Santa Claus is coming to town: ‘Drive-thru’ plan revives London’s 2020 parade

The TELUS Santa Claus Parade in downtown Vancouver.
The TELUS Santa Claus Parade in downtown Vancouver. TELUS

Londoners will be getting a Santa Claus parade this year, but organizers say it will be a lot different from past years.

This year’s London Santa Claus parade will be a drive-thru parade where people get the opportunity to drive by all of the floats that are not moving, allowing everyone to stay physically distanced.

“There’s a lot of people that need some brightness in their life right now, and we want to help them, and this is our way of contributing back to the community,” said Shaun Merton, executive director of the London Santa Claus parade.

Read more: Coronavirus: London cancels all parades, including Santa Claus, for the rest of 2020

Last week, the City of London announced it would not issue any permits for parades for the rest of 2020.

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This decision impacted the Remembrance Day parade and all three of London’s annual Santa Claus parades in Hyde Park, Argyle, and downtown.

“A parade makes it difficult to stay within the limits identified for social gatherings, and can also make physical distancing difficult to maintain,” the City of London said in a statement.

Merton said to keep people safe and prevent crowds from gathering, the only way people will be able to see the parade is if they remain in their cars.

Organizers are not that surprised the parade had to be altered. Merton said they were expecting something like this to happen and were working to implement plan B the same day the original event was planned.

Read more: What Remembrance Day in London will look like this year

“I think it will definitely be different, but it will be good because it’s a changeup, and it’s never been done before in this area.”

As well as a different setup, Merton said this year’s parade will also likely be smaller due to some sponsors not being able to support the event because of the financial impacts of the pandemic.

“The kids won’t be disappointed because they will get to see Santa,” Merton said.

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He said things with the parade are changing daily, and people should check the parade website daily for updates like location and other details.

There will also be an opportunity for people to support the London Food Bank.