“Illegal” Santa Claus Parade brings out police in downtown Toronto

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Er, not really…

Not in downtown Toronto, at least. On the final weekend before Christmas Day, stores are usually packed; instead, this weekend they were closed. And if a shopkeeper should dare to be naughty by opening his or her doors, Mayor-Grinch John Tory is always ready to send in the mounted unit to break things up — and I’m not talking reindeer, here.

Tory, by the way, cancelled the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade last month. So it was that an unofficial Santa Claus Parade filled the void on Sunday, organized by the rank and file of Yahoo Nation.

The Toronto Police Service did what it could to dissuade people from attending, tweeting out: “This gathering has not been authorized by the City of Toronto. Please do not attend.”

But several hundred people did attend. And you know what? They had a jolly good time.

And hats off to the Toronto police. They were faced with two choices: shut down the parade like they shut down Adamson Barbecue last month. Or assist the parade in its march up Yonge Street. Thankfully, the police chose the second option. Bravo to the boys in blue.

Besides, what were the marchers doing wrong in the first place?

On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a proclamation officially deeming Santa Claus an “essential service provider,” allowing him to move freely through the province in order to deliver gifts to children.

Said Premier Ford in a statement: "As children across Ontario count down the days to Christmas with excitement, I want to reassure all the boys and girls out there that Santa is still coming this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As premier, I have officially designated Santa Claus as an essential service provider and authorized to deliver toys, treats and good cheer to the children of Ontario. I have also designated the Elves' Toy Workshop as an essential manufacturing business and authorized to supply Santa Claus with toys and gifts.”

The federal government had already cleared Santa Claus and his reindeer for travel in Canadian airspace, with Transport Canada noting that Santa had assured them that he would take all necessary COVID-19 precautions as he undertakes his annual gift-giving odyssey.

Even Dr. Theresa Tam was on board with the Santa exemption. So it seems to us that all levels of government are embracing “ho ho ho” rather than “no no no” when it comes to the Santa file.

As it turned out, the “illegal” Santa Claus Parade was a success. And thankfully, the mounted unit was not sent in this time, thereby ensuring ‘boxing’ day did not come early…

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  • By David Menzies

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