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Peterborough will keep Canada Day Parade for 2024 but its future is unknown

The Canada Day Parade in Peterborough, Ont., will continue in 2024. However, its future remains unclear. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

The Canada Day Parade in Peterborough, Ont., will continue this July but its future still remains unclear.

On Monday night, Peterborough city council voted against a city staff recommendation to cancel the 2024 parade. The staff report cited declining participation, waning community interest, and rising insurance costs for participants as among reasons to cancel the parade.

Staff noted there were 25 float entries in the 2023 parade, up from 21 in 2022 and just 16 in 2019. The parade was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report recommended using the resources and the $20,000 budget for the parade to stage other Canada Day events at Del Crary Park and Millennium Park.

Coun. Keith Riel questioned the staff report and asked who on council was consulted about the recommendation. Riel said he will be participating in the parade and encouraged council to “show our pride” as Canadians.

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“I plan to be there and I think it would be a real travesty for us not to have it,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Peterborough Canada Day Parade could be cancelled due to declining participation'
Peterborough Canada Day Parade could be cancelled due to declining participation

Coun. Kevin Duguay echoed Riel’s sentiment, noting the number of new Canadians who participated in the 2023 Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade. The staff report says that parade had more than 60 float entries.

Mayor Jeff Leal said “nine out of 10” people he spoke with at the Peterborough farmers’ markets on Saturday were in favour of the parade.

“They see it as an iconic event,” he said.

Coun. Lesley Parnell says there’s an “emotional component” to the parade although more float participation is needed.

“We do need more people to participate,” she said.

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City council eventually endorsed a motion by Coun. Matt Crowley to hold the 2024 parade, and that staff review the parade and report to council later this fall. Their report will help council decide if the parade will continue in 2025 and beyond.

A ratification vote on the motion is expected at the next council meeting on April 29.

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