Santa returns, despite COVID-19

·4 min read

The Holiday spirit is in the air across Leeds and Grenville, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities throughout Leeds and Grenville will be able to see Jolly Old St. Nick this Christmas season. Some Santa Claus parades will look a little different this year, while others are almost back to normal.

Sadly, many have been cancelled yet again due to the pandemic.

This Saturday, the Kemptville Santa Claus parade will be making its way through town, after a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parade will leave Concession Road at Maric Trail at 4 p.m. and will travel north on Hurd Road, along Clothier Street, then south on Prescott Street. It will wrap up at the Kemptville Campus. The event is expected to end around 6 p.m. The four-kilometer route will allow for social distancing.

Instead of collecting non-perishable foods and toys throughout the parade for the local food banks and toy drive, there will be drop box locations at the barricades along the route for community members who would like to support the local organizations.

Those who can't make the Kemptville Santa Claus parade this year will still be able to watch all the floats and processions through a livestream by Live Stream Junkies.

The Lansdowne Santa Claus Parade, organized by the Lansdowne Agricultural Society, will take place on Sunday in a similar manner as last year. Santa will leave Community Hall and will be touring through the streets of the village with Mrs. Claus at his side beginning at 2 p.m.

However, this year there won't be any festive floats, but residents can stand watch from their porches or front lawns as the two pass through. Others wanting to see the Clauses can park their vehicles at the Lansdowne Fairgrounds (1186 Prince Street) where Santa will be driving by.

Santa's Village on the Square will be taking up the Court House Green in Brockville on Nov. 27 and will start at 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.

"For this event to remain safe again this year for all participants, residents and our community, we had to switch things around a little," said the Brockville Rotary Club's website.

The floats, now called venues, will not be moving but attendees will walk around the displays, by entering at the intersections into Court House Green and continuing to their left, walking in a clockwise direction around the perimeter.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be located near the corner of Court House Avenue northbound and Wall Street.

Masks are encouraged and everyone is asked to try to maintain social distancing.

Prescott's annual Light Up the Night Christmas parade has been cancelled for this year but the Prescott Fire Department has been in touch with Santa's helpers and they've confirmed Santa will be making a special visit to Prescott on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., said the Prescott Fire Department (PFD) Facebook page.

The PFD will share details of the route on its Facebook page as Santa and his Elves finalize it.

The Gananoque Festival of Lights will be lighting up Sculpture Park while the Santa Claus will be making his way throughout town. The Christmas precession will make its way down King Street on Saturday, Dec. 4. It is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and run until 7 p.m.

Last year, the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce hosted a standstill parade and this year they are returning to a traditional parade format.

In light of COVID-19 there won't be any treats or anything passed out like in past years, said Bill Stewart, business development and policy officer for the local chamber of commerce.

"It's good that other communities are also joining in with their own parades this year. It's kind of a nice restart, getting things back to how we remember them," said Stewart.

According to the Front of Yonge website, there will Christmas Fireworks in lieu of the annual Santa Claus Parade at the Mallorytown Recreation Park on Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. Spectators can view it from inside their car or watch from outside following COVID-19 protocols.

Santa Claus will be at the Lyndhurst Library on Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. COVID-19 protocols will be in place to visit old St. Nick.

This year the Merrickville Santa Claus parade will not be going on because of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, people can still enjoy the holiday spirit through Christmas in Merrickville on Dec. 4, which would have coincided with the parade if it were to happen this year.

Also missing from this year's Yuletide festivities list is the popular Athens Parade of Lights.

"Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 protocols and limited volunteers the Parade Committee has decided to cancel the parade this year," notes a message on the Athens Township website.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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