Londoners were excited to welcome Santa and his merry helpers back to Dundas Street for the 2021 Santa Claus Parade after COVID-19 caused organizers to change plans last year.
After the authorities chose not to provide licenses to avoid the spread of COVID-19 due to a huge gathering, the 2020 Santa Claus parade was moved to a drive-in exhibition at the London airport.
On Saturday, hundreds of people lined the parade route for the unofficial start of the holiday season.
The parade, which began in 1956 and is now in its 65th year, began at 6 p.m. in the east end and proceeded west down Dundas Street to Ridout Street.
The theme this year is “A Cartoon Christmas.”
Two weeks ago, Ontario lifted capacity limits at outdoor, organized public events to allow for Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades.
Although some cities, like Toronto, opted not to do a traditional Santa Claus parade, Londoners were excited to welcome the return of a regular parade.
“It’s great that we are starting to move forward with the pandemic and it’s nice that it’s out in public — everyone can get out and enjoy it again,” said Benjamin Wharton, who was at the parade with his daughter.
London Majors player Cleveland Brownlee who was at the parade with his five-year-old son Cleveland Jr., saying it has become an annual tradition ever since his son was born.
“I am excited to see it back on the street. A lot more people can get out here because transportation was hard last year and now they can all get out here and it will be good for the city,” said Brownlee.
Mother Amber Wall says it’s nice to get out and about with the kids, especially since last year they waited in line for hours and were unable to get into the drive-in Santa Claus parade at the airport before it closed.
Wall’s son, Rhyland, said he is looking forward to seeing all of the decorations on the floats.
“I enjoy producing arts and crafts and seeing all of the lights and crafts that people create,” Rhyland explained.
For many families, the highlight of the parade was an appearance by jolly old Saint Nick at the very end.
“I took my phone to record it, and I’m really thrilled, and I’m going to yell Merry Christmas when Santa comes at the end!” Devon Cowin, nine years old, expressed his thoughts.
In honor of the late town crier Bill Paul, the march included a collection of non-perishable food items for the London Food Bank.