Organizers scale back plans to single Santa Claus parade in Ottawa

OTTAWA — Organizers of the Help Santa Toy Parade are scaling back plans for a parade in Ottawa this holiday season following a deadly crash at a Santa Claus Parade in Wisconsin.

Six people died and 60 people were injured when a man drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee, last weekend.

The Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association says following the “tragic incident” that occurred during the Santa Claus parade in Wisconsin, it has decided to hold one parade in downtown Ottawa on Dec. 4 instead of three.

“After lengthy discussions and plan revisions, the following was decided. Our intended plan to hold 3 mini parades were scaled back to one parade in the downtown core,” said the association in a statement.

“As difficult a decision this was to make, we focused on the safety and security of both participants and parade watchers. Working with our colleagues within various city departments and Ottawa Police Services, a comprehensive safety and security plan has been developed.”

The original plan was to hold three mini Santa Claus parades in Kanata, downtown Ottawa and Orleans after the Ontario government relaxed gathering restrictions to permit parades during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Help Santa Toy Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4 at Ottawa City Hall on Laurier Avenue. It will travel west on Laurier to Bank Street, and then south on Bank Street to Fifth Avenue.

New toy donations can be dropped off at all City of Ottawa Fire Stations, while cash donations can be made at www.toyparade.ca

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