.

According to Grace Church’s Rev. Sue-Ann Ward, everyone understands why it can’t go on this year.

“It is a fun event and a nice way for the community to celebrate,” she said. “It’s too bad we won’t be able to this year, but maybe it’ll make people appreciate it more next year.”

Jim Leamen from the Flamborough Food Bank also expressed disappointment.

“I am so sad to see the parade cancelled. It is my favourite community event of the year,” he said.

As to what will happen next year, Wilsack can only guess.

“I think if we were to do anything and come up with a theme, it would just be ‘Stronger together’ and coming out the other side – and Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: When news broke that the COVID-19 pandemic had prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Flamborough Santa Claus Parade, we wanted to better understand the impacts of the event’s cancellation on local businesses, not-for-profits and the community as a whole.