‘Big Whitehorse crowd’ turns out for Winterval Santa Claus parade

Floats in the Whitehorse Winterval Santa Claus parade making their way down Main Street. (Caitrin Pilkington/CBC)

By Caitrin Pilkington · CBC News

Driving snow and freezing temperatures didn’t hold Whitehorse residents back from attending this year’s Santa Claus parade on Saturday evening.

In fact, organizer Anne Lewis said the crowds this year were well above what was expected.

“There were people all the way along the route, from the start to the finish,” she said. “Main Street was packed. It felt like a much bigger turnout – that’s certainly what we heard from people in the parade, and then I got lots of messages this morning from people saying it felt like a big Whitehorse crowd.”

Lewis acts as parade producer on behalf of CSR Management, the company that volunteer-organizes the event every year. But that wasn’t always the case.

“We took it on six years ago when the parade was going to be cancelled,” she said. “We found out in November, I think it was November 20th.”

Lewis was running the Yukon Geoscience Conference when someone approached her and casually mentioned that the parade wasn’t going to happen that year.

The Grinch making an appearance at the Whitehorse Winterval Santa Claus Parade. (Caitrin Pilkington/CBC)

“I said, ‘nope,'” remembers Lewis. “That same day, I walked up to 20 different friends and businesses and said, ‘guess what you guys are doing in 10 days?’ and they were all so excited to do it. It was at that time that we decided to change the parade into a fundraiser.”

This year, they raised $10,000. The money will be donated to the Yukon Imagination Library, a non-profit that sends a different book in the mail each month to kids under five.

Bomi Ncube attended the parade with her young daughter. She said they had an amazing time.

“It was nice to see everybody so involved, all the little kids so excited to see the lights… I’ve been doing a countdown for the parade.”

The parade was followed by a tree-lighting ceremony organized by the City of Whitehorse.

The tree was lit in a ceremony at the end of the parade on Saturday, Dec. 9. (Caitrin Pilkington/CBC)

“It’s pretty great,” said spectator Megan Seiling. “It’s always impressive that they get such a good tree, but this one does look especially shapely. The trees in the Yukon can be a bit thin on the branches.”

For Lewis, seeing those reactions makes the months of effort coordinating the event worthwhile.

“When you’re in the parade, the amount of joy that just radiates in at you is really powerful,” she said. “We were all on a pretty big high afterwards… honestly, it’s a joy to work on.”

Related stories from around the North: 

Finland: Christmas Special: How Santa became Finnish, Yle News

CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *