East-end residents are disappointed to hear Santa will not be coming to their part of town this year.
Community Centre 55, at 97 Main St., has cancelled its annual Santa Claus Parade (Hampers Parade), which was to travel through Upper Beaches.
The parade has not been held since 2019, due to COVID concerns and rising costs.
Some locals are understandably upset, with 2022 being the third year the parade has been cancelled.
“I have a five-year-old that would have loved to watch the parade,” resident Natalie Scobeleva said. “I haven’t been able to bring her since it’s been cancelled, and she doesn’t even remember going when she was younger.”
There were still options for those who wanted to experience a parade. The 118th Santa Claus Parade returned to Toronto on Nov. 20. The route began in the Christie Pitts at 12:30 p.m. and ended at the St. Lawrence Market.
“I’m bringing her there this Sunday, even though I think it is more crowded than I would like,” Scobeleva said. “That’s why I liked the Hampers parade, I had my own personal Santa.”
Jade Maitland, special events coordinator for Community Centre 55, said there is a lot that goes into running a parade.
“There are so many moving pieces, it’s quite the endeavour,” Maitland said. “Between shutting down streets and rerouting transit, putting up barricades.”
The cost of operating has gone up since COVID-19, she said.
“Since COVID, a lot of our regular vendors and suppliers have either gone out of business or they’ve shifted the direction with their business, and costs have just jumped tremendously.”
The Hampers Parade is usually Community Centre 55’s kickoff for their holiday initiatives. Despite the lack of a parade this year, its Christmas programs will still go on.
“We do a Share Christmas program with over 1,000 families, singles, and seniors in the community,” Maitland said. “We provide toys for children and grocery cards, which is nice because it gives people the dignity to go out and decide what they’d like.”
In addition to their holiday initiatives, Community Centre 55 continuously does work for the community year-round. They host events for seniors like their fitness programs, yoga classes, and regularly take them on outings.
They also run before and after-school programs with lunches for children who need it. They also offer summer camps and training programs to become a summer camp councillor.
Having prioritized helping over entertaining this year, Community Centre 55 still aims to have a parade in the future. For those who want to help, volunteers are always welcome.
“We have a pretty supportive community, and we always need volunteers,” Maitland said. “We need parade marshals and volunteers at each barricade too, so there is always a way people can help.”
For more information on how you can get involved with Community Centre 55 you can check their website.